22 OCT -2023
The irony is real.
Matilda Djerf, the embodiment (but not the inventor) of Scandinavian chic and an Instagram sensation, has found herself embroiled in a rather perplexing controversy, one that reveals an intriguing irony at the heart of her brand, Djerf Avenue. For those of us who admire Matilda's style and appreciate the allure of Scandi fashion, the unfolding drama raises a set of intriguing questions about the brand and its response to copyright infringement.
Matilda's brand has always been a bit of an enigma for her followers. Her label's offerings seem to resemble high-end designer items, yet they're often made from more budget-friendly materials. The use of polyester, in particular, has raised eyebrows in the fashion world, as her creations tend to mimic luxury fashion at a lower price point. However, the controversy surrounding her brand is not related to the choice of materials; rather, it's about her response to perceived imitation.
The Dupe Dilemma
Djerf Avenue has found itself on the receiving end of dupes, with countless TikTok accounts showcasing more affordable alternatives to their products. In response, Matilda's team has taken the drastic measure of copyright-striking these creators. But what's the problem with dupes, you might ask? Dupes, or duplicate items, have been a part of the fashion world for ages, offering consumers an accessible way to enjoy the look of luxury without the hefty price tag.
Djerf Avenue, which prides itself on offering ‘elevated basics’, is essentially providing a more budget-friendly version of high-end designer items. The keyword here is "basics." While their products are undoubtedly chic and in line with a particular aesthetic and lifestyle, they hardly represent groundbreaking fashion innovation. The essence of Djerf Avenue is to make essential items accessible to a wider audience, and that's exactly what the creators of dupes are doing as well.
The irony here is glaring.
The Shift in Sentiment
Matilda's response to the dupe situation has sent shockwaves through her community. Previously known as the humble and kind Scandinavian girl, she was lauded for her authenticity and transparency. However, the recent events have caused a seismic shift in her well-known character. Her social media comments have flipped from praise to thousands of comments referring to her as cocky and out of touch when outside of this event, nothing has changed. Her content looks identical to what it did a year ago; she’s living in the same apartment with the same vacation house and the exact same aesthetic. The only difference is the brand's success.
The Dichotomy of Success
The visibility of Djerf Avenue's success, boasting a yearly revenue of $8 million and phenomenal year-on-year growth, contributed to this intense backlash. Had this dupe drama happened during the brand's beginning, the reaction might have been different. It would have been considered a misstep, embarrassing but not deserving of today's mass hysteria. This highlights a harsh reality—society often doesn't afford women in business the same latitude for making mistakes and learning from them.
The Girl Boss Era's Lesson
Reflecting on female founders and entrepreneurs like Sophia Amoruso of Nasty Gal and Emily Weiss of Glossier, we see that their setbacks didn't fundamentally change the public perception of them. However, when we look at male counterparts like Ben Francis of GymShark, they seem to retain their status and support even after serious company allegations. All of this isn’t to say that we shouldn't call Matilda out for these copyright issues but it’s a plea to female founders to have the space to listen and respond to the frustration of their audience. Women in business should be allowed the same room for growth and learning that is regularly granted to male entrepreneurs.
Matilda Djerf's controversy illuminates the complex relationship between her brand and its response to dupe culture, as well as the dichotomy of success in the world of female entrepreneurship. In the ever-evolving landscape of social media and fashion, controversies like this remind us of the power of digital communities and the expectations of our favourite influencers. Matilda Djerf's journey, from inspiring millions with her style to becoming entangled in a social media storm, serves as a cautionary tale and a reminder that authenticity and consistency matter more than ever in the influencer world.