updated 22 Oct 2012, 12:40
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Tue, May 03, 2011
China Daily
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Kate's dress a hit with copycats
by Xu Junqian

SHANGHAI - Hours after Kate Middleton stepped out of the Rolls Royce that drove her to Westminster Abbey in London to marry Prince William, tailoring stores on, China's largest online shopping bazaar, were already offering replicas of her wedding dress.

A copy of the lace gown, which was designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, and featured a V-neck satin bodice flowing into a skirt with floral hand embroidery, is selling for 1,800 yuan ($280) at Sumiao's Little Store, one of the online shops offering the dresses. The price also includes a duplicate of the ivory tulle veil worn by the new Dutchess of Cambridge.

"We have been closely following the wedding dress Kate would wear ever since she and Prince William announced their engagement," said Chen Sumiao, 23, the owner of the store.

"The minute the design became known, we discussed with our designers about its feasibility and came up with a plan overnight," said Chen.

Although there are only snapshots of Kate in the dress on the website and no dresses have been made yet, the dress had, unsurprisingly, been well received by many brides-to-be as soon as it appeared on the website on the morning of April 30.

"We have had twenty or so enquiries a day about the dress," said Chen.

"No deals have been made yet, but considering the overwhelming response, it will sell like hotcakes," she added.

Some women said they were even considering giving up "the plain dress" that they had already ordered if this one would be available for their wedding day.

Chen said it usually takes four to five weeks to make a tailored gown. Customers only need to provide their body size and can have a tailor-made piece, or even a personalized one, if they want any changes made to the dress, such as a deeper V-neck or shorter train.

For people in a hurry, a copycat dress can even be made overnight, although not to the same standard.

"It's not a difficult dress to copy. All the materials needed are available here, and the design is not complicated," said Chen, who also runs a physical shop with her sister in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.

Chen, of course, is not the only one to get in on the act.

According to Chen, there are at least five stores going into overdrive to provide the dress in Suzhou, known in China as the Wedding Dress City, and home to more than 1,200 factories specializing in wedding gowns.

"Everyone is eying the latest trend to win a place in this competitive market," she said.

According to Sky News Asia, the Muyi Wedding Dress Company located in Suzhou is selling its take on the creation, which it copied within hours of the ceremony, for just $333.

A picture accompanying the report even shows a Chinese bride wearing the look-alike dress one day after the royal wedding. Zhao Tingting was the first Chinese bride to wear the dress, just 36 hours after the royal nuptials. Her groom, Wang Jiawang, donned a rough approximation of the uniform worn by Prince William.

Chen, who has replicated around 800 items, including Chinese traditional costumes from popular TV series, wedding gowns worn by celebrities and works of famous fashion designers, admitted that she was ignorant of the copyright rules she might be breaking.

But Wang Qian, professor from Intellectual Property College of East China University of Political Science and Law, attested to the legitimacy of the dresses.

"Clothing design is not protected by the intellectual property rights rules in China," said Wang.

"As long as the replica is not sold to countries like France, where there are strict rules about it, the producers are safe," he added.

readers' comments
Taking this with strive? Hahahaha
Posted by mystrawberry on Wed, 4 May 2011 at 12:05 PM

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