In the world of high fashion, the name brand is always better, right? That's not always true when it comes to Costumes! One of the hardest parts of my job at Beauty and the Beast Costumes, Chattanooga, is to explain to people that quite frequently, the "Look-a-like" or "Kock off" is actually the better product.
Working on new costumes for the stage musical Grease, Jr., I'm reminded of how many customers Pooh-Poohed our inventory of "Look-a-Like" Pink Ladies and T-Birds costumes. They all insisted that they only wanted the "REAL" licensed product. Naturally, trying to give my customers what they wanted, I ordered a large number of the Pony Express brand, licensed Grease costumes as soon as I saw them become available from one of my regular suppliers, Fun World. The Grease Pink Ladies costume package is shown above on the left.
At the same time, Fun World, Inc. also carried a "look a like" costume called "T-Bird Sweetie" which was less expensive, and featured a bright pink jacket with black sequin trim. It is shown on the right of the photo above. Both outfits sold for about $35.
Last year, due to overwhelming demand, Fun World stepped up to the plate offering the new "50's Ladies' Jacket"by itself without additional pieces for a more price conscious audience. This jacket was intended to be worn with other items from the Fun World 50's line or with items from other sources.
Now, let's do a side by side comparison! Click any of these photos for the larger image to see the details discussed.
Above, Left is the Grease branded jacket. You can tell by the GREASE logo prominently printed on the chest. This jacket has a number of issues. The light pink fabric is so thin, you can see through it. The collar only has fabric on one side. The reverse is only white interfacing so you can't Pop the color without the white side showing. The opening edges have zipper teeth, but no zipper pull, so it won't close. The collar, cuff and tail of the jacket are not finished. They are only serged off.
Above Right is the T-Bird Sweetie jacket. It is a heavier, fuchsia satin. The collar, cuffs and waist ban are all black sequin fabric which has been properly turned and finished. The front zipper is fairly heavy and functions.
The 50's Ladies's Jacket is a light weight satin in baby pink. The collar, cuff and waist band are all ribbed cotton knit, much like a normal fashion jacket might have. The black zipper functions and is even set in satin to the bottom edge for ease of use.
The Grease jacket (above, left) does say "Pink Ladies" on the back, but it's not the same font as what was used in the film. The T-Bird Sweetie jacket (above, right) also says "Pink Ladies", but the print has a hint of glitter to better match the trim.
The only major issue with the 50's Ladies jacket is that it does not say "Pink Ladies" on the back. It only announces it's own name. As it is only the jacket, it will not be included in the 'costume' comparison.
The Grease costume does have more pieces than the other costume. It includes a shirt, pants, scarf and belt. It's nice that they provide a see through shirt to go under the jacket that won't close. To bad they didn't finish any of the edges, like the jacket, all edges are just serged. Keeping in line with that fashion faux pas, the triangle of fabric scarf and the pants are also unfinished. The waist line of the pants is just a thin piece of elastic caught in the serging. The belt is a sad little piece of white vinyl with a matching one ply vinyl 'buckle' decoration.
The T-Bird Sweetie costume doesn't waist your time with a white t-shirt and worthless belt. You get two extra pieces, but at least they are of a quality you might want to wear out of the house. The pants have an actual waist band encasing elastic wide enough to function. The cuffs have been serged, then turned up and sewn in place. The scarf is double sided, with the seams properly turned inside.
Now, would you rather pay the same price for a crappy costume just because it's a name brand? Or would you like to have an outfit you can be proud to be seen in for about the same price?
Yeah, everyone else thought the same. That's why the sad branded one is in the Clearance.