Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Cost of Counterfeit

Have you ever visited New York in hopes of paying a visit to Chanel for a Classic Chain Bag, or Louis Vuitton for a Speedy - or do you seek out street corners and peer inside the black bags that are forced under your nose by street vendors, in hopes of finding a stellar knock off? I used love hunting down knock-offs when I was in high school, as my lunch money salary didn't cut it for the $500 - $4000 price tag that comes along with most designer handbags. I saved up in college for my first Louis Vuitton after I was left disappointed with a fake Burberry I bought in London during a High School trip. While living (=shopping?) in the working world has made my dreams of Chanel or YSL seem closer, unless I want to live off canned tuna and a maxed out credit card, I've shied away from the possibility.

I read a very eye-opening article in the Wall Street Journal over coffee this morning. Did you know the value of the counterfeit industry is worth roughly $600 BILLION? And that the International Chamber of Commerce predicts that figure to multiply twofold by 2015? Among counterfeit products that are seized trying to cross into U.S. borders, footwear,clothing and handbags mark as the top ranking copy-right infringement goods. This sobering fact has left a sour taste in my mouth for stolen intellectual property.

Christian Louboutin has established a website that outlines their zero tolerance policy entitled Stop Fake Louboutin. The site even provides consumers with a list of criminalized websites that have been identified with selling counterfeits. The WSJ Journal Aritcle supplied an informative interactive Image highlighting the difference between a fake and authentic Chanel and Hermes purse. One of the most important things to note when shopping is to inspect the stitching, lining and weight of the hardware. Authentic products will have much finer stitching, a well made lining and heavier hardware, where as the fake with contain much less suppleness. There are even companies that are looking into special technology to embed into their products that can authenticate products when brought into a store if the owner wishes to resell the product later on.

While the price tags are may seem unattainable at times, I couldn't stomach the idea of purchasing a rip-off of a product these fashion-house artisans worked hard to design. If you have a special bag on your wish list - save up and don't give in to knock-offs, the real thing will feel so much better! If you have a taste for vintage, visit Portero for authentic designer products, or contact your favorite vintage store ask them to schedule a visit with you to your local favored designer to certify the authenticity of product you wish to buy.The bottom line? If the price tag seems to good to be true, it probably is.

*Facts & Video courtesy of the Wall Street Journal


  1. You know the real difference between a fake and the real deal? It is how you feel when carrying your bag. Happy and proud of a piece of luxury, or worried someone can tell it is a fake and you are phoney.

  2. I just don't think it's any different than downloading music or movies, so I have no problem with fake anything. I do, however, have a problem with places like Urban Outfitters copy designs by people who have Etsy shops and pass the off as their own without crediting the original person - it's about protecting the little guys!

  3. Not only does the fashion industry get hurt, but it also associated with slave & children labor, drugs and potentially terrorism.  Yeah, I will pass.

  4. it's so refreshing to hear how well informed you all are! with all the tourists I see on a daily basis hussling for fake fendis, louis, chanel, the list goes on, I had almost lost my faith our respect for intellectual property!

  5. There's nothing tackier than a fake. If you can't afford it, just get something more practical. There are hundreds of bags that offer great options, colors and styles.