By Rebecca Drew
THIS ROYAL family superfan spends her free-time finding ‘REPLI-KATES’ of some of the Duchess of Cambridge’s most photographed looks after falling in love with her impeccable style after the royal couple announced their engagement.
Mathematician and royal watcher, Brigitte Scheffer-Drews (34) originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, grew up with a keen interest in the British royal family and loved following Princes William and Harry with whom she is close to in age.
When William and Kate announced their engagement in November 2010, Brigitte was instantly enthralled by the prince’s then-future bride’s classic, sleek style and started to follow her official engagements and fashion choices online. She soon discovered the art of ‘repli-Kate-ing’ and found people who spent their spare time finding replicas or an exact copy of the Duchess of Cambridge’s timeless outfits, often for a fraction of the price.
Brigitte who is known as the Canadian Duchess on Instagram now lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA, and started her social media account a year and a half ago to document her very own copies of the Duchess’ clothing choices.
Stunning pictures show Brigitte channelling her inner Duchess of Cambridge wearing a flawless Zara version of the blue polka-dot Alessandra Rich dress worn in Prince Charles’ official 70th birthday family photographs in November 2018, wearing a top version of the beautiful Prabal Gurung dress worn on her tour of Singapore in September 2012 and the Hobbs blouse worn by Kate in March 2018 on her final royal duties before giving birth to Prince Louis.
Other incredible images show Brigitte emulating Kate’s pre-wedding look worn as she arrived at the Goring Hotel, London in April 2011 and the sunshine yellow Jaeger dress worn on a trip to the Solomon Islands in 2012. Brigitte has also started taking inspiration from Meghan Markle and has expertly recreated the former actress’ eye-catching red and purple number worn on a trip to Birkenhead in January this year.
Brigitte describes herself as a ‘purist’ and wherever possible tries to get her hands on the exact items Kate wears but doesn’t spend more than £75 (100 USD) on the clothes after scouring eBay, or sources a similar item from the same brand but might buy a blouse instead if Kate wore the dress.
The most Brigitte has spent on a full repli-Kate was her stunning Rebecca Taylor navy tweed suit which she found on eBay for a combined price of around £67 (90 USD).
“When Kate came on the scene, I was very interested in her, I had been a rather big fan of William when I was a teenager, and started following her engagements and fashion via a few different blogs. I also followed a few Instagram accounts,” said Brigitte.
“I woke up early to watch their wedding and was so happy that William had found someone to share his life with. They both looked absolutely radiant on that day. I was also excited to see what she would do with this large platform that had been given to her. I’ve been very impressed by her work in the mental health field. It’s an incredibly important area that impacts so many people. I wish there was more of a focus here in North America.
“I had followed a few other Replikaters ever since Kate came on the scene but only decided to start one about a year and a half ago as a creative outlet. It’s much easier to access pieces in the USA – there’s more availability within the USA and when buying overseas, there aren’t any duties or taxes when you import clothing compared to Canada, which assesses duties on anything over $20.
“Kate wears outfits that are very easy to translate to the office. My office is fairly casual, but I still like to wear a nice dress or skirt/blouse combination on occasion. Kate also wears colours and prints that I might otherwise not, so she definitely pushes me out of my comfort zone.
“I also love how Kate mixes and matches high end with affordable pieces. This is something I love to do as well.
“I’m a little more of a purist in that I prefer to get the actual items that Kate wears or source a similar item from the same brand but maybe buying a blouse instead of a dress or a slightly different colourway.
“Kate loves blue and while I like blue, I gravitate more to purples or pinks, so I bought her LK Bennett Detroit dress in pink versus the blue colour she wore. I also bought the blouse version of the Zara flocked dress she wore while out in Norfolk with Charlotte and George since I really didn’t need another dress at the time.
“I really enjoy the hunt and can’t necessarily justify paying full price for some of the outfits she has worn, like the green polka dot LK Bennett dress that she wore to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, so I will wait and stalk eBay and other sites until I can get it more reasonably, even if it takes a while.”
Brigitte reckons she has exactly replicated around 30 of the Duchess of Cambridge’s and Sussex’s outfits since she has started but her favourite royal look has been the Rebecca Taylor tweed suit, worn by Kate which took almost two-years to track down on eBay.
The royal fan has started to copy Meghan’s look ever since she got engaged to Prince Harry and she is excited about the upcoming addition to the family.
“I think Harry will be an excellent father and he seems to have found genuine love with Meghan. It will be interesting to see how their role evolves while they juggle raising a family. Since they will be representing the Queen and the Commonwealth, I will be closely following their activities as well,” she said.
“For me, it’s all about having fun with fashion and doing it on a reasonable budget. By following Kate, I have been exposed to brands like LK Bennett and Reiss that I would otherwise not have tried, but absolutely love.
“I also like to take Kate’s outfits and put a twist on them because Kate tends to wear one colour head-to-toe and that’s not exactly my style.
“Even if we’re not all following Kate and Meghan and buying the clothing they wear as inspiration, what is available to buy from high-end designers to mall shops is all inspired from somewhere.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/canadianduchess14