Style: Shops make off with the booty: Pricey designer footwear is having to compete with cheap high street copies, says Tamsin Blanchard

Cult shoes are vulnerable to copying. The Gucci loafer, for instance, was adapted by everyone, from Hobbs to Marks & Spencer. So, last summer, was the Gucci clog - and, in that case, the real thing was not as well made as the street versions (there were reports of heels breaking on the pounds 115 Gucci originals).

The Patrick Cox Diffusion line Wannabe loafer (pounds 95 for the mock-croc style in our picture below) has suffered the same fate.

Blatant copies, with their square toes and crepe soles, are everywhere. Cable & Co's is pounds 55, the Next version is pounds 36.99 and the ones at Ravel and Office are about pounds 49.99.

'Shop assistants are actually using the fact that they are copies of Wannabes as a selling point,' says Niahala Lashari of Patrick Cox.

Yet, at Office in Covent Garden, I was told tersely that the pair I was looking at were 'not Patrick Cox style' loafers.

I thought this strange since, when Wannabes first came out, both the originals and the copies were made by the same Italian factory. No wonder it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between the real thing and its cheaper imitations.

Just around the corner from Office is the highly selective Jones. As well as selling the Patrick Cox Wannabes, Jones offers footwear by the cutting-edge Belgian shoe and clothing designer, Dirk Bikkembergs.

This range is quite special and lacks the Wannabes' mass appeal. The shoes and boots, made for men and women, are of fine quality, worn-looking leather. They have a leather sole, and a chunky 1 1/2 in heel with a hole drilled through it.

The idea is ingeniously simple: a long leather lace wraps around the upper and threads through the hole, so that the foot is held securely.

The wistful shopper stops and holds the boot, longing to buy it. But even if she were the most die-hard fashion victim, she would still find the pounds 175 price tag beyond her. She is still thinking about that boot as she passes Bertie on Long Acre. Glancing in the window, she stops and stares - for there, in the front of the display, is a leather boot with a chunky sole and a heel with a hole drilled through it. The laces are wrapped around the boots and tied at the top.

The price? A more affordable pounds 85.

There are differences in quality: the Bikkembergs boot is cut more generously and leaves the Bertie boot, with its smaller lace hole and general skimping, in the shade - but the general idea is the same.

'They are copied all over the world,' says a spokesperson for Bikkembergs. 'I think there are more copies than originals.' Unlike Patrick Cox, however, Bikkembergs is trying to stop the copying by taking out a patent for its design. But it is a long and expensive process.

Those who wear real Patrick Coxes or real Bikkembergs would not even spit on a copy. For them, only the genuine article will do. As Naomi Smith, a fashion stylist says: 'People who know, know. It's just as bad as having a fake Chanel handbag. And the quality is never as good.'

Patrick Cox Wannabes, from pounds 85, available at: Patrick Cox, 8 Symons Street, SW3; Duffer of St George, Short's Gardens, WC2; Wade Smith, Mathew Street, Liverpool. Dirk Bikkembergs boots at Jones, 15 and 35 Floral Street, WC2. Cox 'copies' at Office, 60 Neal Street, WC2, and branches. Bikkembergs 'copies' at Bertie, 36 South Molton Street, W1, and branches; inquiries, 071-935 2002.

(Photographs omitted)

News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

    £15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

    Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

    £18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links