The brand I.Am.Gia The Label first entered my stream of consciousness towards the end of last summer when they did a huge rollout of product to various influencers and models who all have followings on social media. Quickly, it became impossible to ignore the brand. The beige teddy bear coat? Check. The branded tracksuits? Check. The oversized, worker style pants with all the pockets? Check. If Bella Hadid wore it, it was probably from this brand. Soon afterwards, I found myself browsing on their website. Sure, the stuff was cute, but it was pricey. Most items were priced upward of $150, yet I had watched reviews online from YouTubers who had been sent things for free who said the quality was not great but the items were still cute. I became skeptical. Yes, the pieces were so pretty and I wanted to buy almost the entire site (minus the hugely baggy pants because I do not like that look at all) but could I justify spending that much money on something where the quality is subpar?
I first made a note about this on my iPhone back in October where I said the brand made me feel stupid for wanting to buy anything from there when girls with 10,000 followers were getting it all for free. Why should I have to spend my money on something that other people are getting for nothing? I think it was a case of influencer marketing gone wrong. When you send out too much free product, it makes real customers feel like they have been used. It definitely put me off from purchasing anything. Revolve is facing a similar issue with the backlash to the #revolvearoundtheworld scheme, where influencers get sent on wildly extravagant trips for free, kitted out entirely in Revolve apparel whilst the company lays off workers who they “can’t afford” to pay. I don’t know how the company works out their marketing budget / the entire financial situation of the company, but from a PR perspective it doesn’t look great. Furthermore, they have also received criticism for lack of diversity.
Lack of diversity isn’t the issue faced by I.Am.Gia, instead it is claims of copying as highlighted by industry watchdog Diet Prada. At first, I wasn’t sure what the backstory was to the brand as it seemed to pop up out of nowhere last summer, but after doing some digging around online I found out the following: I.Am.Gia is an Australian brand started by Alana Pallister and her sister Stevie Cox, the duo behind Tigermist (interestingly enough, both sisters made their IG accounts private after the Diet Prada exposé). The inspiration for the line came from Gia Carangi, hence the name, and the line began production in May 2017. The first big break came when Elizabeth Sulcer, stylist to Bella Hadid and Romee Strijd (amongst many others) requested pieces for Bella to wear to Paris Fashion Week. As they say, the rest is history.
Australian fashion has been having a bit of a “moment” in recent years, due to the rise of social media making the other side of the world seem just a little bit closer. The Aussie look, basically dressing for summer and very casually year round, migrated to the US through the rise of influencers who never seem to dress weather appropriate (at least for their audience) as they are always jetting off on trips to warm locales. Big name stylists like Christine Centenera work with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian regularly, plus Zimmerman and Dion Lee are permanent fixtures in stores stateside.
Celeb exposure can be game-changing for small brands, but the downside (given your clothes land on the right girls) is that they make you extremely vulnerable to knockoffs. A favorite of Kendall and Bella, @daisydaisy.tv is another indie label whose designs/aesthetic have been copied by the shameless sisters behind @tigermist and @i.am.gia.thelabel . Made locally in Sydney, every Daisy collection is designed, styled, and shot by a wife/husband duo themselves. And…as if it wasn't enough to downgrade their creations into a cheap, pervasive import business, they've also been known to poach their loyal instagram following by seeding those very knockoffs. Support independent brands when you can, Dieters! #daisydaisytv #daisydaisy #heavenlybodies #australia #dpaustralia #instathot #white #lace #copycat #knockoff #iamgia #tigermist #bellahadid #kendalljenner #nicolapeltz #petracollins #selenagomez #madeinsydney #ocexclusive #openingceremony #australiandesigner #sydney #husbandandwife #copycat #knockoff #dietprada
Dialling back to the copying accusations, Diet Prada alleges that I.Am.Gia copied another Aussie label DaisyDaisy. Judging by the side by side images, plus the fact that the Gia team made their accounts private, I’d say that the claims are indeed true. As you can see from the above images, I.Am.Gia copied the entire photoshoots even and tried to poach models (as demonstrated by the DM). I’d love to know who the model was in that conversation. The DaisyDaisy brand is made locally in Sydney by a husband and wife duo and retails for a slightly higher price point than IAG. The quality is reportedly a lot higher, reflecting the price point, and the designs are a little more original. Some people argued that the DaisyDaisy desigs were Victorian-inspired and that they can’t cry copying because their own designs aren’t entirely original, but the difference between what they have done and what IAG does is that one brand takes inspiration whereas the other one makes imitations. Can you tell the difference?
I will be interested to see where things go in the future. I.Am.Gia undoubtedly receives a lot more press coverage than DaisyDaisy, which, up until this point, has been glowing. They’ve received shoutouts on Vogue and other major channels, mainly due to the sheer number of influencers and celebrity models who have been spotted in their clothing. Interestingly enough, a lot of fashion people follow Diet Prada and likely will have seen this post. If everyone is so against copying, I wonder if they will stay true to their values and leave this brand behind (until they come up with something more original) or will they continue to wear things that they are being sent for free / potentially compensated to wear? Only time will tell.