Frequently Asked Questions
- What counts as a ‘fake’ corset?
My personal definition, for the purposes of this blog is this:
“A corset is a 'fake’ if it mimics the original just closely enough so that it can, or could potentially be, sold to inexperienced corset buyers using the original design’s product photos.”
Disclaimer: I don’t claim that every comparison I post is evidence of true design theft. Sometimes I intend only to show significant similarities between expensive and cheap products that have caught my attention.
- Which corsets get copied the most?
As far as I’m aware from trawling through online retailers, these few top the charts:
Maya Hansen’s red brocade suspender corset
Maya Hansen and Morgana’s waist detail corset (often in red)
Miss Katie’s red and cream corset (and similar blue corset)
Fairy Goth Mother’s cream brocade corset with white lace
Red ribbon lattice corset by Alice Corsets
You’ll notice that a lot of commonly-faked corsets are in shades of red.
- I suspect that the corset I’m looking at is a fake. How can I tell?
Please take a look at my post on how to spot a fake corset.
- What should I do if I find a fake corset?
The article I linked in the answer above gives more detailed suggestions. To summarise: 1. Don’t buy it. 2. If you’ve bought it, don’t tightlace with it. 3. Tell the seller that you’re not happy about the fact that they sell stolen designs. It’s super important that you let them know they’re using stolen photographs.
- How much does the design have to differ before it stops being a 'fake’?
A tricky one. Firstly, it’s important to remember that many perfectly talented and reputable corset sellers will have one or two designs which are very similar to those found in other, equally reputable corset stores. For example, many corset makers sell a ribbon lattice corset, a blue and white sailor corset, or a plain brocade design. A corset designer worth their salt will know that it’s all right to be 'inspired’ by popular trends, but will always try to make their particular offering original and distinctive in some way. In any case, no deception of any sort is happening.
I’m often stuck with the tricky situation of having to assess a piece of cheap lingerie which is obviously a rip-off of a more expensive corset design, but with the colour palette changed around a bit. The Maya Hansen brocade corset frequently gets faked in different colours, but I feel confident in calling them out because I’ve found cases of this stolen photo being recoloured pink, purple and green in order to sell them.
- What’s the problem with fakes, anyway?
Genuine corset makers work very hard to design and produce corsets which are both highly decorative and reliably functional. When one of their designs is copied, their hard work is being misused in order to make money for others.
When the designers’ pictures are stolen, a whole new set of problems arises. Obviously, we have the issue of copyright theft, but it’s also misleading to sell products using pictures of a completely different item of superior quality.
Owners of independent corset brands often talk about their worry that inexperienced customers will see their products and photos in several cheap lingerie stores, and assume the genuine website is no different. They also worry these customers will come to assume that there’s no reason to spend £300 on a corset when you can buy “the same thing” for £30.
Perhaps most obviously - fake corsets are of poor quality. They tend to use plastic boning, or a small number of very thin spiral bones. They are often advertised as “tightlacing” or even “training” corsets, or sold with a misleadingly curvy photo.
This, as I have unfortunately seen myself, leads to buyers trying to cinch or train in inadequate corsets, causing dangerously warped boning, inappropriate pressure on the body, and a corset that falls apart in a matter of days. As many other corset bloggers have noted, this leads to a continuation of unhelpful myths about corsets - that they are painful and dangerous - and contributes to corsets and their wearers being stigmatised.
- One of my pictures got reblogged here. What the…?
Sorry to break it to you that your corset was a copy. I’d like to make it clear that I don’t want to blame individuals for having bought a fake corset - it can happen to anyone, and no corset fan can be expected to search the internet looking for every possible corset rip-off (that’s MY job!).
The blame lies squarely with manufacturers who steal designs, and with distributers and retailers who do not carry out adequate research - not with the buyer. I’m not calling you a thief, and I’m not claiming that your photo looks horrible.
You can do what you like with something you’ve bought, and I wouldn’t expect anyone to bin something they’ve spent money on, but I encourage you to modify your fakes, and to consider trying to avoid retailers who sell copies.
If there is a picture of you that has been reblogged by Corset Fakery and you’re unhappy about it being there, I will take it down if you ask. Please don’t throw spurious legal language at me.
- Where can I go to get a decent corset?
Glad you asked! I’ve made a list of corset makers that I know to be trustworthy. I try to update it now and again.
- What is your experience with corsets?
I don’t waist train, although I do have a rather nice collection of tightlacing corsets. My favourite is my custom black underbust by Orchid Corsetry.
I do a lot, and I mean a LOT, of online “window-shopping” for corsets. That’s how I came to be familiar with all the most common fakes. Heck, I even got suckered into buying one, once.
- Are you really going to open a store?
It’s a dream of mine to open a corset boutique in the city where I live. I’d love to be able to sell a mix of all the ready-to-wear corset brands that I’ve found to be excellent (Orchard, Axfords, etc.), along with a range of pieces by local, independent corset makers.
There’s only one store in Norwich that sells steel corsets - they only have a tiny range, and mix them up with plastic bustiers, as well as actual fakeries. It’s my ambition to bring quality corsetry to the people who love it. My city has a thriving alternative scene, so I’m hoping that, one day, I can make this happen for real.
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As always, thank you so much for following Corset Fakery. This is a subject that means a lot to me, and it makes me happy when others join in the fun.