Yes, the “c-word” and its “f-bomb” counterpart. Maybe more so during a trip to New York or other budding fashion capitals, have these words crossed our minds or, heaven-forbid, our lips…
Counterfeit. Fake. Simply typing these words make my fashion god-fearing blood run cold.
Over the past couple of years, several fashion treasure hunters have fallen victim to the much more sophisticated efforts of luxury good, specifically handbags, counterfeiters. This new generation of “thieves” now use a higher quality of material to manufacture their fake goods. They are also able to stamp the hardware with the luxury brand’s logo and copy manufacturer’s authenticity stamps to a tee.
With nearly 100% of all fashion deals (I just made that up because it seems so true) coming from the far reaches of the Internet, online bargain hunters are the first to fall victim to such scams. One can not tell by the poorly taken pictures on eBay if that Chanel 2.55 is legit. Many fake goods manufactures often set-up commercial e-commerce sites that front as legitimate and legal businesses.
The counterfeit business is illegal…but profitable. Extending to shoes, clothes and other pirated goods, the industry single-handily infringes on the intellectual property rights of several brand names in the fashion industry and beyond. The value of counterfeit goods and products worldwide is an estimated $600 billion. Can you just imagine the shopping spree you could have with that kind of cash? Brands are taking steps steps to nip counterfeiting in the bud by using secret security badges and other advanced technology.
Can anyone really own an idea? Technically yes, but technically no…It’s really hard to say who had the idea first. Who can forget the Christian Louboutin vs Yves Saint Laurent lawsuit that took place earlier this year over the red sole, iconic-ly associated with the Louboutin brand. Don’t get me wrong, I am an extreme fan of both Christian Louboutin and YSL, but maybe YSL was in the wrong on this. I mean, when one spots a red soled platform pump, one automatically thinks of Louboutin and all that comes with the brand. Brand loyalty is slightly compromised when everyone starts copying one another. If Dior started copying the Chanel tweeds (just pretend for some reason Bill Gaytten couldn’t come up with anything else), there would be utter mayhem. Mayhem! And let’s not forget Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and the Royal wedding dress worn by Kate Middleton and bridesmaid dress by sister Pippa. How many look-a-likes have hit the boutiques since that day? ABS by Allen Schwartz, I’m looking at you.
Designers are now taking action into their own hands to protect their creativeness from vultures vying to profit off of their designs. Jack McCullough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler trekked to Washington to plead their case of copyright protection to Congress while the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has come steps closer to seeing legislation to protect designers and their designs. Although the legislation requires the onus to fall on the designers to prove infringement of their copyrights, it’s a step in the right direction.
I admittedly do indulge in the “copying” of designers creations through the fast-fashion market ruled by Zara, H&M and Forever21, and do have quite a few articles of footwear and clothing inspired by the likes of Burberry and Stella McCartney. It dilutes the exclusivity and infringes upon designers livelihoods, but I can’t always afford the real thing. So sue me (joking!). A Chanel 2.55, I cannot afford (right now) but I would NEVER commit such fraud (I can see Coco unclutching her pearls).
Tell us how you feel about counterfeit goods in the comment section below.
^AMSocial tagging: counterfeit > fake > fashion > fashion industry > knock off > McQueen > Proenza Schouler > Yves Saint Laurent