• Wed
  • Oct 22, 2014
  • Updated: 6:45am
PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 June, 2013, 3:17pm
UPDATED : Friday, 14 June, 2013, 7:23pm

'That’s our school uniform!' Prada branded 'copycat' by Shenzhen students


Amy Li began her journalism career as a crime news reporter in Queens, New York, in 2004. She joined Reuters in Beijing in 2008 as a multimedia editor. Amy taught journalism at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu before joining SCMP in Hong Kong in 2012. She is now an online news editor for SCMP.com. Amy can be reached at chunxiao.li@scmp.com, or follow her on Twitter @AmyLiSCMP

Prada, a constant victim of plagiarism in China, has in an ironic turn of events been called a “copycat” by some sharp-eyed Chinese bloggers.

In viral photos on Weibo, avid shoppers compare one of Prada’s new summer items, a men’s polo shirt, with the top of a Shenzhen school uniform.

The resemblances are considerable, many argue.

“Except for some details in the cuff and the front pocket, it does look like one of our uniforms,” commented a Shenzhen university student.

Shenzhen’s middle-school students have been wearing the uniforms since 2006, reported the Shenzhen-based Daily Sunshine

The prices of the two are drastically different, noted shoppers.  A Prada reseller on Taobao, China’s Ebay, prices the polo shirt at 1,580 yuan (HK$2,000), while its “twin” school uniform is selling for 35 yuan on the same online retail site.

Tommy Li, a Hong Kong-based fashion designer, told Daily Sunshine that it was not unusual for established brands to borrow from popular street elements - a concept known as “crossovers”.

The method rings a bell for many Chinese, who once stared at a 2007 Louis-Vitton bag which looked exactly like those plaid red, blue and white bags China’s migrant workers and farmers lug around at the country’s raiway stations.

Calls to Prada's offices in Hong Kong and Beijing were not answered on Friday.


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This article is now closed to comments

It's just for FUN people!!!! I don't understand why there are so many of you are being defensive for the Prada brand.
I am from Shenzhen and I was wearing this **** for 3 years - we never gonna ACCUSE Prade for "copying" our uniform! It's purely entertaining for us that Prade have this polo looks like our ugly & cheap (I would say so) uniform.
Copyright protection in China? come on....like we never know this issue exits in China? Do you really need to bring it up here?
All fun ruined.
This is so so silly or simply arrogant, in China every pattern and design of local products are copied including phones,cars and pack food items... but they give a damn even law suit is not respected, copyright is not in the dictionary so far. There are 100 of similar looking shirt in the net from all corner of world with 1000 other brands.
Except for the bag which we used to call "refugee bag" probably its origin is HK itself during the times of Cultural Revolution and Japanese invasion it was everywhere and with everyone.
The LV was inspired and in fashion world its norm to be inspired culturally,ethnically,environmetally,politically otherwise its boring.
There isn't much in the way of copyright protection for clothing designs and never has been. For example, once you have the basic form of a polo shirt, almost every subsequent shirt would be a knockoff in some way. Making a polo shirt where the collar is a different color than the shirt isn't a new trick. If you compare the two shirts, they are quite different.
There is protection for the trademark, both for the mark itself and some distinguishing characteristics - like the particular red colored heels for an obscenely high priced brand of shoes.
The mark doesn't necessarily indicate design so much as the fact that the owner of the mark has made an item, which mark may indicate a quality product and help the buyer to choose what to buy.
How many tens of thousands of knockoffs have there been for Coco Chanel's little black dress? There would be no rag trade if everyone needed to pay design royalties for obvious designs that might well have been arrived at by happenstance, like the Prada shirt probably was.
so when a no-name copies a brand-name, it's "plagiarism", but when it's the other way around, it's "crossover". I see how it works. Hypocrisy is indeed useful.
The two shirts are NOT identical in color, sleeves or logo. Sorry Shenzhen University, but you were not the first to invent a random blue shirt with a white collar.
The Chinese know nothing about patents and trademarks, doesn't mean they should be exploited. Shame. What "crossover" ? That's just copying. Prada could be sued, if they have been patented beforehand.
The only thing both shirts, have in common is that they are blue. Neither Prada nor the Shenzhen school system have invented blue polo shirts.
Get real, go back to the 1960s in HKG and China there was only ONE choice of plastic bag which resembled the red, white, and blue stripes of the French flag, then in the 70s and 80s 'creativity' took off so now we benefit from a myriad colors, but strangely perhaps very few design elements - should this not be welcomed ? And to move on, the last time I saw the percentages of claimed 'infringements' under US copyright 'law' around 40% were its own citizens. C'est la vie! (fr - that's life) ! Works for me.


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