This week, Naked Lunch featured a special guest - The Star's beauty and shopping columnist Daphne Gordon. Daphne wanted to know whether you feel that knock-off beauty products are a rip-off or a better buy. For instance, a number of cheap drugstore brands seem to have copied Bobbi Brown's Shimmerbricks multi-hued compact bronzer. It sells for $49. The knockoffs sell for a fraction of that amount. But are they as good? And what about the ethics of stealing Bobbi's design idea? Read the archived discussion below and send your comments. Join us next Thursday at noon for another live Naked Lunch chat.
As a yoga instructor with two big dogs, my main wardrobe consists of stretchy stuff for teaching yoga, practicing yoga, walking the dogs, gardening etc. the stretchy stuff works best - why not buy a pair of yoga pants for $17.99 at Costco that are absolutely amazing knock-offs of Lululemon's $98 pants - why not I ask. And, pick up a 24 pack of toilet paper while you are at it.
My friend Shelly and I were shopping on Queen Street the other day and we were taking in all the amazing new looks for spring and all the great stuff you can buy and were glad not to be in our twenties and past the stage of worrying so much about clothes and finding the money to be trendy and focused on our outer image and happy to be working "in" instead. I think it's hard for women to try and keep on top of the latest fashion trends - bombarded by the media, so if the knock-off fashions are done well, do buy them. -- Joanne
Interesting comments, Joanne. Though we started this conversation talking about knock-off beauty products, your comment draws attention to the fact that copycats are a larger phenomenon that affects the fashion industry as a whole.
And it's interesting that you've noted Lululemon as an example. It's true that many activewear brands have shifted their designs to look more like Lululemon's successful concept at a lower price. For example, HAVE YOU BEEN TO SMART SET LATELY??? They have amazing yogawear and t-shirts for active living. I bought a great pair of stretchy pants for $20 and four T-shirts for $24.
Still, the concept of cheaper knockoffs begs the question: Where was this stuff made and were any children harmed in the making of it? I mean, how is it possible to make a pair of pants priced at $20? The retailer, the designer, the manufacturer all get a bit of that $20. But is the person who is sewing those pants in a factory in Hong Kong making a living wage and working in a healthy environment? How would we, as consumers, find out how the sewers are treated in the making of a cheap product? Because personally, I wouldn't buy those pants if it doesn't support a healthy, compassionate and fair economy in the garment industry. It's a gray area now, but I think there is a movement towards greater consciousness around production methods and ethics.
It's a good topic for another Naked Lunch.
Can you recommend an inexpensive foundation (under $30) that I can buy from, say, Shopper’s Drug Mart? Thanks, Lucinda
I'm a huge fan of CoverFX, a Canadian based brand that was invented at Sunnybrook Hospital by a dermatologist who helps people with major skin problems. I use the water based liquid foundation, it's good coverage but very natural. And it's great for sensitive skin. It costs $35 (a previously published price was incorrect). Shoppers Drug Mart beauty experts are well trained to help customers find the right shade. Ask for help! Choosing the right colour of foundation is an art. For information, go to www.coverfx.com
My colleague Bernadette Morra has been raving about Almay's Smart Shade foundation, which is new at Shoppers. It just hit shelves and costs about $19. It comes out of the tube as a white cream with brown stripes. After you smooth it on your skin, it adapts to your skin shade. She says "it looks incredibly natural, and seems to give my skin a warm tone that has the effect of a slight tan."
Can we talk about something else for a minute? I just saw the picture of Janet Gretzky on The Star's home page. How much plastic surgery has she had? She doesn't look anything like the woman who married Wayne 18 years ago.
|Janet and Wayne Gretzky arrive at the 1999 NHL awards gala in Toronto.|
Well, that's an interesting question. It's true, Janet looks different these days. It's another example of plastic surgery gone too far. In my humble opinion, a little goes a long way. But, to draw Hollywood into it again, I think people who spend time there lose their eye for reality and become accustomed to seeing perfection as beautiful. By the way, the picture you're seeing is a seven-year old picture. I bet she looks different today than she did back then, too...
This isn't a new trend, is it? For example, there have always been cheaper foundations and more expensive foundations?
Yes, it's true there have always been cheapie counterparts to luxury products. But the level of mimicry in packaging, marketing materials and ingredients has reached a fever pitch in recent years. It's a bit like what's happening in Hollywood, if you think about it. The major studios don't have new ideas, so they look to the interesting, low-budget indies that manage to break through into popular culture. Those indie projects become popular because they resonate with something real and meaningful. Then, the majors see their success and try to imitate it. It's the same thing with makeup. The few creative brands out there -- and Bobbi Brown is one of them, as are Stila, Jo Malone, Freeze24/7 -- innovate ideas that really resonate. Their products aren't successful because of big marketing budgets and full-page magazine ads. They're successful because they're innovative, functional, beautiful and priced right.
Daphne, I am wondering whether you tried any of the cheap drugstore bronzers? Did you like them?
I did try a cheap Revlon bronzer recently. It looked beautiful in the round compact, with a swirl of a bluish coloured powder in with the bronze. But I found the sparkle really sat on top of my skin and looked obvious and cheap.