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Deal Divas

Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Kameel Stanley, & Keyonna Summers

First Lady's fave designers aren't flattered by imitation

Narciso We here at Deal Divas are all about getting designer looks for less. We like quality, but we also dig the trendy knockoffs at bargain stores like Forever 21 and Target.

That attitude makes the fashion industry's upper crust cringe.

A couple weeks ago, a foursome of First Lady Michelle Obama's fave designers -- Narciso Rodriguez, Thakoon Panichgul, Maria Cornejo and Jason Wu (creator of the inaugural ballgown) -- went to Washington to lobby against design piracy. They are sick of cheapo chains that copycat their creations and sell them for basement prices, sometimes before the original versions make it to stores. They want stiffer copyright laws that protect their trademarks AND their innovation.

We get that -- to a point. We wouldn't like it either if someone swiped our witticisms and wrote them as their own before we had a chance to publish them on our pretty little blog.

But imitation is inevitable. And how many people are going to mistake a Forever 21 knockoff for the real deal? The people who can afford Cornejo's $200 knit tops and $1,500 coats are going to buy them. She's not going to lose business with the masses, because the masses couldn't pony up that kind of cash in the first place.

"I design clothes for women who are in that I-have-to-pay-a-mortgage niche," she told the Washington Post's Robin Givhan.

Um, since when do most mortgage-paying women have money left over for a $200 top?

Cornejo does sound eager to jump on the Target gravy train, where designers like Thakoon Panichgul have profited from less expensive lines. We approve.

~ Deal Diva Colleen

(Photo: Getty Images. Michelle Obama looking lovely in a plum Narciso Rodriguez dress. But, hey, she wears J.Crew, too!)

[Last modified: Thursday, May 20, 2010 5:16pm]


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