In some parts of the world, there is no such thing as a trademark, patent or even intellectual property. This is likely a very foreign concept to you, as company branding aligns very closely to perceived value. In the U.S. Apple can charge over $1,000 for a phone in part because of its advanced technology, but the cost mainly relates to branding and recognizability. As such, counterfeiting isn’t new, not in the fashion or the technology industries. However, in some instances, the fakes are coming out before designers can even get their products on the shelves. Explore how technology is helping luxury designers as well as counterfeits so you can figure out the situation for yourself.
What’s Real Versus What’s Fake?
A lot of counterfeit products are incredibly easy to spot. If you are already familiar with a luxury brand, you will probably be able to tell right away when you encounter a counterfeiter. Something is just going to be off, whether it is the texture of the fabrics used, the embossing, or even the weight of the goods themselves. On the other hand, as the economy becomes more globally interconnected, counterfeiters have a lot to gain by putting on better quality fakes. As quick as they put out new shipments, there will be a bargain shopper ready to risk it all, on the off chance that they are buying something legitimate.
Luxury Designers, Counterfeiters, and the Technological Arms Race
It used to be that you could spot a fake because it was created with a very poor level of workmanship. That, in addition to low quality materials, counterfeiting was a small problem that no one expected would get this out of hand. People are unwittingly buying fakes because the reality is that everyone wants a deal. So, as people shop online more, they tend to see luxury goods on sale for unbelievably good prices and are none the wiser that it is too good to be true. Valentino shoes are considered to be timeless classics, and even on sale they aren’t going to get but so inexpensive. Browse all of SSENSE’s Valentino products and you will see what authentic luxury items look like. SSENSE is an authorized seller of luxury goods, so you can look at what they have listed for sale and rest assured you will be ordering the real thing.
What Consumers Really Think
Most people willing to invest in luxury brands are interested in buying products that will last them for a long time. Very few people buy Marc Jacobs dresses that they expect to fall apart after a single wash. In fact, the majority of people who would buy a Marc Jacobs dress know that you should never put it in the washing machine or dryer at all. What consumers really think about is how they can get whatever it is that they want for cheaper. Sometimes, consumers do realize that you can’t get a Gucci handbag for $150 brand new. In other cases, consumers don’t really care as long as no one else knows that they’re wearing a fake. Technology is making it easier not only to make better quality counterfeits, but now, you don’t even need to go to the flea market to pick up a knock-off luxury item.
The Cost of Busting Counterfeits and Protecting Consumers
It can be expensive and exhausting to try to keep up with various counterfeiting groups. Their operations are clandestine in nature, with members speaking in code, and moving often. While designers have been working with police to help crack the code on counterfeiting, things might have to get exponentially worse in order to get better. Having a counterfeit release a version of a luxury piece that ends up being more popular than the original is costing the fashion industry billions. Some people will counterfeit anything, all the way down to socks.
What Fashionistas Really Think
People who are fashion forward know full well how much of a problem counterfeiting is becoming. More fashion mavens are refusing to utilize third party services like Poshmark because of the prevalence of counterfeiting. Although counterfeit luxury items are costing fashion designers the most, consumers are also getting stuck with the bill. Many times, they end up getting duped and then are unable to get their money back. So, they can either knowingly rock a fake Chanel bag, throw out the counterfeit, or try to convince someone else why they should drop three bills on a complete forgery.
As long as there are luxury brands, there will be counterfeits. Someone is simply going to have to try and see if they can make a version of an item that is better than the original. What has to stop is counterfeiting on a widescale, commercial, and highly illegal basis. Check your luxury items for authenticity and get a second opinion from an expert if you are on the fence.