When an Instagram account called Diet Prada called out Gucci for possibly knocking off Harlem tailor and designer Dapper Dan in its 2018 resort collection, the Italian fashion brand headed by Alessandro Michele did two things: it went into business with Dapper Dan. Gucci also asked Diet Prada to take over the label’s Instagram Stories during its Spring 2018 fashion show. For close followers of the trials and perils of the fashion industry, Diet Prada says everything that glossy fashion magazines, at the beck and call of advertisers, cannot say.
Last week, the Financial Times interviewed the two American co-founders of Diet Prada, Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler. The duo, though both working in the fashion industry, have kept mum about their day jobs and would not confirm their professional identities to the newspaper. However, they did confirm to Stoppard that they were running Diet Prada.
“I think we validate a lot of what people are thinking, but don’t want to say,” the duo told Financial Times. “We’re definitely not the only ones to say ‘hey this looks crazy similar to this show from last season’. We just do it without a filter and I think people appreciate the honesty.”
The account was founded three years ago and since then grew to 198K followers and counting—including fashion insiders like Rihanna, Naomi Campbell, Kendall Jenner, and of course, brands like Gucci. Here are five reasons you should be following Diet Prada for a crash course in fashion you won’t receive from Vogue:
They applaud the fashion industry when it’s deserved
South Sudanese-British model Alek Wek landed the January 2018 cover of Vogue Ukraine. Wek is a former refugee who is credited to being the first successful fashion model with dark skin and sub-Saharan features. “If [Alek] had been on the cover of a magazine when I was growing up, I would have had a different concept of who I was,” Oprah Winfrey once said. Yet, as Diet Prada points out, this is the model’s first solo Vogue cover in over 20 years. “As the first major black model who did not conform to typical Eurocentric beauty standards, the three January 2018 covers [of the same issue] are a long overdue, but significant milestone,” the Instagram wrote. “Bravo!”
They help followers become more conscious shoppers
It’s not just luxury conglomerates and mass market merchandisers that knock off the original work of others. As pointed out by Diet Prada, Australian jewelry designer Amber Sceats has allegedly knocked off designs from both major houses like Céline and indie designers like Charlotte Chesnais. It’s not empty accusations—they keep the receipts, too: “[S]ome of whom have the literal receipts to prove the label is literally casting copies of their designs. Not to mention they’re almost all the same price..?”
They call out big brands who take advantage of smaller talents
Dapper Dan had a happy ending with Gucci, but not everyone does. Aspiring designer Terrence Zhou applied for an internship at fashion house Viktor & Rolf, whose parent company is the billion-dollar conglomerate OTB Group. (He was rejected.) Two months later at the Fall 2017 couture shows, Viktor & Rolf debuted lookalike dolls in similar puffer dresses. “To see this work show up at couture week so soon after is a nightmare for a young designer,” Diet Prada explained. “Is it coincidence or another case of a big designer preying on the talent of someone new, since it’s so often gotten away with?”
The beauty industry is not off the hook, either
Iconic makeup artist Pat McGrath launched her long-awaited makeup line in 2015, which was decadently sparkly, essentially consisting of a bag of high-end sequins, in line with the artist’s work. In 2017, lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret introduced very similar packaging in its popular beauty collection. “They’re still offering padded bras, airbrushing, and ill-advised “’tribal’ runway looks to a world of women who are increasingly questioning the status quo,” Diet Prada noted. “Hey VS – the way to win women back is DEFINITELY not by copying them.”