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.