Knock, knock, knock-offs!

 (illustrated with random stationery found in my desk drawers)

 Have you read OlgaJazzy and KnitLit‘s latest posts? I’m talking about this and this–where they both point us to knock-off patterns of designer knits.

Olga found a zillion knitting magazines that knocked-off that Pringle sweater that I was lured by a few months ago, and I have to say, despite me mocking Lion Brand a few posts ago, the Lion Brand version is definitely the best, in terms of fidelity to the original and the styling of the finished object. BUT! It’s still nowhere as nice as the original–look at the cables, they’re so simplified compared to the original which had cables of different sizes, styles, and directions. Plus, I remember learning during my last search for that Pringle sweater that the original was knit in 4-ply cashmere, which I doubt the knock-offs are.


(I think the bottom sentence, “I look at fashion magazines with my friends and try to keep myself up to date,” is the most logical, but I find the abbreviated version more amusing, as some sort of commentary on fashion and feminism: “I look at fashion magazines and try to keep myself.” I bought this stationery in 1997 when I visited Japan, and ten years and many, many moves later, still have it.)

Anyway. I am not opposed to knock-offs, and I don’t even think the quality of designer goods is always noticeably better than the knock-offs. But in some cases, like the Pringle sweater, the quality IS definitely better and the knock-offs seem significantly shoddier.

And that quality is what brings me to Knit Lit’s post about the Vogue Knitting version of Alexander McQueen’s sweater. Knit Lit Kate writes, “funny how fit, styling and color choices can make all the difference!” Absolutely–the McQueen version on the runway is cool and avant-garde and the Vogue Knitting version seems much more pedestrian.


(I fear that my decision to knit a shawl is going to make me look like this lady. Kerkdracht in de rouw! I have no idea what that means. This is from a set of Dutch regional dress postcards–or “nederlandse streekdrachten”–that Adam bought for me when he went to Amsterdam last year.)

I know that Vogue Knitting offers designer knits, but I wish the designers would license more of their knits as kits or something. James Surowiecki alludes to this idea in the financial page of The New Yorker this week when he mentions the notion of “a registered original design,” when Jackie Kennedy and other society ladies of the fifties would buy Parisian runway designs made at Bergdorf Goodman or something through a licensing deal. They were Designer, with a captial D, but made here, probably in the garment district. It seems that the knitting community is small enough that they could offer similar kits or patterns for us knitters to recreate, without harming their business. (Well, maybe not. The kits would  be a blueprint for mass-manufacturers to knock-off these same garments, but this is already happening without the kits! And I shudder to think how expensive the kits or officially licensed patterns would be.)

Unfortunately, there seems to be a divide between knitting patterndesigners and couture and high-end pret-a-porter designers, and I wish we could have more of the latter available to us as knitters.

Okay, enough rambling for today.

Posted in the Business, Uncategorized at September 22nd, 2007. Trackback URI: trackback

3 Responses to “Knock, knock, knock-offs!”

  1. September 22nd, 2007 at 12:59 pm #Adam

    Sometimes I think lots of the stuff I see being knit is frumpy. I don’t know if most knitters have the desire to figure out how to knit the fashionable stuff and make a pattern of it.

  2. September 23rd, 2007 at 9:22 pm #Olga

    Wow, I must say you do touch a very touchy-feely subject and the world of fashion and knock-offs is so complex. As soon as runway shows are over Asia part of the globe gets busy with their knock-off production to be sold in many department stores of the USA, at cheaper prices of course, that angers the designers a lot, but the way our economy is going it seems that buyer is going to be a bigger quantity, people would buy same amount but cheaper brands of clothing.

  3. September 28th, 2007 at 2:39 pm #Grace

    I think I would rather knit myself a knock-off/copy/interpretion of a designer knitwear item than buy a cheaply made knock-off. When I look at all those designer pieces I think to myself “I could make that!” or “Could I make that?” I love Vk for that reason…. I buy it for those designs to see how it’s done and do it myself.