At What Point Does Inspiration Become Imitation?


At What Point Does Inspiration Become Imitation? The Sky Garden, Missguided Dress, Red Ankle Boots


They say copying is the highest form of flattery. I don’t know who they are, but they’ve clearly never been on the receiving end. Originality and plaigarism have been rife topics in the blogosphere over the last week or so. I want to make it clear that this post is not aimed at anyone in particular, though it would be naive to pretend that it hasn’t been sparked by a particularly shocking case of plagiarism that has recently been made public by Sophie Milner. Whilst I in no way condone what happened, I also do not condone online witch hunts, trolling or bullying. I can guarantee that the girl in question is feeling pretty fucking awful right about now, so please do not feel that it is your online right to add to that in the form of a shitty Instagram comment or an abusive DM. It is not. 



Inspo must be one of the most used phrases online right now. Wherever we look there are people absolutely acing life; whether that’s throwing together a killer outfit, designing a gorgeous home or nailing a recent job pitch. The internet is the perfect place to be inspired and I often look to Instagram or Pinterest as a source when I’m not sure what to wear, what to make for dinner or how to get wax out of my carpet. You name it, the internet has an answer and a pretty picture to boot. Being inspired by others is a brilliant thing and being someone who inspires is a truly virtuous quality. If you’re doing something that makes other people think ‘Wow! I wish I’d thought of that!‘ then I can guarantee that whatever it is, you’re doing it right.

To what end though, do we sacrifice our own talents and creativities by trying too hard to be like someone else? Whether it’s getting dressed in the morning or picking out bedroom decor, this goes across the board. Prevalently, I know that when I first started blogging I was totally unsure about where I fitted into the industry and I looked to established bloggers that I admired as both a source of inspiration and motivation. However, if at any point I felt myself slipping into an attempt to actually be like them, then I’d unfollow. I wanted to remove the temptation to reduce myself to a very average copy of someone else.

Before you get too pass-agg with the tweets, consider whether you can seriously put your hands up and say that you’ve never copied someone else before. I can’t. Most of us have probably copied our mates homework once upon a time and I think at some point or other we’ve all looked to someone else and wished that we could be a little more like them. For the brief time that I dabbled in blogger photography I’d regularly hear: “Can you make me look like [insert 600K blogger here]”. The reality is that the only thing you are guaranteed to be the absolute best at in this world is yourself. Nobody can do you better than you can, and that means that if you’re trying to be someone else then essentially you are always going to be a cheaper version. Chances are you’re pretty fabulous already so grab hold of that by the balls and own all the things that make you you.


At What Point Does Inspiration Become Imitation? The Sky Garden, Missguided Dress, Red Ankle Boots


Is there room for individuality amongst bloggers?

This might sound like a really silly question because we are all different people. We have different backgrounds, went to different schools, have different life experiences and ultimately are very individual people who share a common passion. However, the fashion industry relies on trends. You can bet that if Whistles are selling something one day, then Topshop have made a more affordable version the next and within a week it will be available to the masses in Primark. Is that okay? I’m not sure. Do we buy it anyway? You don’t even need me to answer that one.

The world that we live in – one of social media and mass-producing high street stores – doesn’t allow for much originality unless you’re willing to buck the trends. And you know what? If you want to shop in Topshop’s New In like everybody else then go for it! There is nothing wrong with fitting in just as there is nothing wrong with standing out. Equally, there’s nothing wrong with being inspired by someone else’s choices and channelling them into your own too. From my perspective, someone can’t call themselves an influencer, share affiliate links of their latest ASOS haul then get upset when someone wears the same outfit as them. Isn’t that we want? To encourage people to dress like us, wear the make up we wear, visit the hotels we stay in? Well yes, and no. I want people to do and wear the things that make them feel good. If I can be a source of inspiration within that then I feel very privileged. 


When inspiration becomes imitation

If you like what someone else has done enough to recreate or create your own version then it’s actually really simple. Credit them. Love someones outfit and dress head to toe in the same one? Add a little ‘inspired by @…’ – you’ll probably make their day and you won’t look like a copycat. Write a similarly themed blog post off of the back of someone else’s? Link to theirs and credit the idea. Love how someone has styled their bedroom on Instagram and redecorated yours in the same vein? Credit. Credit. Credit. You owe it to the original creator and it means that you don’t end up being called out for something that actually could just be a really innocent case of inspiration, because I guarantee people will notice. I’ve been scrolling through my Instagram feed and before seeing the name attached to an image, I had initially assumed it was someone else’s and it just doesn’t bode well.

Please understand that your teacher wasn’t joking when they said that plagiarism is a serious offence. It is an infringement of someones intellectual property and is the entire reason that even Beyonce was called out by choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Personally, I have once had to ask someone politely to reconsider a blog post which was spookily similar to mine and I have experienced the odd caption copy, once or twice by people I actually know personally and the reality is it was probably a mistake. If you’re doing something and either explicitly know you took the idea from someone else, or even more subconsciously are aware of the original influence then take a second to check yourself, decide if it’s still worth posting and if the answer is yes then, you guessed it, credit.


At What Point Does Inspiration Become Imitation? The Sky Garden, Missguided Dress, Red Ankle Boots


I hope that this blog post is taken as intended, which is not as another dig at the girl currently central to the latest bout of Twitter drama but as a reminder to us all that you should have faith in your own original ideas and offer credit where credit is due if you are explicitly inspired by someone else’s work. In that vein, I’m leaving links here to Lauren’s post which offers tips on being yourself in an over saturated industry, and Leah’s tweet which very aptly reminds us all that if we wouldn’t say something to someones face, we shouldn’t be tweeting it either. 



  1. February 12, 2018 / 1:03 pm

    Yes Yes Yes! I’m run a small business & started a new blog at the end of last year. I have had my fair share of folk copying my designs through business by folk locally to me.
    I try to be myself and work hard but it can become disheartening. Great post!


  2. February 12, 2018 / 1:25 pm

    Love this post! Your a true influencer x

  3. Louise
    February 12, 2018 / 2:39 pm

    I read all about the recent incident on Twitter and I totally agree, it was 100% not acceptable but neither is it everyone one twitters right to start sending abusive messages to her. The people directly involved have the right to message her and if necessary take legal action to profect themselves and their businesses but some of the message I have seen sent to her by totally random people that are not even bloggers and who it effects in no way are not acceptable. Alot of the people sending the messages will be the same people retweeting messages about how horrendous online bullying is. Ultimatley I agree with some of the tweets I have seen sent to the individual as the way she behaved is unprofessional and very demoralising for some of the bloggers who put their hear and soul into their work but it is in no way my place to direct mean comments at her and as they say, unless something directly affects you, if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing at all!!

    I love your blog and really appreciate the hard work you put into it.

  4. February 12, 2018 / 2:48 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVED this post, Beth! I feel like there is such a fine line between inspiration and imitation. I have had an old friend of mine who started an instagram account and EVERY SINGLE PICTURE looks like one of mine. Its irritating and annoying… so you really do need to be careful to show your inspiration and support for someone without copying!

    Ellie xx

  5. February 12, 2018 / 4:18 pm

    It’s so sad that people feel the need to copy others. It’s so important to be original and to credit others when using their images etc. I remember being inspired by another bloggers’ post to write something that was completely my own but I still credited them for inspiring me with the idea. Even though I was writing about something pretty different, I still think it’s nice to show that something else I read had inspired me to write a particular post x

    Jenny | Luxestyle

  6. Dyala
    February 12, 2018 / 8:10 pm

    I’m with you in every word, plagrism is a source of stealing while inspiration is another shape of admiration and between ourselves we know exactly when we are inspireded or just copying the other person

  7. February 12, 2018 / 9:13 pm

    Love this post. Such an inspiring person!

  8. Tammy Siddik
    February 12, 2018 / 10:10 pm

    I love this post, was such a great and honest read!

  9. February 17, 2018 / 9:24 pm

    I completely agree with this post. I’ve experienced other bloggers posting similar content to mine quite soon after I did and ‘consequently’ after they’ve just told me how much they liked it. I think it’s brave of you to call people out for that, I find it so infuriating when people have done that to me, but I’ve never confronted them about it because I just don’t want to have to deal with the possible backlash of that happening. A while ago another blogger who had just started out was commenting on my posts about how much she liked what I’d done, after a while she started doing all the same posts as me straight after I’d done them and my way of dealing with the situation was to block her rather than call her out on it. But I kept getting emails from her, which I didn’t want to answer. So I think I’ve just tried to get myself out of those situations by ignoring it- though I wish I made more of a fuss. Xx

  10. February 19, 2018 / 1:14 am

    I just came back from vacation recently, so I seem to be out of the loop in terms of what happened in the twitter blogging community. I guess I have to say thank god. I bet that girl/guy feels terrible! This article you wrote though, was beautifully written. Like you said, the only you in the world is you! Anyone you try to copy is a cheap imitation of them. There is always room to grow in the blogging community, and I have stayed true to myself the entire way. This is something I’m super proud of! Great post Beth xx

    Melina |

  11. April 15, 2018 / 9:14 am

    A great read Beth and such an eye opener. I always get inspiration to get writing from other peoples posts, but it never crossed my mind to just simply credit them, it takes seconds. x

  12. May 11, 2018 / 10:50 am

    Yes Beth! There’s a clear difference between finding inspiration and imitation. Also, people say that ‘imitation is a form of flattery’ but I don’t think that’s true.

    I sometimes find inspiration for blog content through other blog posts, but I’d never copy someone.


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