When is a 'Dupe' just Plain Old Copying?

First of all I am sorry for the awful 'duped' poster above - I don't even know what it means and his face is more than annoying! So please forgive me, but I didn't know what else to use. 

So I wanted to talk about dupes, now I know 95% of you will know what a dupe is as after all it means duplicate! But I sure know alot of people wouldn't have a clue. So just to explain to anyone that hasn't got a clue what I am talking about. A dupe is basically when one beauty product is very similar to another normally more expensive product. For example if you typed into google 'Elf Facial Whip Benefit High Beam' and looked at the images you would see over 40 pictures of the two products being compared as they are so similar in appearance, but so different in price. Personally unless a products aren't 90 - 95% the same, I wouldn't really call it a dupe. It does seem like the word dupe is used alot more in beauty terms but not in anything else really.
So that is what a dupe is! 

Now ofcourse I love dupes, I love buying cheaper products and knowing they look so similar to more expensive products - like how similar Barry M Mushroom is to Chanel Particuliere, there must be a £13 price difference in both products, but they look so so alike on the nails.

But how do we feel when a company releases a product and states that it's a dupe? 
Maybe going as far as using a play on words to have the same name as the product.

Surely as the phrase dupe has been kind of made up by beauty bloggers, don't we kind of have the right (maybe 'the right' is a wrong way to phrase it) to test the product out and sort of say it could be a dupe. Then over time it becomes a dupe and everyone knows about it.

Which is what Models Own have done with there new 'Car Key' Collection.

 Now if they are going to come out there are say the products are dupes, then surely they should be VERY similar. I say this in the least bitchy way possible as I do like products by Model's Own. I just think if a company is bold enough to say that such a product is a duplicate for another product then it should be! Yes? No? 
But if you compare the Models Own Car Key collection to the Chanel Khaki collection, there is a big difference. You can see all the nail swatches here on the British Beauty Blogger blog. For me the trio of nail polishes really aren't dupe worthy at all. 

But if they were exact would this be a good thing or bad thing? 
If the swatches did compare well then Models Own have surely ripped of the Chanel Khaki collection totally. The name, the shades...even using a stock image of the Khaki collection to compare against. 
Ofcourse if the Models Own collection was a great dupe for the consumer this would be great...the difference/saving of £14 just per polish. Who would complain!

But is this just copying? 

These are just brands that we are talking about that turn over so much money yearly, but really how do Chanel feel about being basically duped I wonder. 
 Well I'm not too sure if I should be posting this, but this is a press release from Chanel to anyone that was anything to do with fashion around the time of Fashion week. 
You may have to click to enlarge it, as it is abit blurry sorry.  

So by the sounds of it Chanel DO NOT like anything trying to be Chanel like, not even my River Island chanel-ized jacket that is hung in my wardrobe.
 But I am sure other brands wouldn't like it either...I'm sure JLS wouldn't take to kindly to a band calling themselves Jay LS (not that they would have anything to worry about). 

But my question is, do we care? 

Personally I kind of do, maybe it's because Models Own called there nail polishes 'dupes' and also using a Chanel stock image to compare there product. 
I don't know it just doesn't seem right as it is blatant copying to supply the demand of 'dupe' eager makeup lovers or so Models Own thought. 

Even though I am talking on a hugely corporate basis, I can't help but think how I would feel if someone tried to copy my blog and called it Beauty Savvy! 

Would love to know all your thoughts on this - is it right or wrong?


  1. Oh my! I'd heard of the two collections, Car Key and Khaki, but I'd never realised that one was a rip-off the other! Model's Own might get sued!!
    Great post! x

  2. Yeah this is copying :/
    A dupe: Oh just happens to be alike, how funny! but when Models Own made these, they were meaning to literally copy.
    I would hate it if someone copied my blog, so much so I would contact them haha

  3. I know when smaller brands make new products they do take colours and ideas from the bigger ones, but you shouldn't make it obvious that that's what you've done x

  4. It's an interesting point - I was also thinking about the Models Own Collection and Chanel's possible reaction, because I know they're very protective about the brand. I think MO might've got a little cheeky/legally complacent after one of their existing polishes (Purple Grey) was accidentally near-"duped" (minus shimmer) by Paradoxal.

    There was another brand duping Chanel and OPI polishes very deliberately in the US who got in lots of trouble for it, but I can't remember the name, so they do need to be careful.

    That said, there are a lot of products out there that are identical through chance or being made in the same factory. I guess they don't trade on it so that's a different matter. Personally I'd rather different brands didn't copy each other - that's how the market becomes homogenised and unoriginal (e.g. flood of mint green polishes on the high street after the Chanel Jade one, all exactly the same...)

    Thought-provoking post, thanks! x

  5. I think the worst thing is when a brand dupes a product in not only the content, but it's packaging as well. This is clearly a very deliberate move and works on the motive that if people recognise something, they will consider purchasing - often from a brand they otherwise would've completely ignored.

    I think it's greedy to cash in on the work another company have spent years doing (in terms of building up an association between their brand via the use of certain type of packets/names/fonts) in order to make a quick buck. If you're products are THAT good then they should be able to stand alone as an independent name - not as carbon copy cat on the shelf.

    Great post!


  6. This post is smart as usually! I think that it would more classy and honest for the companie not to claim their products dupes and just let that the bloggers and other people do this kind of comparison. I think this is not legal, or simply not kind and correct!
    I would like to be in a company that just copies someone else's ideas.

  7. Interesting post. Whilst I love the Chanel colours I would never spend that kind of money on a nail polish. If I did I would expect the best brush money can buy, seriously superior quality polish and shades that were unique. As far as I can gather the Chanel originals still offer all of the above; the Models Own polishes in BBB's comparison swatches are clearly only borderline similar in terms of colour and no doubt brush quality and polish formula are similarly not as good as those of Chanel. So I don't really see the problem. If the Models Own colours were exact replicas of the Chanel colours then yes, Chanel would have an issue - who would pay ££ for Chanel if they can get the exact same colour for a fiver? But even that overlooks the main reason for Chanel's cult following - buying Chanel isn't about colours or application it's about luxury, it's an aspirational purchase, for most of us a rare treat and even if Models Own were producing polish that was a dupe and not a "nod to" the reasons most people would buy Chanel in the first place still exist. So I would buy Models Own and know that it was following the trend set by the market leaders as having the real deal isn't of sufficient interest to warrant the spend. In fairness to Models Own on their website they describe the polishes as bearing a "striking resemblance" they don't claim they are dupes although I agree even striking resemblance might be a claim too far in light of BBB's swatches! That said kudos to them for the name and more so for the controversy - given that there's no such thing as bad publicity, imagine Models Own being sued by Chanel; that would be your brand image lifted to new heights of awareness even the most savvy marketing team would struggle to achieve!

  8. From a buyer's point of view, dupes are great as you can have the looks you want at a price that suits you better.
    From the point of whatever company is being copied, or 'duped', it must be frustrating when people choose to buy the cheaper version of their product. I don't think cosmetics companies should set out to make exact duplicates of other products, but rather a 'version' which takes inspiration from the original but has small differences so it's not a total rip-off of the original. Did that make sense?!

  9. omg seriously! 'car key' sounds so stupid!xx

  10. I'm with Debbie on this, she made some very excellent points in her comment, the MO polishes are not dupes, but the title for the little collection is tongue in cheek in my opinion. It makes me grin a little.

    What infuriates me are fakes. Fake MAC, fake Benefit, fake whatever, because it is misleading and you cannot trust the ingredients of such products, completely different to something that is inspired by one of the major design houses.

  11. Great post, i really enjoyed this.From a consumer point of view i guess i wouldnt really care if it saved me the ££. I really dislike the brand MeMe for their rip offs of benefit. Their packaging is almost identical , how do they get away with it? x

  12. Interesting read :) and thought-provoking. Debbie has already mentioned what I was about to type :).

  13. I think the name was quite a funny in a tongue in cheek kind of way. They really aren't all that similar (oddly, I posted a swatch of one of the Car Keys polishes before I even read this post and said as much!). I've always considered the word dupe to have been derived from duplicitous, I think the definition of dupe is to deceive someone. This kind of fits what you're saying too. I always felt a bit funny about Sigma's use of the MAC numbering system. Blatant rip offs just aren't that cool!

  14. @lucie.lovely.cupcake - Thanks :) not to sure about if they will get sued, think they may have been careful to not do that!

    @Louise - yes I really don't mind when cheaper brands look at more high end products for ideas, and the product name and look is totally different. But as the saying goes nobody likes a copycat sadly!

    @The Postcolonial Rabbit - Some really great point you made ther - didn't know about the brand you mention that tried to copy OPI & Chanel. Also like you say it does become abit unoriginal. Thanks for the comment.

    @The Beauty Bite - Totally agree with you. Copying packaging is really bad, as you also get that maybe high end look and then a similar name and then a similar product! Like you say a good strong brand should be able to stand of there own and be proud of that fact. Which is what I thought Model's Own were doing well at, until the Car Key collection.

    Thanks for all your comments :)

    Fee x

  15. @Olivia - Thanks Fiamma, Yes I think that is what it is, they would of been better not calling them dupes and let the people that buy there products decide. Also have to agree with not wanting to work for a company that copied ideas!

    @Debbie - Thanks for leaving such a detailed comment firstly! :) I love a good read.
    I actually have to agree that people do buy Chanel for a specific reasons, basically because they want thay luxury, so whether Models Own did a good job or not with the collection, them people will always go to Chanel. Personally and I'm not to sure why but I just dislike that there intention was to get the nail polishes as similar in colour as they could, there is just creativity in that or thought.
    As for Model's Own saying that the nail polishes are dupes for Chanel, I should of mentioned that there press release did say this, but obviously there website doesn't so I'm not to sure.
    But you have made me think alot more about it now!

    @Julia M - Don't worry that made total sense, I get what you mean. I think alot of brands already do that, like Barry M and even Boots No7 hot cloth cleanser, they aren't stop on and don't go out of there way to copy another product, it just gets compared.
    I guess that's what I disliked with Model's Own calling the nail polishes dupes, not letting the customer make there own minds up about it.

    @Holly - As a collection on it's own & if you didn't know about the Chanel collection it really does sound silly doesn't it.

    Thanks for all your lovely comments.

    Fee x

  16. @Small Town Gal - Debbie really did make some great points and has really made me think! I have to agree fakes are so much worse, like you say you just cannot trust what the ingredients are - actually scary.

    @Charlotte - Thanks :) I know what you mean about if it saves you money then who cares and I actually wonder why I care, I think it's just that it's not original or creative from a brand that I though was very creative! If that makes sense.

    @Amey - Thanks for commenting - Debbie really did touch upon some great points.

    @Modesty Brown - From looking at the swatch I have to agree they really aren't similar, but I think it's just the thought that Model's Own where trying to create an exact shade - but then again may be they weren't, I'm not too sure.
    I just thought Model's Own didn't need to use the chanel comparison!
    After all the comments I am not to sure why it annoyed me now!
    Thanks for your comment as usual :)

    Fee x

  17. It didn't annoy me but I was taken aback by the use of the Chanel picture on their website to compare the bottles! I am always surprised by that sort of stuff (like when another supermarket mentions a competitors prices on their ads). I'm sure it must have been done within the letters of the law but even still, it's surprising that they are allowed. Models Own isn't owned by L'Oreal is it?

  18. Yes.. it is copying.

    ***** Marie *****

  19. Sorry that was a comment and a half wasn't it! Your whole post is what makes beauty blogging so interesting, most of the time its froth and pretty things and then every now and again someone has a strong opinion that leads to a really interesting discussion, like this one - again well done on a very thought provoking post. Oh and btw I have always considered "dupe" to be short for "duplicate" so imo for a product to be claiming to be a dupe I would be expecting exact replica, which is where I was coming from in my diatribe!

  20. This is a really great and interesting post. I think in a world where massive brands like chanel with their huge advertising budget monopolise the beauty industry, smaller brands like models own need to find a way to get their collections seen. the fact that the colours are pretty different leads me to believe they had already created them without even knowing about chanel..they were just clever enough to market them as a similar thing. It happens in fashion all the time.. I agree that when a brands whole history has been ripped off , i.e mememe and benefit- that is wrong..but would it stop me buying it- probably not. the beauty industry is making millions out of all of us!

  21. I don’t think that these nail polishes show that Models Own lack creativity or are outright copying Chanel. To me they are just trying to show that they are a brand with a sense of humour.

    I believe that they are merely poking a little fun at what was bound to be another over-hyped release from Chanel.

    Remember imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

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  23. That's an interesting point by the way, I hadn't even thought of it that way. Thanks for elaborating on that.

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