19 May 2014

Authentic VS Counterfeit

One of the hardest things to try to explain to people about being interested in the fashion industry is how and why people want to spend over a certain about of money to buy something that could be 1/4 of the price at the local mall. It's all about consumerism and wanting to feel different within a certain crowd- and it's a known fact that the fashion crowd is not easy to win over.

So, I for one, am very aware and against counterfeit products. Normally I turn a blind eye because I know that people are going to try and drag me down for being a pompous elitist person who thinks too highly of themselves because I only pride myself in being authentic products but lately there's been an online store that's been ripping off some pieces from the runway and I feel really offended in a sense that people can blandly buy it without respecting the designer's efforts, as well as taking away the intellectual property rights of the designer. 

Left KENZO (farfetch), RIGHT counterfeit 
If you look beyond the counterfeit products being a way for people who can proudly admit that they have too much pride to spend thousands of dollars on a real Chanel bag because they're aren't even useful to put things in, the please consider how the counterfeits are made- most likely young children and people desperate for any minimum wage will be sitting in a factory working unfathomable hours to make things that represent luxury brands, but it's not like they'll know otherwise, right? The only thing they get out of it is a shitty payment that they'll try to maintain for the survival of their family.
I hope people know that the more counterfeits or cheap products are purchased, the more companies feel the demand for them therefore increasing the workload and buying counterfeits basically means we, as a society who is aiming to stop unfair work-trade, are enabling the exploitation of workers and their rights.
I try to push the idea of authentic products being a good investment onto people who are thinking of making a purchase because these products have been made in good working environments where workers are treated are people, get a good wage (if not even better than the average adult) and get access to fresh air, food, break-times etc. It's hard, but persistence to explain the dark side of counterfeits shock people. This goes along with the idea of fast-fashion too. Yes you can call me pretentious because not everyone can afford designer wear (it's not a necessity tbh) but my argument has nothing to do with validating yourself within a crowd to be established or recognised, it's the lives of those people that you're putting at risk for buying someone that hasn't been made with a lot of care.

Thankfully though, blue-chip designer houses have been and continue to fight back against the rise of counterfeits. In France, it is illegal to export, import and even just carry counterfeit goods and there are penalties of going to jail and an extremely big fine. Louis Vuitton has an exclusive team, apart from workers in their atelier, to go around and investigate the black market and those who seek to make profit out of counterfeits. Almost all the designer houses that are affected by the uprise of counterfeit profits has joined together to try to stop, or at least, slow down the crime. In 2013, Versace won over a lawsuit, banning a counterfeiter of Versace to stop selling fakes on eBay. The cheif executive of Versace, Gian Giacomo Ferraris, states that 'counterfeit goods being a dilution of the brand- counterfeits are all linked to organised crimes, child labour and harming working conditions. That is not what luxury goods are all about. It is the opposite and something that must be taken to a complete halt.'

LEFT: Alexander Wang (ssense), RIGHT: counterfeit
Right, so with saying that, before you even think about buying that fake Prada or counterfeit Alexander Wang shirt because it's cheaper than the authentic one, think about where the product is coming from. Whenever you buy a counterfeit, you're just giving more reason for greedy monsters to continue the abuse and exploiting of human rights. If you think that you're just helping yourself to be apart of the crowd by buying counterfeits because you have better things to do than buy an authentic piece and feel the pride of owning something that's been handled with much care, then you need to take a step back and understand that you are just as apart of the problem.