In 2015, the swimsuit style of the summer was Triangl’s colorblocked bikinis. The neoprene two-pieces, which proved to be highly photogenic, could be seen on Nina Dobrev, Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Kendall Jenner and more influencers. But at $178 for a set, shoppers sought cheaper alternatives to looking like their favorite stars. Last year, Victoria’s Secret was fast to fill in the market gap — but was also quick to be condemned for such a blatant reproduction. And yet, despite the widespread criticism, Target still soldiered on and has introduced their own Triangl knockoff.
From Target’s Xhilaration line, the Women’s Bandeau Push Up Bikini Topis selling for $17.99 (D/DD for $19.99) while the matching string bottom goes for $14.99. Unlike its neoprene originator, Target’s inexpensive version is made of 82 percent Nylon and 18 percent Spandex. Victoria’s Secret’s adaptation was available at about $65.
Founded in 2012, Triangl has become a major success in just a few short years. A majority of this prosperity can be credited to the fact that the Australia-based brand has a strong social media presence. On Instagram, where the ROYGBV bathing suits are pictured on Pretty Young Things visiting beautiful beaches, the company has 2.9 million followers. It’s these fans who rabidly defended the small business to its corporate competitor, garnering positive media attention in the face of a controversy.
While this army of admirers could help the first time around, there seems to be little they can do now that it’s not just Victoria’s Secret but Target, Topshop, Etsy, Amazon, ASOS, and more following suit (pun not intended). For startup companies with little cash-flow, social shaming seems to be the next best thing to a lawsuit, especially considering the law is murky. According to The Fashion Law, a blog on the intersection of fashion and law, protection is extended to original works fixed in a tangible medium, but does not protect against a garment in its entirety.
This idea of social shaming hasn’t stopped consumers from seeking alternatives to Triangl though. In fact, shoppers are ecstatic that they can get a less expensive version of the trendy style at their local super store.
So while the practice of knocking off might be detrimental for the maker, it certainly has its perks for the consumer.