At a time when appropriation has reached an all time high, with artists like Richard Prince now facing a lawsuit for plundering IG accounts to create photographs he sells for $100K a pop, Diet Prada is taking on the fashion industry with a Instagram account that exposes copycat designs.
The anonymous creator behind the Diet Prada account first launched the account back in December 2014, after honing the art of spotting knock-offs while scrolling through Style.com. In an interview with i-D, the creator recalls, “We would crack ourselves up and be like, ‘That’s so 2000s Galliano, what were they thinking!”’ It got to the point where we were collaging them together to show each other and we were like, ‘We need to put this on the internet.’”
And the internet has taken notice. The site, which has some 12.5K followers, is the ultimate source for fashionistas and nerds alike who recognize that paying homage is not license to jack ideas. Each post is beautifully executed, with images appearing side by side, accompanied by a caption that puts designers of blast, honoring the originator and shading the copycat.
“Damn, Alessandro, weren’t there any ICONIC glasses you could copy?” Diet Prada asks, calling out Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele for biting a the design of a classic pair of rhinestone Alain Mikli glasses. With a host of hashtags, the fashion fakes are sure to come up on your search, keeping consumers informed and creatives on notice: you are being watched.
Even when it wasn’t that extreme, cats were regularly getting clowned for stealing other people’s ideas. On his landmark album, Only Built for Cuban Linx, Raekwon dedicated a skit, “Shark N***** (Biters)” to call out the phonies. But somewhere along the way, people forgot the rules and started trying to get over, thinking no one would notice—or worse, it didn’t matter to the consumer.
Once upon a time, the greatest sin an artist could commit was perpetrating a fraud; let us not forget that being exposed for lip-synching and being stripped of his Grammy Award sent Milli Vanilli member Rob Pilatus spiraling into a depression that resulted in suicide.
But it does, and Diet Prada is evidence of this. As the creator told i-D, “History is important, you have to know where everything came from.” With eight years professional experience along with a degree in fashion, the creator is just the person to expose the intellectual property thieves to the world. Will creatives get the message, or continue business as usual?
It all depends on the consequences.
Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Online, The Undefeated, Dazed Digital, Aperture Online, and Feature Shoot. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.