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10. 21. 22

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As the days start getting shorter and shorter and the end of summer draws near, I begin to romanticize the coming school year. This entails the annual visit to Barnes & Noble to find the perfect school planner, a refresh on my gel pens, and a few eye-catching novels. My new tradition, however, has been my search for the perfect fall fragrance. Like a good accessory, perfume can completely transform an outfit. It is the final touch that pulls everything together, connecting the abstract vision in your head to the tangible. Like myself, many have leaned into the academic aesthetic this fall, perhaps this year more than ever. Images of cashmere sweaters, tweed jackets, loafers, and boatneck tops come to mind.

With such a sophisticated, timeless vision board for my fall outfits, it is only right to have an accompanying perfume. After all, the cult-favorite Sol de Janeiro Cheirosa 62 may not make the best pairing for blazers and chunky knit sweaters. As I store away my linens and sandals for the coming winter months, you can also find my summer fragrances packed away, eager to make their debut once again in the warm summer months.

As I began my hunt for the perfect school fragrance, I drew inspiration from my favorite study spot on campus: the law library. I did not have to look far to find one that perfectly encapsulates this atmosphere— Maison Margiela’s Replica perfume line has one titled, “Whispers in the Library.” Intrigued by the apothecary-style bottle and intricate cotton label, I found several that capture the feeling of studying on a crisp autumn day. “By the Fireplace”, “Coffee Break”, and “Autumn Vibes,” each with their own unique notes and descriptions, give off the essence of fall. With notes like cardamom, chestnut, coffee accord, and cedarwood, and style descriptions like, “Paper and waxed wood,” the Replica perfumes emanate moments in time worth bottling up.

Recently mentioned in a Byrdie article titled, “The 20 Best Perfumes for Women of all Time,” Replica perfumes are ranked among longtime favorites like Chanel N°5 and Gucci Bloom. This is impressive for a young fragrance house, especially when considering Chanel N°5 launched over one hundred years ago in 1921. So, what is drawing consumers to Replica perfumes?

As said by Martin Margiela, “[timelessness] is this concept that we wanted to translate into fragrances, remembering the scents of our collective memory.” Jacques Cavallier, the perfumer behind the collection, added that they wanted to reinvent the scents that have “become a part of us all.” They have achieved this by not only making their perfumes feel personal, but by creating an experience out of buying them as well. Upon their purchase, customers have the option to customize the famed cotton label. On the “Provenance and Period,” and “Style Description,” lines, customers can add their own writing to make the fragrances’ distinctive smells even more specific to memory.

The notion of creating products that are an ode to specific memories and seasons, like fall, is a lucrative one. In 2021, the perfume industry generated $7.97 billion in the United States, with expected market growth of 3.08% between 2021 and 2025. Priced at $144 for a 3.4oz bottle, the Replica perfumes are decidedly a luxury commodity. With the trending perfume dupe brand, Dossier, offering several Replica dupes for just $29, why do consumers like myself still consider themselves repeat Replica customers?

One could argue that Replica’s ingenious marketing keeps customers loyal to the brand. Now that I have tried all of their fall fragrances, I can confirm that they perfectly capture their respective names. It is known that our sense of smell is most strongly linked to memory, so one spritz of “Autumn Vibes,” or “By the Fireplace” reminds me of a peaceful fall morning in Northern Michigan, the smell of my mom’s Apple Pie, or cozying up with friends to watch a Halloween Movie. Indeed, a brand's ability to play into aesthetics like fall and academia is profitable. More importantly, though, is that these scents are meaningful.

Some of my best-spent days, study sessions, and favorite fall memories have been made while wearing my Replica perfumes. And so, I am happily reminded of them when I get ready for the day and spray my favorite black cashmere turtleneck with perfume. Their tagline, “The scents your memories are made of”, rings true.

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