The burgeonings of the “Kate Effect” could arguably be pinned down to one specific date: 16 November 2010. Since this day (and since that deep sapphire blue Issa dress), women all over the world have been responsible for the rapid depletion of fashion inventory donned by the Duchess. Replikaters love collecting and wearing the designs of their favorite royal style icon.
In the midst of booming business, rising sales and many overflowing closets, the Kate effect has garnered quite a bit of criticism and derision. Some people feel that we are wasting our time attempting to emulate Kate’s style when there are more important issues in the world, and that replikating is a silly, wasteful hobby.
I oppose their stance, and here is why: there are many positive things to note and admire about replikating. It harms no one (unless one is unwisely accumulating credit card debt to pay for replikates), it is exciting to dress like a royal, and it gives us a positive fashion role model to take style cues from.
I will list further reasons as to why the critics are wrong.
- Everyone needs inspiration sometime: Many women are stuck in a fashion rut, or don’t know how they can change their style. I personally experience this problem frequently. Becoming a replikater has encouraged me to try out new things I would have never thought to try if I hadn’t been following Kate’s evolving style. Her fashion journey has positively influenced my own fashion journey. I never even wore scarves or sunglasses until I started replikating. I owe these wardrobe additions to Kate’s influence.
- It allows women to bond: I have met so many kind, generous, amiable people since joining the replikate community. It truly feels like a warm and loving community to me. It is amazing to see women supporting each other and working together as friends and sisters. On a personal note: as a teenager, my family didn’t have the money to buy the beautiful clothes I longed to wear. My strict parents also didn’t allow me to hang out with my friends or have friends over, so I could not have the female bonding experience I craved. As a replikater, I feel like I finally have the chance to gush over clothes and accessories with other women, an experience I was denied as a teenager.
- It lets us discover new brands: There are many British and non-British brands I never heard of until I saw them on Kate. Replikating has opened up the gates for me, exposing me to brands like LK Bennett, Reiss, Whistles, and a slew of other designers. In addition, it allows us to support lesser known designers. Her use of high street pieces means I can wear Azuni, Shelley Silversmith and Mirabelle.
- It is a healthy hobby: Replikating is a positive and happy hobby for me. I suffer from depression, PTSD and social anxiety disorder. My happier moments are spent scrolling through social media sites looking at my friends’ latest purchases, buying replikates from those who no longer want them, and seeing the multitude of clever and innovative ways my fellow replikaters mix and match their replikates. When my work day has been brutal and overtaxing, coming home and returning to the community is what makes my evening so much brighter.
- Kate is a positive, conservative style role model for many of us: While the styles of Beyonce and Rihanna are gorgeous and breathtaking, they are not practical for the average woman. Most of us require more demure, modest outfits for work and our daily lives. Kate fills this fashion void. She wears pristine and elegant garments, clothing we can see ourselves wearing. We often look to celebrities for new fashion trends and ideas. Kate is a public figure, but she’s a more relatable public figure. She is the famous woman we can attainably dress like.
Of all the things in the world one can grouse about, replikating should not be one of them. There are far worse things people can do with their time, and more important things people can object about. A fashion hobby that brings others so much joy and community building should be the least of anyone’s annoyances.