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Fashion Fraud 2006. Counterfeit, Replica & Mirror Goods

Fashion Fraud 2006
Purchasing Trends for Counterfeit, Replica Bags & Mirror Goods

By Pauline Weston Thomas for


Fashion Trends 2006 Spring Summer 2006

Counterfeit bags, Replica & Mirror Goods - Trends


Counterfeit Trends Affecting Fashion Purchases

As clothing in UK is now 40% less costly than it was a decade ago, it is commonplace for a woman to own a top range bag.  However, many women are purchasing counterfeit versions both unwittingly and knowingly.  Some purchasers simply don't care, believing they deceive others who they think know no better.  Very few of us are fooled by the woman who does not earn a salary to afford, for example, a Hermès bag, but nevertheless insists that her Hermès is genuine as she travels by tube (subway).

However, there are just as many purchasers who do feel cheated if they inadvertently buy a fake replica bag, whereas they only want the genuine designer article.  Consumers need to realise that every time they purchase a counterfeit version that is a sale lost for the design house.

The Shadow Economy of Counterfeit Goods

I became interested in finding out more about the purchase of fashion counterfeit goods when I was invited to visit a factory abroad where I could see counterfeiting in operation!  I was just amazed at the upfront coolness of the invitation.  Whole factories in the former USSR, Korea and China are given up to churning out fake goods in accessories, trainers, apparel, media items, pharmacy products, auto car parts, Vodka, detergents and cigarettes.  One day the factory produces genuine articles for a supplier order and the next day it changes production to do an equally large, but counterfeit production run of the same product.  Often such factory operations have false walls which can reveal whole stockrooms of overrun goods.

Counterfeiting is such a big business that it is threatening the profits of the original design houses.  This shadow economy, according to Tim Phillips the writer of Knockoff: The Deadly Trade in Counterfeit Goods, would be the world's biggest business if it were a named business.  Counterfeiting is known to account for 7% of world trade and may be as high as 10%.

A high percentage of traded goods, including clothes and accessories are counterfeit.  More alarming, is the knowledge that these goods include fake products that may be taken into or used on the body. Yes - your body, my body, not necessarily some anonymous person, but you or me.  This problem of fake goods is in everyone's backyard or doorstep.

Fake handbags and rip off trainers may seem harmless when chatting among girlfriends as they do not cause many potentially harmful problems.  Sadly, many people consider it all perfectly acceptable and think their contribution to this shadow economy won't make any difference.  But the same suppliers of fake handbags also supply other products that may cause harm for individuals.

Fake cosmetics and pharmaceuticals include somewhat alarmingly, fake Tamiflu, cardiac heart pills, defective hip implant parts as well as fake guns (Glock pistols) and airplane replacement parts.  Just imagine having no response to a faulty drug for a serious ailment, or a faulty car part that causes a lethal or even minor accident.  This all puts counterfeiting in perspective as the criminal activity it really has become. You are reading an original fashion article written by Pauline Weston Thomas© at ©.


Internet Selling of Fake, Replica, Mirror & Knockoff Goods

On the picture to the right we have a picture of a replica Fendi Spy bag.  This style of bag was a much sought after bag style in 2005 and although leather, it is a fake version of the Spy model.

On the internet, in a less than subtle way, the phrases intended to make an item such as a designer brand high fashion handbag seem less criminal, include keyword terms such as mirror image bags and replica bags.  Other phrases include look alike bags, knock offs, faux bags, fake bags.  Each phrase is merely a euphemism for the organised crime of counterfeit goods.

Take a look at the website and have a good look at the original handbags.  The Gucci site or a Gucci store is the place to buy a genuine Gucci bag.  Or read how I bought a genuine Dolce & Gabbana bag.

Next look at all the 'authentic' bags on a wide range of online auction sites such as EBay or iOffer and see the openly counterfeit bags for sale online.  At iOffer some sellers butter their words by suggesting the bags are only intended for 'theatrical use'; whilst another might openly admit they take apart a genuine authentic bag bought from the design house, and then make it up with just one minor difference.  One site state that it takes the factory representative into Designer shops to study the bags on display.  They pay close attention to important detailing both inside and out.

A bag which is a good replica/fake is known as a super copy or a Grade A, and many super copies have deceived those familiar with the original product.

Quality may, or may not, be an issue for some consumers.  At a much reduced price many consumers may well find a lower quality acceptable, but often the replica bags are made in much shoddier materials and with style elements the designer never designed.  The result is a product totally out of keeping with the designer's original aesthetic.

When browsing online auctions it is often hard to believe there is any difference between a bag priced low, posing as a designer accessory item, and the real deal.  This is exacerbated especially when such dealers merely steal the bag's image from the official sales site, making the item in the picture on offer appear genuine.  So in some instances, images of the real bags are used to sell replicas. An unwary online buyer buys assumes that it is the real item, until that is they receive the bag.  Just read the feedback at online auctions to see how many individuals feel let down when they see the difference in the bag they unwrap and the picture they were shown online. You are reading an original fashion article written by Pauline Weston Thomas© at ©.

Aware of the incredible interest in 'it' bags, my husband suggested I do a bit more research into designer handbags for our website visitors.  This set me scouring the net for information on designer sites, reputable handbag sites, online auctions and the topic of counterfeit and replica fashion.  A Chloé Paddington bag

To be honest I am now so sickened of just about every style that is repeated time after time as 'exclusive' or 'must have it bag' that I soon lost interest for example in acquiring for example a Chloé Paddington bag, or a paddy as the latter are mostly called by bag lovers. 

In no time, these 'it' bags became 'nots' - the very bags that I did not want. Especially when I passed a shop selling a plastic paddy copy for £22.  At first glance the styling was very similar.  But it was in an awful material and had become cheap and nasty looking. 

The real Paddington version is shown right.  You could probably get a genuine bag like this from Browns of Molton Street website in London.

Since only a limited number of Paddington's were made for a global audience one might wonder why so many authentic ones appear for sale at countless web shops!

Back in 2006 if the words Chloe Paddington were typed into on online auction house there might be 430 listings on offer one day and 1047 another, with prices ranging from $1895 to $0.99.  If designer 'it bags' at online auctions are so exclusive, ask yourself why do so many exist other than the fact that so many are replicas.  By the time I had finished my research, I was totally swayed against buying an 'expensive' bag at an online auction sale.


Authentic Genuine Bags

In fact I soon noticed that genuine and authentic were two of the most overused words online.  If a bag is authentic would you need to be told that.  The words authentic and genuine are almost the kiss of death to some auctions and many websites.  Very few online retailers are approved to be able to sell genuine designer handbags. 

If you buy a possible fake then you must accept that is what it may be; you have a replica bag not the real thing.  The key point is that you have to like the bag for its own sake.  In my opinion, the only things that really matter are that the bag sits on the shoulder, and looks balanced with its owner, and most important of all is that it has a quality of materials that will shine through over the years.  It really must be high quality leather and have good hardware.  Of course true designer bags are usually crafted with top quality materials and made with fine hardware. You are reading an original fashion article written by Pauline Weston Thomas© at ©

Read more about my purchase of a Dolce & Gabbana handbag and check my tips for purchasing spring bags and avoiding fake designer bags and bag aftercare.

Updated March 2008

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