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Replica Infosheet

★Replica Infosheet - Updated on 19 July 12★
What is a replica?
How are replicas made?
Where do I find a replica?
Are replicas bad?
Is it a replica if it isn't a print?

★What is a replica?★
In the context of lolita fashion, it is any article of clothing, footwear, accessory or miscellaneous goods that aim to be an exact copy of an existing design. 


★How are replicas made?★
The creation of replica varies across different makers. Some of them refer to photos of the original and derive their copy from there. Others may seek the original piece and use it as a base to create a replica.


★Where do I find a replica?★
It depends on what type of replica you are looking for.

Print replicas are mostly produced by Oo Jia and Dream of Lolita.
A print replica is usually a skirt, jumperskirt or onepiece dress where the original fabric was copied and somebody tailors a piece of clothing with the replicated fabric. Other print replica makers exist, but are not as well-known.


Angelic Pretty Milky Planet


OoJia Milky Planet Replica

Non-print replicas can be obtained through various means.
Some taobao shops like HMHM and KidsYoYo produce non-print replicas, along with some original designs of theirs. There is also Fan Plus Friend. Replicas may not be of actual pieces of clothing - don't leave out the bags, shoes, accessories and the like! 

 


Others may take photos of the dress they desire to a professional seamstress.

One place to never buy a replica (or a non-replica, for that matter) is milanoo and its various...facades. (It's so evil that I won't even link it here! D: ) Learn more about milanoo...


★Are replicas bad?★
In terms of quality, replicas are always of a lower quality than the original piece. There may be a few exceptions but this is generally the case.

In terms of morality, ethics and legality, this topic becomes very subjective. Throughout the entire Lolita community, you will have people who agree to the existence of replicas and those who don't. And each person will disagree, or agree, to certain aspects and to different extents. When the topic is brought into debate, it usually becomes an endless discussion. 


★What about the original manufacturers?
Sometimes, they do not know about the existence of the replicas. When they do, most of them state that they do not support the existence of replicas. When attending an event organised by an original label, or when visiting their shop, it is quite taboo to wear replicas - albeit it is common sense but still, bear this in mind.


★Is it a replica if it isn't a print?★
As long as it aims to an exact copy of the original, yes.
A good example would be the Rocking Horse Shoes (original by Vivienne Westwood) - no print, in fact, it's not even a dress or a skirt :p Yet it has been replicated so many times by Lolita Lola, An-tai-na, Montreal, Double Decker, even Bodyline...


Original VW RHS


Different variations.

Mary Magdalene's Madeleine Chiffon Dress has been replicated too.


Original by MM


KidsYoYo Replica


HMHM Replica


★Are replicas illegal?★

Disclaimer I am NOT a layer and I stand corrected at any point of time, if the information I provide with regards to copyright and trademark laws are inaccurate.
Current fashion industry laws only protect brands for the following:
- Prints containing artwork of their own creation
- Brand logos, mascots and the like

The following replications are not covered by the law.

1. Shoes, bags, hats and other accessories. As long as the replica maker does not include a fake brand tag, or the copy does not include the brand name or logo, it is not illegal.

2. Non-print designs, for example:

Innocent World's Classical Square OP
If any seamstress tries to replicate this dress down to the last detail, it is not illegal.

3. Designs with generic prints that do not contain artwork unique to the brand.
 
Angelic Pretty's Tartan Check Triple Tiered Skirt
If this is replicated, it is not illegal. Other common prints include polka dots, generic florals and pinstripes.

4. They replicate a design, using a print that contains artwork unique to the brand, but they remove the brand logo in the print.

From Innocent World
If a seamstress replicates this jumperskirt, but she uses a floral fabric where she traces the print over down to the last detail - including the words "Innocent World" - it is illegal. However if she uses another brown fabric with florals on it, without Innocent World's name on the fabric, it is not illegal

5. Next we consider designs that are not illegal. They seem largely similar to the items produced by brands, but because they made enough changes to the print, it is deemed as an original design. 

 
Left Moitie's Divine Cross, Right Surface Spell's Judgement Day

What Surface Spell did is legal. Some may argue that Surface Spell is replicating Divine Cross, others may feel that Judgement Day is inspired by Moitie but not a replica. They made enough changes to the original print for it to be legal.


★What's so good about replicas?★
When you purchase a replica, it costs less than buying the original (at the sacrifice of some quality). Also, many replica makers offer custom sizing. Customisations - such as changing the bodice, adding more ruffles and lace, switching the fabric types, changing the short sleeves to long ones - become possible.

Replica farbic, mostly produced by Oo Jia, have been used for creative projects. Somebody made curtains out of Aatp's Vampire Requiem and the same print was made into a jacket by another person. There are also instances where by bloomers were made with replica fabric. One lolita made a digital replica of an Aatp print, to print stockings out of. Such projects are usually impractical or impossible when using original pieces of clothing. 



Did I miss anything out? I hope I didn't! Contributions are welcome. :)
I hope this page can become a cheat-sheet to direct newbies to.

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