How to know if a designer costume is genuine?

Amulya

Moderator
I saw this posted elsewhere, but it was about just one brand. I think it's interesting to discuss about multiple brands.
For example you see a costume on EBay that is being claimed to be a Bella/Abla/Sim Moda etc, but how do you know if it's genuine?

I can only speak for Bella's as I have never owned any other brand name. I have a weak spot for Bella's!
The beadwork and design of a Bella is very typical, different from other Turkish costumes. Some examples on this page There is a lot more work done on the skirts and there are lots of accessories which also have lots of work done on them as opposed to a non brand costume. The cheaper Bella's are harder to recognise as they are quite the same as regular Turkish costumes. But the high end range is easy to spot. I don't think Bella gets copied much but I heard that some Egyptian brands get copied and even their label gets copied and put in the fake costumes.

I will have to take a picture of the Bella label, I'll post it here later.

Any ideas on how to know other brands are genuine, besides buying from a reputable seller.
 

gisela

Super Moderator
Recently I've seen many fake Bellas around the internet. Can't remember where now. The lines of beads and sequins were all squiggly and the finish was not quite Bella-like. It looked a bit like a bella had been squashed in a small box, eaten around the edges by moths and then taken up again without being ironed.
 

Amulya

Moderator
LOL! Love the description! We better watch out for those!

Here some more samples of real Bella's:

The older style from the 90s:
Photo 4 of 52 from Costume Collection

Close up detail of modern Bellas' beadwork:
http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc64/amulyadance/2-1.jpg

Beading on a skirt, very specific and very neatly done around the edging:
http://i212.photobucket.com/albums/cc64/amulyadance/5-1.jpg

What I heard about Abla costumes:
'sequin edging on the inside of sleeves, not only on the outside, detailing that was well-sewn, lush, and yet not overdone' 'a fake one is too lightweight and the fringe has some rough spots' and someone else mentioned they are build 'like a tank', build to last, the same counts for a Bella, the blue one I posted I have had for 18 years and still fresh! Only thing I had to do is re-line and re-wire it as the lining was all gone and the wire broken and rusty!

With quality it can be hard to spot when buying second hand from EBay or elsewhere, so it might be better to buy from forums, and not from members so who just joined but long term members or people who post a lot at least (they probably don't want to get a. Bad name on a forum and sell crappy thing)
 
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AndreaSTL

New member
You have to look at the quality of workmanship and the finishing details. As already noted, the sequins and beading should be neat and flat. Fringe should hang in straight rows and be spaced evenly. Designs will flow over zippers and seams, and they are proportioned well. Lycra fabric will be hemmed, not just cut off. Threads on the wrong side will be knotted and trimmed. In general, I would stay away from a seller who offers to re-create a pictured costume that you already know is from a high-end designer. If they are showing photos of a Bella and offering to make a copy for you, don't expect what you get to look like and have the quality of the original. Heck, I could put up a picture of Rembrandt's work and offer to make you one, but it sure won't look like the original!

Some designers use tags, but this is inconsistent. Since English isn't their first language there are sometimes misspellings on the labels. Normally this would be a dead giveaway that it was a knock off, but not in this case. I have been at a designer and seen two different labels, so you can't even say that Designer A's label should always look a certain way or it's fake. I can purchase multiple costumes from one designer and not all of them will have labels, so the lack of one doesn't necessarily mean the costume is a copy.

The bottom line is, as always, buyer beware. If someone is offering a custom Bella/Pharonics/Eman etc. at a low price it's just too good to be true. The only way to know for sure is to buy from the designer or a reputable vendor. Of course, you'll have to pay for that. ;)
 

gisela

Super Moderator
Then there is the fact that the higher end designers get inspired by each other as well. There are pharaonixes and hoda zakis that are very similar f ex.
 

shiradotnet

New member
I can only speak for Bella's as I have never owned any other brand name. There is a lot more work done on the skirts and there are lots of accessories which also have lots of work done on them as opposed to a non brand costume.
I own 2 authentic Bellas (custom-ordered from Bella herself when I was in Istanbul in 2008). On both, the skirts are very simple, and I paid high-end prices for both. I was actually very disappointed when they arrived. The bra, belt, and accessories were gorgeous, but I had expected the skirts to be more elaborate. Instead, they were just simple fabric without any decoration.
 

Amulya

Moderator
That's disappointing :( they can be very beautiful with sequinned trims like mine. But my old teacher had issues with them too, she would go to Instanbul and get skirts laid aside for her so she would go to the ATM and when she got back an hour later they had sold her skirts and swapped them around for different ones with different trims! I had the same issue with the store in Belgium once. But I ordered a custom made Bella from recently and all was perfect, only the bra was massive, not the sizes I have them. I'm still thinking if I get a new one made and sell this one. Not sure.

Btw the straps are so painful! They are beautiful but thin and scratchy (sequins and beads somehow touch the skin) Maybe if I order a new one I should get different straps. Any tips?
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
:confused: Maybe I shouldn't ask this, but I'm going to. Suppose I do work in restaurants some day, or some similar venue (which probably won't happen because the restaurant stories I've heard here have frightened me). As long as my costume is clean, nice, in good repair, is flattering on me, appropriate for whatever style I'm doing, appropriate to the venue, and doesn't look like I pieced a "costume" from odds and ends out of my closet, does it REALLY matter if it's a Bella or whatever designer brand that's popular? Would potential employers/other dancers judge me if I'm not wearing a high-end costume? :confused: I'm not asking this to be difficult; I understand designers work very hard to create quality costumes. I just wonder how judgmental is the bellydance business.

Sorry for veering off-topic. :confused:
 

Amulya

Moderator
It doesn't matter at all if its designer as long as it is beautiful :) I never ever had requests to wear a designer costume, most of mine are made by me or were non designer ones. I own two Bella's, never owned any other designer brand (because I'm super picky and they are not my style)

Reason why people might want designer ones is because they can't sew and they want super quality costumes that last many years. But some designers follow trends and those costumes will go out of fashion quickly so I don't see the use of buying one like that. Bella is more consistent in their style, they style doesn't go out of fashion, that's one of the reasons why I like that brand.
Other dancers might just like to follow fashion and own a costume shortly and sell it.
 
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Shanazel

Super Moderator
Some people will judge you for wearing Levis instead of Wranglers. :rolleyes:

I doubt anyone has refused to hire Elen because she isn't wearing Bella. If someone asks to see the tag on the inside of your costume you probably don't want to work for/with them anyway.
 

Farasha Hanem

New member
Thank you, ladies, I was just wondering. I don't have anything against designer costumes at all, I was just a bit worried, but as Shan said, some people are going to be judgmental.
 

Amulya

Moderator
I never have come across someone being judgemental about what costumes I wear. Maybe it's a new thing amongst dancers?
 

Roshanna

New member
I suppose dancers might be judgemental if your costume is particularly unfashionable (fringed epaulettes, anyone?) and not gorgeous enough on you to make up for it, or obviously cheap & tacky. But actual clients seem totally indifferent most of the time. Most dancers in the UK wear modern Egyptian-style costuming, but one of my friends has a much more vintage/american look (floofy chiffon skirts or harem pants with bedleh, or more classic style 2-pieces, but no dina-bras or minimalist modern designs) and it doesn't seem to hurt her professionally at all.

I do mostly wear designer stuff, but that's because a) I can't sew well, and have no free time, and b) if I *must* have a full time day job, I can at least spend the surplus money on something good!
 

Amulya

Moderator
No, general audience can't see the difference, they seem to like everything, even some very questionable costumes sometimes. I have heard people give compliments on tourist costumes. Only Arabic and Turkish audience would know better, but they wouldn't care if it's designer as long as it's beautiful. I have never heard of a dancer being requested to wear a certain brand by Arab or Turkish customers.

Hahaha, I'm picturing costumes with epaulettes! So 90's! There were some hideous things out there back then!

Btw Turkish costumes seem not to be much in use here either, it's all the Egyptian bra/skirt sets here. I'm glad mine are different. I don't like to be the same as everybody else.
 

AndreaSTL

New member
Farasha, I wouldn't worry about the costume/restaurant owner issue. Occasionally there will be an Arab owner who will know the costume trends and will want you to wear only the latest, but I think these are relatively rare. Most instead will want to make sure the costume fits and looks nice. They do want you coming out in more than a street bra and a coin belt, though. A lot of dancers don't want to wear designer duds in restaurants anyway because they can get stained or absorb odors. Instead they save them for parties and weddings.

If you have the money and inclination to buy from a high-end designer then go for it, but don't feel bad if you can't. It's the same as civilian street wear. It's great if you can afford Chanel, but you don't have to be embarrassed if you're wearing a department store label. I would rather see a great dancer in an older costume (gotta say I love the retro epaulets even though I'm in the minority here) than a bad dancer in designer wear.
 

Jane

New member
Yup. Pretty much what everyone else has been saying. Unless you have a Middle Eastern or audience of your peers, they won't know if you aren't wearing the latest style or not. I have owned very few big name costumes because they aren't good for day to day work with the general public. Big name super expensive costumes are great for special venues in a controlled environment where the audience will know what they are looking at. Let the costume fit the job you want it to do. I've never owned a Bella and no one has kicked me off a stage yet :lol:
 
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