Full disclosure: I own a bridal boutique. You may think this is why I started Knockoff Nightmares, to bring in more business for bridal stores, but that actually had nothing to do with it. You see, when brides buy cheap, they usually buy twice. In the end, I get their business anyway.
I started Knockoff Nightmares because I have had too many brides in tears walk through my doors. Usually, they have purchased online because their budget was tight. Now stuck because the knockoff site won’t take the dress back (or is only offering $30-$60 back for a refund) and they have even less money to find a replacement.
There are also the prom girls that come in the week before prom because their dress never even arrived and now they have to settle for whatever I have left on my racks.
We have dresses in our clearance section for as little as $79 for prom and $99 for wedding. Many stores do! It’s true, some stores have clearance sections right out of the 80’s and 90’s, but they are the minority. Most stores are like mine, too small to keep an abundance of dresses that we can no longer order, so we mark them way down (even below what we paid for them) to get them out the door before the designers send the next list of discontinued dresses.
Anyway, back to the knockoffs, in the beginning, my seamstress was trying to help brides that had decided to try their luck. One day, a plus sized bride brought in a dress that was supposed to be an A-Line, but it came in as a mermaid. The bride wanted my seamstress to let out the seams so it would be fuller. Unfortunately, it could only be let out 1” and made very little difference in the fit. The bride hated the dress, but could not afford anything else, so she ended up wearing a dress on her wedding that she wasn’t even comfortable in. That was when my seamstress said she would no longer work on these dresses as very rarely, could she do anything to salvage them and she never knew what issues could arise by opening the seams (once she found blood on an inside seam and spent hours trying to get it out for the bride.)
I decided it was time to start educating brides. A lot of these sites have fake testimonials and just because your friend/cousin/neighbor was happy with the outcome of her dress, doesn’t mean that the same seamstress will be making yours. Her dress may have been made by someone sewing for years, while yours was crafted by a person that just picked up a needle and thread for the first time in their life. Often times, they are made in rented storage areas, so the dresses come in with filthy hemlines. The material can range from acceptable to Halloween costume grade. The beading in the picture will usually be replaced by embroidery and large silver sequins. It really is just a crap shoot.
While many are just here for the pictures, I hope a few brides and prom goers are saved from having their own Knockoff Nightmare.