Red carpet season has begun and manufacturers are cranking out their interpretations of celeb-inspired designer knock-offs for the mass market. Designers such as ABS, Casadei and Victor Costa, have recreated affordable look-a-likes for years at break-neck speeds. ABS has rushed deliveries to stores such as Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.

Celebs may pay between $10,000 and $15,000 for their one-of-a-kind form-fitted dress but consumers can get replicas at a fraction of the cost, typically between $200 and $700. These post-award show fashion look-a-likes usually come to stores within a week to eight weeks, but most importantly, they arrive just in time for the prom and wedding seasons.

Here are five tips to help you purchase a replica of an extravagant red carpet outfit.

  1. Patience And Prudence
    Prepare to wait and be resourceful. Sketches of the outfit sometimes occur as soon as the celebrity steps their foot on the carpet. The sketch is then taken to a computer and a pattern is developed. It then goes to a cutter and lastly, a sewer, who helps to keep the cost down by using cheaper materials.

  2. Do Your Homework
    Start scanning style sections in general and celebrity magazines to search for the gown you saw on the recent televised award show. (Saving money can be a chore, but these tricks put money in your pocket with no effort at all. Don't miss 5 Painless Ways To Save More Money.)

  3. Be An Early Bird
    If you don't think you can wait for the outfit to hit department or bridal stores and want to make sure you get first dibs, contact the store and find out if you can place an order.

  4. Hit The Web
    Some online stores specialize in recreating red carpet inspired fashions and may be able to provide the outfit to you sooner. Some examples are edressme.com and Lightinthebox.com.

  5. Go For Accessories
    You can find a celebrity-inspired handbags and accessories to complement the outfit. Bagborroworsteal.com allows provides rentals of designer handbags and accessories from its large collection of designers and styles.

Design Piracy
Designer knockoffs have become a multibillion dollar industry. Original designers haven't been too thrilled by celebrity-inspired copycats. In fact, some of the original designers have sought and backed legislation for a fashion copyright, such as the Design Piracy Prohibition Act, H.R. 2196 introduced last April. (Bad spending habits are not always obvious. What could you be doing to ensure that your money's going where it should? Check out Lose 10 Pounds Of Overspending.)

Creating new designs can be expensive, some fashion re-interpreters have stated, because it's a risk. A few have thought the fashion copyright could also stunt the industry's creative process. Original designers have argued new technology has improved the quality of the copied designs and made it easier for re-interpreters to produce the outfits before the original has even made it to market.

The Bottom Line
While its yet to be determined how the fashion industry will come to terms with designer knockoffs, high-priced celebrity gowns are being quickly reproduced as replicas for consumers on a budget. When purchasing the outfits still pay attention to the stitching, material and the color and keep quality a high-priority.

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