Calling out fashion copycats

As Amazon India Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2018 was underway in the middle of March, a few Instagram accounts popped up, all with similar themes — spotting and calling out rip-offs by designers. Handles @desidior and @diet.malhotra have garnered only 266 and 59 followers respectively. But the third player, @dietsabya, seems to have found the social media sweet spot, garnering over 22,500 followers since they started on March 15.

While they point out looks by Indian designers that have been “inspired” by international fashion houses, they themselves follow a format perfected by @diet_prada, which has been around since 2014. “But our narrative couldn’t be any more different. Also, our content is as desi as Rakhi Sawant visiting the Instagram offices in San Francisco,” they say.

Under the radar

Quite understandably, the self-described “collective” behind the account prefers to remain anonymous, choosing to answer cryptically via email. “Our background is quite blurry,” they say, when asked if they are industry insiders or merely observers. But scroll through their 80-odd posts and it is obvious that these people know what they are talking about. “We know a copy when we see it,” is how they put it simply.

A screengrab of a post by @dietsabya

A screengrab of a post by @dietsabya  


The captions are what make this account so enjoyable to follow. T-shirts by Mumbai-based label Madison and China-based e-commerce site Shein are called out for using the same design (courtesy several Pinterest boards): “Since we have little bharosa over both these highly original and ground-breaking brands, will the real #gandi please stand up?” That’s also their hashtag of choice.

Love and hate

While they have not hesitated to tag every guilty designer, fashion influencer and celebrity stylist, some followers commented that they seem to go soft on the big name designers. Point that out, and they reply, “All we can say is, ‘Winter is coming!’” Designers like Masaba Gupta have acknowledged and clarified when she has been tagged. “Cute attempt,” she commented, “But the CAN’T cap by me has been done by Kanika Goyal… but she has manufactured it for me, as she has the BAESIC cap which is hers. Cool?” But they have also been blocked and abused via DM by those who are on the wrong side of the split-screen posts. “We’re ignoring the hate, and there’s a lot of support and love, too. We are trying to make the fashion world a better place,” says the collective.

Calling out fashion copycats

They have also found support from several A-list Bollywood celebrities like Aliaa Bhatt and Karan Johar. Designer Nikhil Mehra of Shantanu & Nikhil is a regular commenter on the page when tagged. He is very appreciative, saying, “I think it's about time someone took cognisance of what is going on in the industry. @dietsabya has been able to connect the missing dots. They have, and continue to help, serious and legit designers fight blatant copying. After their posts, we went ahead and filed lawsuits against those so-called designers (who copied our work). I hope they continue to fight battles for the ones who let their work do the talking.”

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 1:34:02 PM |

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