The Dupe Dilemma

Recently I had lunch with a makeup artist and told her how much I was loving my Bad Habit eyeshadow palette when she audibly gasped at me. ‘You can’t buy that stuff!’ she exclaimed, visibly shaking.

My confusion and interest were both peaked. Why? Shop Hush has great prices, the palettes are usually similar if not identical in color story and they are a third of the price! Plus if you spend $35 you can spin the wheel for a prize!

She continues to gape at me, mouth wide open and in horror. All these companies that put hard work into their product, creating something original and these guys just RIP THEM OFF! Ok, chica. Breathe in and out. We are not discussing the cure for cancer here.

The conversation did make me think though. What are the ethics of the industry. Is it really total theft for dupe companies like Bad Habit and sites like Shop Hush to profit from the success and marketing of big brands like Pat McGrath (whose palettes retail over $100) or Anastasia Beverly Hills (around $55) or is this just the nature of business.? Someone comes out with a good idea, charges up the wazoo for it another comes out with a copy at a third of the price (and quality) and sells to the mass market.

No one I know owns a $800 Balenciaga jacket but they do own the $40 to $150 copies sold everywhere from FashionNova to Banana Republic. And the issue of originality, ethics of taking a design or price point never seems to come up. In fact, many consumers wait until fast fashions chains like H&M come out with dupes to purchase.

Let’s take this further, it’s obvious that some palettes are outright dupes of higher end companies, in fact Bad Habit and Shop Hush are notorious for this. Many beauty gurus look down their nose at these sites and call it scandalous, unethical and even theft but until any one of them can claim their have never shopped at FashionNova, Pretty Little Thing or ASOS (many of them have sponsored deals with these companies) its a little hypocritical to cry foul.

I’ll go a step further. The average consumer of these goods is unable to afford most of the latest launches as a result of unrealistic price points and have to shop dupes to come even close to getting that experience. One more, how original can an arrangement of eyeshadow colors be? Haven’t they all been done before and therefore everything is a dupe of everything else?

So now that we are thoroughly down the rabbit hole of dupes and ethics I will state my position. I don’t think it’s right that companies should spend time and money putting together a product only to have it snatched out and blatantly copied by another. But I also think it’s foolish to assume it won’t happen if a company has priced themselves out of the average consumers ability to purchase. With the flurry of launches taking place, and more so the huge access to palettes at multiple price points (from Colourpop to Natasha DeNona) it’s implausible to assume dupes will not be created. Instead I have decided to buy the original where possible and when it’s not? Bad Habit here I come.

Clarity R

Image: Pinterest Subculture ABH vs Retro Love by Bad Habit

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