It's the boldest, hottest six-yard steal. You don't have to go hunting for a replica of Kareena's popular Chammak Challo sari in Chandni Chowk's dirty lanes anymore. Get online in India or abroad and order it from an online fashion store for as little as one-tenth its original price - yes, designer knock-offs have a new address now - the web.
These websites are selling exact copies of designer saris worn by popular actors in hit movies, complete with actors posing in the saris in pictures from these films. The ones perpetually 'sold out' are fakes of saris designed by the likes of Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi Mukherjee.
One of these portals, 99labels.com, is selling these rip-offs under the category 'Bollywood Calling' for as less as Rs 2,000. They have uploaded pictures of Katrina Kaif, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor wearing the designer originals of the fakes they are selling. Their marketing head Sarika Grover says, "These pictures were given to us by the vendors who make these designer copies. We're not the manufacturers, we source products from outside."
Other websites openly selling rip-offs, and calling them 'designer replicas' are loveforindian.com, fashionkafatka.com and sinoyacreations.com.
The copycat designs have left designers furious. "No website has ever connected with me regarding copyrights or obtaining permission. I'm planning to take strict action soon," says designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee. Designer Manish Malhotra says, "A fake product has no quality. There must be a monitoring body to curb such illegal activities."
Law advisors second his view. Legal consultant Rodney D Ryder says, "Using a designer's creation without permission is violation of copyright law. The fashion industry should make a monitoring body to address these issues."
But buyers aren't complaining. Shruti Singh, 25, says, "I'd never be able to afford an original so it's great to get these saris online."