Love them or loath them, fake fashion accessories are here to stay. Fashion has been a way of displaying one’s social position in the social hierarchy and has become more difficult over time to acquire these luxury items. Many of the luxury fashion brand’s accessories such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Givenchy and Hermes to name a few, are well recognised by their ‘La Griffe’ design and can raise the social status of the wearer instantly. (Berry 2015)

However these fashion items are sold at exorbitant prices due to reasons of the luxury brand’s authenticity, craftsmanship, exclusivity and uniqueness of the product. (Berry 2015)

The desire for genuine luxury fashion has driven the fake industry in the last decade and increasingly over the last few years via sales over the internet. Before this convenience of the online market, fakes were easily spotted due to the giveaway of flimsy hardware, cheap leather and misspelled logos. With easy access of images of details of the accessories, fakes are so well made today and sometimes expensive themselves that it has become much harder to tell the difference between the real and the counterfeit. (Nellis n.d.)

The knock-off industry is now worth approximately $600 billion costing large European brands nearly 10% of their total sales every year (or US $28.7 billion) with hundreds of thousands of lost jobs across manufacturing, retail and wholesale department of their fashion industry. (Bain 2015) According to Europol press release this year “Counterfeit goods produced in the EU on the rise”, two-thirds of the knock-offs come from China, which is world’s largest producer of counterfeit goods. (Europol 2015; Bain 2015)

It can also be said that these designer companies that are claiming these losses are exaggerating as many of these consumers that choose to buy fake are unlikely to purchase the real thing or will purchase genuine article when they can afford it. (Howie 2010; Coghlan 2011) An older report from “The Sunday Telegraph” interviewed shoppers on London’s Oxford Street where some commented that the designs of these counterfeit items look better and weren’t available anywhere else including the fashion brand’s retail store. (Howie 2010)

So what happens to the people that have been tricked into buying a fake thinking that it was real? Even though these counterfeit products are well made today there are still ways to identify them. The most obvious is price. The general rule of thumb is said to be if the price is more than 30% off the original, it’s a fake. This percentage is around how much is discounted on a second hand product. Other aspects include the workmanship (e.g. the seams), the logo (the print), the location (where it was made and from where it was delivered), the feel of the accessory (e.g. real leather will be soft and lined, fake products feel more plastic) and documentation (real items arrive in correct boxes, identification cards and other information that supports it’s authenticity). (Curtis n.d.)

How To Authenticate A Chanel Bag (n.d.), Vintage Heirloom, viewed 20th September 2015,

How To Authenticate A Chanel Bag (n.d.), Vintage Heirloom, viewed 20th September 2015, < https://www.vintageheirloom.com/how-to-authenticate-a-chanel-bag/?v=6cc98ba2045f&gt;

In New York a technology that embeds botanical DNA into the fibres have been sewn into the accessory and are unable to be replicated. It is then detectable under a specific light for various brands and has been used by a few European luxury brands already. This will assure the customer that the product is real. (Holmes 2011)

Companies are fighting back and many are suing counterfeiters including online distributors. The CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) “You Can’t Fake Fashion” campaign and Harper’s Bazaar held an anti-counterfeiting summit which are two of the many anti-counterfeiting campaigns that are combating this issue. (Sherman 2014)

While fake products are readily available and good quality, the counterfeiting industry will continue. At the end of it all it is entirely up to the consumer.

How to Spot a Fake Bag (2011), Wall Street Journal, viewed 20th September 2015, <http://on.wsj.com/1BvTRgG> -click here to view video

References

Howie, M 2010, Fake goods are fine, says EU study, The Telegraph, 29th August, viewed 20th September 2015, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/7969335/Fake-goods-are-fine-says-EU-study.html&gt;

Bain, M 2015, Fakes are costing Europe’s fashion industry 10% of its sales and thousands of jobs, Quartz, 22nd July, viewed 20th September 2015, <http://qz.com/460932/fakes-are-costing-europes-fashion-industry-10-of-its-sales-and-thousands-of-jobs/&gt;

Sherman, L 2014, Are Fakes Back In Fashion?, Fashionista, 14th July, viewed 20th September 2015, <http://fashionista.com/2014/07/fakes-in-fashion&gt;

Curtis, J n.d., How to Spot Fake Fashion, Designer Knock-Offs & Counterfeits, Money Crashers, viewed 20th September 2015, <http://www.moneycrashers.com/fake-fashion-designer-knockoffs/&gt;

Nellis, C n.d., Faking It, About.com, viewed 20th September 2015, <http://fashion.about.com/cs/tipsadvice/a/fakingit.htm&gt;

Holmes, E, 2011, The Finer Art of Faking It, The Wall Street Journal, 30th June, viewed 20th September 2015, <http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304791204576401534146929212&gt;

Coghlan, T 2011, Retailing Fake Fashion and Luxury in China, Maosuit, 31st October, viewed 20th September 2015, <http://maosuit.com/china-inc/business-in-china/retailing-fake-fashion-and-luxury-in-china/&gt;

Europol 2015, Counterfeit Good Produced In The EU On The Rise, Europol, viewed 20th September 2015, <https://www.europol.europa.eu/content/counterfeit-goods-produced-eu-rise&gt;

Berry, J 2015, ‘Contemporary Fashion: Luxury Fashion’, retrieved from Griffith University, Queensland College of Art, Learning@Griffith website, viewed 15th September 2015, < https://bblearn.griffith.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-1510372-dt-content-rid-5019007_1/courses/2432QCA_3155_SB/Course%20Content/Week%2013%20Luxury%20Fashion/Luxury%20Fashion%20%26%20Globalisation.pdf&gt;

 

 

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