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Designers duke it out with fast fashion

After years of being knocked off by fast-fashion retailers such as H&M and Inditex's Zara, designers are finally wising up.

The fall fashions shown on the New York runways focused on texture, detailing and structure, creating trends that will be difficult for lower-priced competitors to duplicate at a cheaper cost.

"[Designers'] frustration level has reached a high enough level where they're going to do things more dramatically to make it more difficult [to duplicate], and frankly it's about time," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at The NPD Group advisory firm.

Cohen said that it's easy for retailers to rip off trends such as colors and prints, but it becomes trickier when designers start mixing fabrics and creating more elaborate, expensive pieces.

"The ability to translate and replicate intricate beading, craftwork, shine and quilting can be done with master precision now," said Sheila Aimette, vice president of North American content for trend forecaster WGSN. "Where fast fashion can't translate the look is with true luxe materials, which is what this season is all about."

Though Cohen said he has no doubt that fast fashion will continue its efforts to replicate what is seen on the runway—for a price tag that's hundreds or thousands of dollars cheaper—it should keep some items off-limits.

Click through to see how the fashion set is making its products more difficult to duplicate.

By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson
Posted 14 Feb. 2014

Adam Jeffery | CNBC