Friday 30, Oct 2020, Delhi (India)
Before the middle of the 19th century, clothes were a visual accessory, made and designed on preference, by hand either at home or by tailors, for each individual. But as the technological and fashion world rose to a new high, we saw the development of the fashion industry in terms of production as well as distribution. The advent of factories and retail selling outlets such as dress stores and design studios got companies to produce clothing in certain sizes and for them to be sold at certain fixed rates. Not only that, but a visible change in the fashion industry was also seen in the media-related areas and controversial topics such as dress designing, styling credits, inspiration, reference, and authenticity of the clothing brand began to state importance in the fashion world. Various platforms started covering Indian fashion according to the latest fashion trends and churned up high-end controversies to keep the audiences involved.
Today, the fashion industry is a multibillion-dollar market on a global level, dedicated to creating and selling clothes with the highest order and finest fabric. Quoting the legendary Kate Spade, “Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends.”
In technical terms, there is a very minor difference between the fashion industry and the apparel industry, and by being in tow with the latest fashion trends, the gap fills. You might still notice changes between the designs showcased in fashion shows held by Tom Ford, or Gucci, or Lakmé when compared with regular bulk-production streetwear and casual wear clothes available in stores and malls all around the globe. This is because the fashion industry is wide vast, and it comprises of manufacturing and advertising all kinds of clothing, be it exclusive and high-priced branded styles or regular and off-the-cuff comfort wear.
The main reason behind providing this huge selection of fashion for the people is to break the monotony of going along with the same styles for years on end. Like Kenzo Takada says it, “Fashion is like eating, you shouldn’t stick to the same menu.”
Like every other industry, the industry of fashion also undergoes major issues such as plagiarism and bigotry. When it comes to creativity and styling, a novel and unique design are applauded whereas one that has been copied off of a different brand or previous designers is shamed and looked down upon.
But how do we know if a look or fashion style is copied or stolen? With various designers and brands leading the industry with a high head, it becomes impossible to call them out with allegations of copying a style without proof or detailed research.
This is where big names like Diet Prada and Diet Sabya come in. These two fashion police are a sensation on social media, as they play the role of ripping off copycat fashion as well as calling out minor to major similarities in design. They are known to have been dealing with bigger matters of consequences like racism and bigotry when it comes to the big sharks of the industry.
The Instagram sensation, Diet Prada, which goes by the tagline 'ppl knocking each other off lol' consistently reveals and shames various brands and designers – be they huge or upcoming – on copying fashion and styles and points out resemblances in the smuggest ways. Not only that, acting on the tips received from their Instagram followers, but the duo also reacts on topics of racism so that designers are always aware of someone watching their wrongdoings.
Where Diet Prada focuses on calling out international plagiarism, Diet Sabya is a social media handle that comically yet elegantly finds out the bashes the popular names in the Indian fashion industry. Diet Sabya not only exposes the truth regarding fashion inspirations but also calls out celebrities for wearing attires designed by international brands. They sometimes dig deeper and reveal images and shoots that have been edited and photoshopped in the most amusing ways, and that is what makes their account hilariously adored by its followers.
There is a fine line of difference between inspiration and copying. Several Indian fashion designers have been blatantly copying the work of international designers in the name of inspiration and reference and Diet Sabya, if not always correct, is mostly right in shaming such plagiarists. Indian fashion has been facing the issue of copycatting since forever. Design studios and boutiques that order clothing in bulk usually get them imported from cities like Bangkok and South Korea where the prices are cheap. Then, they label the product with false brand names and place unbelievably high price tags. In this scenario, it becomes appropriate and utterly necessary to target such designer houses and call them out on printing money off of a reputable stylist.
While Diet Prada has been doing the same and so much more in bettering the fashion world, the Diet Sabya’s account recently received the most desired approval of the designer Sabyasachi when he tweeted, "These guys are pretty good."
Diet Prada, in contrast to Diet Sabya’s direct, sharp and amusing tone, uses a decent and elaborate explanatory one in order of kindness while still holding out the mirror to the big names in the fashion industry.
After several interesting controversies entailing the information regarding Diet Sabya and Diet Prada's anonymity, there was still no luck in finding out the owners of the account as well as the sources of their content in general.
However, after their feud with Dolce and Gabbana, Diet Prada, as recent as in May 2018, decided to abandon their anonymity and come out stronger and bolder, and they were now ready to willingly dive into all the drama.
Run by Tony Liu, aged 32, and Lindsey Schuyler, aged 30, Diet Prada has been calling out designers that rip each other off for a little less than a decade now. Schuyler and Liu met while they worked as designers under Eugenia Kin and launched Diet Prada in the year 2014. Now with their identities revealed, the duo is not scared of internet shaming names that are dear to the industry and massive in their reach. These names include Dolce and Gabbana and Céline's Hedi Slimane among many others.
When it comes to the Indian watchdog of the fashion world Diet Sabya though, we have no clue as to who the face(s) are behind the outspoken and brash self-congratulatory voice that is now followed by almost every designer – for reasons ranging from applauding to security – as well as celebrities like Sonam Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.
Social media is the most widespread and easiest platform to reach millions of users, and that is exactly where you will find these two fashion police.
Diet Sabya goes by the Instagram handle @dietsabya and has a huge number of following, counting to 207k as of now. The account has been diligently posting rip-offs for years now and has reached a total of over 300 posts with witty and hilarious captions to go with them.
Diet Prada, on the other hand, showcases their controversies on both, Instagram as well as their official website, dietprada.com. The Instagram handle of Diet Prada. @diet_prada has a whopping 107 million followers and over a thousand posts. The account is followed by various celebrity influencers like Chrissy Teigen and supermodels like Naomi Campbell, as well as designers like Marc Jacobs and Zac, pose nans stylists like Mel Ottenberg (Rihanna) and Arianne Phillips (Madonna). Not only that, but the official website also sells merch that includes t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, and keychains branded with 'Diet Prada.'
The Brooklyn based pair behind Diet Prada and the anonymous Diet Prada follow the same idea, but a different approach. They post side-by-side photos of copycat designs with the originals and shame the plagiarists in the captions. Where Diet Prada does it sarcastically and humorously, Diet Sabya is more sharp and direct with their words as they call out the style as a #gandi copy.
An Instagram clip of Diet Sabya that recently gained 1,20,000 views reveals the model Erika Packard showing off a shirt that she's wearing and she goes on the explain to her co-host Gabriella Demetriades how she redefined her uncles hand-me-down and used a patch from her mother's bandhani saree. Diet Sabya, however, claimed the shirt was an original design by Ikat Story, a brand that the channel sources for the show, and that the credits be given to Chandini Sareen, the designer.
Another rip off was a couture collection lehenga showcased by Suneet Verma in the year 2018/2019 that had striking similarities with the design and pattern from Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla’s 2015 retail design.
With its directness, Diet Sabya called out Yami Gautam on a red net gown by posting a picture from her photoshoot alongside Bella Hadid wearing the original. In the caption, Diet Sabya calls Yami Gautam ‘Bella Hadid from Bandra.’
Diet Prada called out Olivia Culpo after she confidently said she wasn’t worried about being outed. The account dug deeper and found glaring resemblances between a dress she wore in 2018 designed by the brand Retrofete and the one she launched in her collection as recent as January 2020.
A Chanel pearl vest that Linda Evangelista wore back in a fashion show in the year 1991 was copied and debuted by a Korean brand called Blindness in the year 2018.
Diet Prada and Diet Sabya target brands like Celine, Giambattista Valli and Calvin Klein, and Indian fashion brands like Nykaa, Lulu and Sky, Koovs as well as darling designers like Dolce and Gabbana and Masaba Gupta. However, the intention behind these accounts isn’t to pose any legal allegations. While there have been instances like a quick and polite apology or an embarrassing public confession on being called out, there have also been outrageous accusations and story shaming with bigger names like Virgil Abloh who has been a constant target for Diet Prada, especially with his recent Off-White brand. The account calls the designs a rip off from various looks wore in the past to which the designer counters by saying how similarities in designs can sometimes be a mere coincidence, and that this is just another negative energy in the world that is stopping the good from prevailing.
The biggest controversy that Diet Prada faced was that with Dolce and Gabbana when the brand copied Diet Prada’s official merchandise. A t-shirt that said ‘Say sorry to me’ that the duo designed as a comeback and sold for $32, but the brand designed an exact looking design and put it up on the market at an astounding price of $385. The feud between the two is still ongoing and hasn’t been resolved.
By being mostly kind, but outright offensive when necessary, both the platforms have gotten designers and stylists both nationally and internationally to watch their backs. The warmest objective behind calling out these copycats is solely letting creativity live on.
Not only that, but both Diet Prada and Diet Sabya are also against all forms of racism, bigotry, impoliteness, and indecency that comes to newcomers in the fashion industry. The aim is to make the fashion world a safe place for everyone to work.
Fashion critics and magazine writers that have been afraid of calling out big names in the industry are now backed by a more powerful, and hilarious gateways like Diet Prada and Diet Sabya. The fact that steps are being taken against plagiarism in art as prevalent and followed as fashion is proof in itself that the future holds more on freshness and striking imaginative work by our adored designers as well as upcoming ones.