With multiple brands sharing the same manufacturers, and custom design costs being too high for start-up brands, some of these instances feel unavoidable. Perhaps the main issue at stake is a lack of innovation. In a production cycle so fast that producers don’t have the time, or desire, to come up with original ideas, the problem goes beyond creative licensing.
As makeup artist Kevin James Bennett states: ‘The cosmetics industry has been overtaken by a disturbing phenomenon where innovation is replaced by imitation. It’s easier to copy the competition’s successes than risk launching an innovative new product that might not produce guaranteed sales.'
And while companies like Makeup Revolution and LA-based newcomer Bad Habit are building successful businesses on offering consumers product duplicates at lower price points, they have caught an equal amount of criticism from the companies they are inspired by. At present, however, trademark law only protects product design and packaging if it can be legally proven to be specific to a brand in the eyes of the consumer – think Louboutin's red heels and Tiffany & Co.'s blue boxes.
Further, as independent law and business culture blog the Fashion Law notes: 'Many consumers...are seemingly pleased with the diversity and accessibility of products that are similar to higher-priced products'.
As the myriad examples of copycat cosmetics highlight, there is a need for greater regulation around product development and branding in the beauty sector. But there is a silver lining: amidst the accusations of cloned products, there is a chance for beauty companies to stand up, stand out, and breathe new life into this oversaturated market.
For a insights into the major cultural shifts in Beauty and much more, download our 2019 Future Forecast now.