My World: Diet Prada

The Instagram account Diet Prada is growing rapidly. The anonymous duo behind it exposes the whos, wheres, hows, and whens of fashion déjà vu

Diet Prada is what you’d call an Instagram phenomenon. The account had 30,000 followers at the beginning of October, a figure that had already risen to 120,000 by the end of November. Some famous faces are also among the followers. Naomi Campbell is known to be a fan, as is ex-Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci. The minds behind Diet Prada are fashion experts who call out copycats. With an extensive knowledge of the last few decades (and what went down the catwalk), they uncover moments of fashion déjà vu and those designers getting a little too close when it comes to inspiration and homage. Thousands of people start following the account each week and a discussion breaks out with every post. But exactly who is behind Diet Prada remains unknown. The founders very deliberately want to remain anonymous. This much is certain: It’s a duo, they are based somewhere in the US, and they are equipped with an excellent knowledge of fashion history and fashion design, as well as a remarkable power of recollection.

Founded back in 2014 and originally just for fun, the two founders posted when something caught their eye that was clearly copied from (or a little too strongly inspired by) great designs of the last several years. It began with the idea to publicly compare what no one wants to talk about, or what had already been forgotten. Two eyes see a lot. Four eyes see even more, and in the meantime there are thousands of them – the bigger their following gets, the more people sending in their own observations and taking part in the discussion. Their revealing posts are a refreshing change in the fashion world, where everyone generally likes to be nice to each other – or, if they don’t like you, would rather stay quiet about it.

Journalists expect to be excluded from fashion shows or encounter other disadvantages if they express themselves – clear statements and criticism rarely happen. Diet Prada puts major labels and fashion designers, those whose task it is to create new designs (and not to copy them), under the microscope. Excluded from their eagle eyes’ scope of vision are companies like Zara and H&M, whose business model is based on imitating current collections.

In recent months, the duo has been asked repeatedly where the difference between taking inspiration and an actual copy lies. They offered this answer in an interview with The Cut: “We feel that to be an homage it needs to come from a place of love, and better if they credit the inspiration. Copies generally have a commercial air around them; you know they did that screen tee or puffy sleeve dress because they saw other brands having success with it and they want to cash in too.”

One reason for Diet Prada’s rapid rise over the last few months is probably its special connection to Gucci. The account discovered strong similarities between the resort collection and designs by legendary New York tailor Dapper Dan. Those who didn’t already know the account started to prick up their ears – including the label itself. Alessandro Michele showed his confidence and joined forces with Diet Prada. In short, he handed over the official Gucci account with its Instagram Stories to the critical duo during the SS18 show. “They invited us to analyze the collection and spot their references, and we are finding their transparency refreshing…this is the way to go!” commented Diet Prada.

Like Gucci, numerous other designers have experienced the Diet Prada treatment over the last few months. New York-based designer Vaquera needed especially strong nerves – parallels were repeatedly found, be it to designs by Chanel or Kenzo Homme and Yohji Yamamoto, both from 1993. J.W. Anderson was also distressed when a conspicuous resemblance between the legendary Hermès Torque Bag and his Pierce Bag was discovered. At the end of November, a new discussion arose about a bag (with Ecuadorian characteristics) by Spanish luxury house Loewe, for which J.W. Anderson is creative director. The suspense continues…

It is a positive development that Instagram accounts can act as serious supervisory bodies. This works so well because the medium is democratic and can give everyone a voice, independent of financial circumstances. These days, only very few media outlets can express such criticism of fashion houses and corporations out of fear of lost advertising business. Diet Prada is independent – today’s greatest luxury. What’s more, they have shown they understand how to use their voice and followers. Their sharp-tongued comments are also very entertaining, by the way. We’re curious to see what else will come.

Diet Prada isn’t just on Instagram (@diet_prada) – it also has its own website. Find it here.

Madeleine is a fashion journalist. For as long as she can remember she has been passionate about fashion and accessories, in particular cashmere sweaters and jewelry. After five years of working at Vogue Germany’s fashion department in Munich, she decided to encounter a new challenge and move to Berlin. Her role at hey woman! allows her to combine her passion for styling, creative directing and writing. Madeleine is also good at imitating a Swiss accent and trying to be a cook.

©Phillip Schlegel