Charlotte Ronson Chats With Us About Copycat Designs & Best Friends

The CFDA and eBay have once again teamed up to take a stand against counterfeit goods. Last night we feted the latest You Can’t Fake Fashion collection, and we took some time to chat with Charlotte Ronson about copycat designs, diffusion lines, and best friends.

This time around, the CFDA asked more than 75 designers to customize canvas totes for the campaign. The $200 one-of-a-kind bags will go on sale at 11 a.m. EST on the eBay Fashion Vault; four standard totes will also be available for $45. All proceeds will benefit the CFDA Foundation.

Ronson is enjoying her first year as a CFDA member, and her leather-trimmed bag is one of our favorites from the collection. What does she think about fakers? Read on.

What’s been your experience with people copying your designs?

We’re in the world of fashion. It’s always hard to tell or prove something like that. You can’t really patent a design, which can be frustrating, I think. I have friends that have been frustrated with someone thinking they kind of got knocked off. You lend someone a sample, or even sending certain samples to stores and they don’t necessarily pick you up. You just never know. To an extent you can take it as a compliment, because sometimes there isn’t much you can do, but I think it’s amazing that CFDA and eBay have joined forces. eBay is such a great, amazing place, but you don’t always know if something’s authentic. It’s so nice that they’re really getting behind it to fight and raise awareness to show they’re not going to put up with it and be a vehicle for counterfeit goods. I think it’s a strong statement, and I think it’s necessary.

Totally. It seems like we write about counterfeit and knockoff cases nearly every day. Today was Snooki and Alexander McQueen.

Right, you can’t compare the two, but it’s like have a little grace with how you do it. We’re all inspired by something or someone or some piece. Obviously it’s very hard to reinvent the wheel, or reinvent something every single time, but it’s so important for it to be your own. It’s so important to have your own identity and to have your own style and to really push forth because what’s the point otherwise?

And as someone who has a diffusion line — I Heart Ronson for JCPenny — can you speak to the importance of accessible fashion?

I think it’s nice to be able to design an affordable product, which doesn’t mean the quality is less or anything. JCPenny has over 1000 stores, like half the world shops there. Who doesn’t want to be that accessible to people? That’s, in some ways, where the market is. Yes, we’d like to be able to have enough money to buy everything we want. But sometimes you just want to buy something that you can wear, and you don’t want to have to think so much about what you’re spending. You feel good about what you’re getting for what you’re spending. I think it’s been great to really learn about the customer, to learn about a much wider range of customer, as well as fabrics and sizes. It has to appeal to a much broader audience. For JCPenny, because they have their own stores, I’m able to design a little bit later into the season so that then you have a better idea about what you like. They really understand their customer. It’s a delight to work with them.

By the way, we love that the products in your cosmetics line are named after your friends and family.

They’re inspiring ones, right? We’re lucky enough to know so many wonderful women that work really hard and that are successful and that are beautiful, too.

Do you bounce your ideas off them when you design? Do they come over and see what you’re working on?

I wish! I wish I could have my sister and all my friends come over. But spending time with friends, you’re always inspired. You’re like, ‘What’s that?’ or learning about new products or new formulas and new styles or looks. A certain something that you see, you’re like, ‘That would be perfect.’ You learn from your friends, but you’re also able to design for them.


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