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.
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,
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.
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 Gucci.com 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.
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.
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.
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
By the time I had finished my research, I was totally swayed
against buying an 'expensive' bag at an online auction sale.
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
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