How to Spot Knockoff Show Clothing

Q:  Hi, Wendy.  Last month, you helped readers with tips for buying online. How do I also recognize knockoff Show Clothing or a misrepresented design?

You’ve read the horror stories and you’ve heard them: accounts of exhibitors who have been the victims of online fraud or misrepresentation when buying clothes online.  The stories range from shoppers receiving clothes that look nothing like the sale photos, to clothes that come apart, to consumers who never receive a garment at all.

Your show clothes dreams should never be crushed by this type of experience, so read on for a few pieces of sage advice for avoiding the possibility of receiving a cheap knockoff, or receiving nothing at all.


What you see is often what you get, so take a close look at the piece of show clothing for sale.  Start with what is immediately apparent, such as the crystaling and bead work.  Glass and acrylic elements and beads will be used on a cheap knockoff rather than genuine crystals.  You can tell by the way they catch the light, and crystals simply have more depth than a less-expensive, lighter weight acrylic stone.  Spend some time zooming in on high-end pieces to see how the crystals appear.

Also, scrutinize the fabric, and ask questions if the description of the material is not listed.  Knockoffs are constructed of cheap, non-stretch cotton fabrics rather than more luxurious and dense Lycra blends.  You can see the way the fabric will lay poorly over the bust or curves of the body, whether on a mannequin or a person if it’s a cheaper fabric, so it will pay off to hop online and spend some time educating yourself on how a quality fabric should lay.  

Then step back and look at it overall:  designs that looks familiar are often heavily duplicated knockoffs because they’re easy to make and copy, 


If you’ve spent any time in the show industry, you’ve probably heard stories of embarrassing wardrobe mishaps, too, when clothes come apart in the show ring.

Fabric is only so tough and so is thread, and how you take care of what you show in (as well as its age) can make a huge difference in whether something tears or unravels, but those occurrences should be rare or at least due to something significant.

Poorly made show clothing, however, can not only come apart, but it will sit on your body incorrectly, and it just won’t look right or last. Nor will it have good resale value. It might look good in photos, but just seeing a pretty design is like judging a book from its cover.

Ask for close-up photos, and for images of the inside and the seams.  When the designs stop abruptly before the seam rather than being sewn into the seam, or don’t line up properly, that is indicative of poor workmanship. If the sewing is not intricate and looks like rough stitching, that’s also big red flag.  You should additionally beware if you see signs of fraying or unraveling on a very lightly used garment, or one that simply has been in a showroom.

Too Good to Be True

We hate to say it, but if the price is way too low, you’re probably paying for what you’ll get (or what you’ll not get at all).  

When someone posts a partial photo or a photo of show clothing that obviously would cost several thousands of dollars (probably a stolen photo) and it is listed for $250, you would most likely have a knock off, and while it may resemble the photo, if you get it at all, it won’t be what you’re expecting.  

It’s not that sellers of genuine designs aren’t motivated and ready to move that piece of clothing from last season.  Those situations do happen, but you have to do your  homework to know when it’s that kind of situation.

Reputable sellers, like Show Me Again, will do the above legwork for you, and all you have to do is benefit from our risk-free 7-day trial period for the best selection in preowned and new show clothing.  Show Me Again was voted “Best Show Clothing Consignment Store” multiple times by the readers of Show Horse Today, published by, for a reason!