The argument used to be whether buying knock offs was a
fashion faux pas, but the issue has evolved and expanded.
It's no longer about lost profits or maintaining the brand's
image; it's about the protection of human rights and
Although purchasing knocks offs is not illegal,
counterfeiting itself is illegal and purchasing counterfeit
products supports illegal activity. According to the
International Anti Counterfeit Coalition, counterfeiting
costs U.S. businesses $200 billion to $250 billion annually.
Counterfeiters do not pay taxes which means less money for
your city's schools, hospitals, parks and other social
programs. The IACC also states that counterfeit merchandise
is directly responsible for the loss of more than 750,000
Unfortunately, approximately 5%-7% of the world trade is
in counterfeit goods, which results in U.S. companies
suffering $9 billion in trade losses due to international
copyright piracy. Counterfeiting also poses a threat to
global health and safety because merchandise does not meet
federal safety regulations.
If these facts and figures aren't persuasive enough then
consider this, counterfeiters do not pay their employees
fair wages or benefits, they have poor working conditions,
and often use child and slave labor. The profits from
counterfeiting have been linked to funding organized crime,
drug trafficking and terrorist activity. Purchasing a knock
off perpetuates the cycle of counterfeiting and your money
directly supports activities you advocate against.
Counterfeiting runs rampant because it is fueled by
consumer demand, so do your part and educate others about
the impact of buying knock offs. Of course you should avoid
buying knock-offs yourself, but if you do find yourself
wondering whether that $20 "Hermes" scarf is the real deal
remember the basics:
There are dozens of blogs and websites that explain the ins
and outs of designer items and what to watch out for when
you're not buying from an authorized vendor. Every detail
down to the spaces between the letters of the logo and the
number of stitches used is important.
Check for a care label on the inside of garments, or a
serial number on sunglasses, handbags, and other
accessories. Vintage items may not have an identification
number, however most authentic garments and accessories will
have a proper label regardless of the era in which it was
Designer items are crafted by artisans and are made to last,
so inspect the item closely for quality. This is tricky
with online shopping so read the fine print closely. If it
says "inspired by" or anything of the sort then do not buy
it. Sometimes counterfeit vendors will go overboard to
stress the item's "authenticity", so be wary.
Designer garments, shoes, and accessories come with dust
bags, boxes, garment bags and/or authentication
information. If your item doesn't come with any of these
extras, then it is probably a fake. However, counterfeiters
are now making replicas of these items as well, so inspect
for quality just as you would a dress or handbag.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Trust your instincts, if it's shady, forget about it.
For more information check out these resources:
The above article was provided to Apparel Search by
Borrow the Catwalk.
AntiCounterfeiting Coalition : The touchstone of the
IACC's mission is to combat counterfeiting and piracy by
promoting laws, regulations and directives designed to
render the theft of intellectual property undesirable and
unprofitable. The IACC serves as an umbrella organization,
offering anti-counterfeiting programs designed to increase
protection for patents, trademarks, copyrights, service
marks, trade dress and trade secrets.
Learn about the
Anit-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement
If you were not actually interested in reading about
"Black Market Fashion", maybe you were looking for "Black