Designer Inspired: Cult Gaia & Chloé
I am of two minds regarding dupes. On one hand, they can be excellent and affordable options of a much-loved design when the designer version is simply not in the budget. On the other hand, an item that is directly duplicated is a counterfeit issue – the original artist doesn't make any money from it, even though it was their design. Counterfeits and dupes are not the same thing (counterfeits aim to look identical to the original, including the brand name), whereas dupes and inspired versions have their own take on details, materials, and the brand itself is altogether different.
Bottom line: I don't want anyone to feel left out. If you love a certain design or style, then you ought to be able to partake in it. Whether you purchase designer or designer-inspired, there is a price point and level of quality for everyone at any stage of life. However you feel about it, I'm doing this for my readers who love beautiful design but can't or don't want to procure one with a hefty price tag.
Cult Gaia Ark Bag
Cult Gaia is not the first to design these beautiful bamboo bags, though they have certainly done a beautiful job of it. The brand's signature bag was inspired by the original designs from post-war 1940s Japan. I own the Miuco Bamboo Handbag (~$45), which is a quality, handmade bamboo bag nearly identical to the original Japanese basket after which the Cult Gaia Ark is modeled.
Cult Gaia Lilleth Bag
Originally a Japanese picnic basket from the 1940s-1960s, you can find many similar designs to the Lilleth/post-war Japanese basket that are either vintage or new. I love the acrylic versions too.
Chloé Nile Bracelet Bag
The Chloé Nile is a beautifully designed, on-trend bag with dozens of designer-inspired options for those who just want to spend a fraction of the original's $1690 price tag. I purchased my Chloé Nile in the small size during a mid-season designer sale for about 50% off the retail price. See if you can score a similar deal during big end-of-season sales, or check out the following options in order of ascending price.
ASOS Melie Bianco Vegan Hoop Cross Body Bag, Black, $38
Theory Whitney Bag, $315 - $455 (roughly 70-80% less than the Chloé Nile, yet a high quality, contemporary designer piece)
Chloé Faye Backpack
One of the cutest backpacks I ever did see – classically feminine with an edge. I purchased the rosy pink quilted version and the off-white leather and suede, both for 30%+ off the retail price during a Farfetch sale. I prefer the Chloé Faye Backpack over any inspired versions because the colorways and hardware are so beautiful and well-made (though the leather and suede are on the delicate side and would not survive daily use). Regardless, here are some similarly-designed options I found for you:
Yoome Casual Retro Circular Ring Chain Bag, $30 - $67