10 May 2013

What’s In A Fake?

 

Fake or Real? Do you? Would you? Could you?

Yesterday’s conversation sparked the thought about fakes… whether I like them, approve of them… want them or wear them…

Fakes are tricky… What constitutes a fake?

Many are obvious… like the Louis Vuitton bag or the Chanel wallet picked up on the sidewalks of New York or in the markets of Shanghai…

What about copy cat fashion? Cheaper brands that emulate the expensive designers, mass produce the clothing and have it on the shop floor before the catwalks are even dismantled… Are they fakes… or is that just good business?

And then there is fake fur? When the fake is more acceptable than the real thing…

I am on the fence when it comes to fakes…

I am happy to wear the latest style from a budget friendly designer if the quality is acceptable and it suits me… I know it’s a ‘knock off’ but if it stands on it’s own as an addition to my wardrobe, I don’t mind… Like Zara, for instance…  they are clever merchandisers, on the mark and offer very affordable clothing…  The pieces are copies, that’s without question.. but would you call that a fake?

I would rather have the real thing when it comes to bags and wallets… although there are some amazing leather fakes available now (sans logo)…. and I don’t have a problem with those… when they are in the ‘style of’ rather than an exact copy… Style and quality should be the bottom line when it comes to buying…

Can you tolerate a fake… or is that a total NO NO? xv

 

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46 Comments

Sarah B

I agree with you Vicki, I am ok with similar looking items, but not counterfeit. I would rather not own something than own a shabby replica that has no doubt been constructed in a sweatshop.
The only fake I believe in is fur. I am completely anti fur! Faux furs are very good these days :)

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Vicki

Counterfeit is not cool…
When I think of fake fur I am reminded of a crazy jacket I bought a few years ago in H&M in Paris… I thought it was really chic, really fun… and that I looked super stylish!!
My family and one very dear girlfriend told me otherwise in no uncertain terms… :) The jacket went… ( fortunately it was not a long term investment) after the teasing they gave me… and I am sticking to wool from now on!
P.S… I still liked it… ;)

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Catherine

I don’t think that people who can’t afford designer originals should be relegated to wearing Mao suits or sackcloth or something. A silhouette might be originally put out there by a designer, and why wouldn’t others want to adopt it, even if it isn’t with the exact same clothes?
I am against fakes that use the brand name or logo of a designer. That is intellectual property theft and fraud–passing off something cheap for something expensive. What Zara and Mango do is adapt new looks to the mainstream consumer, and hurray for them.
My daughter, who is 8, has been attacked at school by another girl for having Chuck Taylor-style shoes that don’t have the logo. “Manon says they’re fake,” my daughter told me. I answered that they clearly were real shoes and that if Manon’s parents are OK with paying a ton of money for a logo on shoes that she will grow out of in three months, that’s their problem. I wore shoes like that 40 years ago as a kid, maybe they actually were Converse, but they sure didn’t cost the equivalent of €60.
We tie-dyed some T-shirts, and my daughter was thrilled. Again, she was criticized by classmates because they were ordinary old T-shirts and didn’t have a “real” brand. These are third graders, for crying out loud.

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Vicki

It’s a shame that young children are even aware of brands… how times have changed…

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Francine gardner

I am really on the fence on this one.I would not buy a fake designer product with copied logo etc…I was not even tempted in China as it is so much in your face and all the shops on canal Street in New York are shut down.As for counterfeit, i would not even think about it, to me it is like forging art work and selling it as original. However, when in Paris I shop at Synequanone, and I know the clothes are right of the runway and made in Paris…then i go to Bon Marche and get the real thing. Mass market copiers have almost brought my business to the ground and it is almost impossible to fight them.

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Vicki

The problem is that cheap prices and massive quantities have driven down anything that is made by artisans… I find this very sad.. and even though I accept that we need competition and we can’t always pay the prices for individual pieces… we will inevitably loose as our artists are forced to work in other ways…

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The Enchanted Home

I don’t mind things that have been INSPIRED by brands, like Zara as an example but do not like outright copies, I feel like if you cannot afford the real thing then why buy it, theres so many great looking bags, shoes, watches,etc….in so many price ranges. Just my own two cents, I wouldn’t feel comfortable walking around with a bag as a example that I know is not “real”, but lines like Zara I think are great and fun to mix in with higher end pieces.

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Vicki

There are so many fabulous bits to have… at all points… I guess we could say that a ‘fake’ shows a lack of imagination..

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Anita Rivera

Bonjour Vicki!

Again, another wonderful topic that can also transcend fashion! In my opinion, it all boils down to being AUTHENTIC in our creative endeavors, whether it’s how we dress, decorate our homes, treat other people, live our lives. I would much rather sport a real fur than a fake one (I have been tempted to get one for our unbearably cold winters but fear some people would be angry at me for wearing real fur), I would much rather fill my home with REAL vintage or antique accessories, and if I cannot wear a well-made article of clothing whether it is a brand name or not, then why bother buying something with a chic label if it is obvious that it is a fake! And it is a real shame to see so many young children be trapped in the war of the labels. Yesterday while I was in a fifth grade class, a child had her portable phone out (they are not permitted in class!) and a boy came by her desk, looked at her phone, then dubbed her device STUPID, because it was not the brand he thinks is the best.

Simplicity, authenticity, grace and careful selection of what we use to mark our style is always a good idea…

And I am honored my dear that you linked your readers to my post! I could not help but mention you within the cadre of my beloved Provence and your book? A sheer delight for the senses and the heart. I am so excited to have you be a part of our party.

And yes, I was going to ask you if you would write a note to the winner, but I did not want to impose on you. I will however, let you know who the winner is, and she will be THRILLED to receive a lovely note from you!

Have a wonderful week, et à la semaine prochaine – en France!

Anita

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Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen

I’m with you Vicki. Similar looking items are okay when it’s a fashion trend. But bags and wallets are different entirely. I remember seeing ads in magazines in France discouraging fakes of designer items such as LV. Do I remember that it was against the law? It’s been a while since I’ve read a French magazine :)

Happy Mother’s Day to you. I hope you have a lovely weekend.
Sam

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MJH Design Arts

I’m not a big consumers. So when I buy, I always go for quality. A fake???? Not so sure. But something with great style and construction and materials that is an echo of a famous designer–sounds good to me. Great post–we need to have a lot of conversations on this topic. Remember, many of Ralph Lauren home products–furniture, fabrics, etc. appear to be simply reimaginations of classic pieces. Are they copies? knock-offs? Most would not think so.
Happy Mother’s Day!!!
Mary

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Vicki

Thanks Mary..
There are very few things in the world that are truly original… it’s all in the way it’s re-interpreted…

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Pam@over50feeling40

I am completely against fakes, but I like to search out those producing quality, affordable items similar to the more expensive designers. I live in San Antonio and a couple of years ago, the top designers won a law suit against a little flea market here which was selling mass quantities of fakes. I agree with them…they have a right to their money and to protect their brands. Also, with thrift and ebay, it is possible to find originals at affordable prices.

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Katherine

Fashion is about being copied. As soon as you say ‘I can’t believe that’s back in style I wore it X number of years ago’ – that’s a copy. From the top couture houses there comes a trickle-down effect with other producers creating their version of a silhouette {Donna Karan is notorious for copying too close to a house original}.
I appreciate the trickle down effect that brings ready-to-wear to an affordable level. I like that other fashion producers can take the look and put a different spin on the style. But if it looks like an almost exact copy, I stay away from it…. because it then looks contrived.

Still wanting the real Chanel 2.5 handbag and a Classic Chanel Jacket – on my one-day list.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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Veronica Roth

I must admit I don’t like copy anything very much. Having said that I love original designs made by…my children or anyone with an imagination. So much better to strive for originality than to plug in with the herd and wear this month’s ridiculous something because it’s being worn by everyone. :)

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Peggy Braswell

Fakes! ugh! RH & PB regularly come in my shop to get ideas and then knock them off-I will see the item 6 months later, the most sincere form of flattery, I am always looking for original ideas. Fake purses, belts they abound in LA downtown, always a lawsuit in the making. I will take the real thing, please! great discussion xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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Vicki

Yes.. I agree, Peggy… we can only find that kind of copying as flattery… :)

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Hallie

Vicki thank you for posting a very important topic. From what I have learned, there is a big difference between manufacturers knocking off couture lines and moderating the styles for the public (versus couture buyer who spends from $4,000 to $20,000 or more on a dress) and copies of such items. The problem comes with brand knock-offs of wallets and bags sold on the streets of major cities.

Interpol and other world wide agencies have identified certain specific items such as counterfeit cigarettes and leather goods as being connected to what is called the terror-pipeline. In other words, terrorist organizations are now in the counterfeit business and finding the profits wonderfully rewarding. The merchandise is apparently moved along some of the same routes as are the drug channels.

I know you didn’t intend for the subject to become vast and serious, but there it is. We are all connected . You did something important by posing an innocent question. I am only recently aware of this connection.

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Vicki

I must admit to my naiveté on this subject also Hallie… I never thought they were legitimate vendors but I had no idea of the ramifications…

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Jillayne

I dislike the whole fake trend – I think the people who buy the fake wallets and bags etc. do it because they aren’t after the thing itself, they don’t see the value in it at all… what they are seeking is the status they believe it will give them, and the only value it has for them is in that.
I think for me, I would rather have an authentic cheap thing than a knock off. As for clothing, the only designer I know anything about really is Chanel so I’m afraid I can’t spot a clothing knock off – what I do know is that I find it very disappointing when talented designers sell themselves out to mass marketers; it seems to me there are those who would rather make a lot of money than be true to their style and design aesthetic, whether it’s from mass production in a third world country to inferior materials or construction techniques.
What I am trying hard to do, so hard, is to resist the impulse to buy the cheap trend, and shop at local, independent clothing stores that carry quality clothing – we are so lucky to have a couple in our small town and we fiercely support them. I am thinking about quality and timeless more now and thanks to that, I’m happy to pay a little more for something that will last – I so love your fashion posts!
Yesterday you mentioned brands…. when we were in Europe a few years ago I wanted to buy only one thing in memory of that first trip – something by Chanel… but a bag at Dior kept catching my eye instead and even though I had been bound and determined to have something from the House of Chanel,the Dior followed me home…

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Connie

What an interesting and thoughtful post just like yesterday’s! I like faux fur as one of your other readers do. I just love the fur vests, scarves etc! Handbags, watches are probably another story. However, I love the style of some of the popular handbags – Birkin, Chanel, Dior – I would never be able to justify spending the money for one of these, but if I could find a similar style, I would be so excited! I don’t think that one would call this fake though. Very interesting to know that France has banned LV fakes. Your posts are so thought provoking!

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Vicki

Thanks Connie… I seem to remember an add at Marseille airport alerting incoming visitors to LV fakes… I can’t quite remember the wording but it was a warning in the nicest possible way!

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emily

I really think as the clip you posted yesterday from the movie, “The Devil Wears Prada” tells the story. Designers expect there to be a trickle down effect when it comes to fashion. They show women wearing Maxi dresses in their shows and eventually they will be selling Maxi dresses at Target and The Gap that season. I agree with the other commentors on this post too. I wear T-shirts and jeans from J Crew and The Gap because as wardrobe staple items I cannot justify paying $300.00 for a T-shirt, but I do not believe in buying counterfit copies of purses. The sweatshops that make counterfit items exploit women and children and should NOT be supported, but a good alternative is to buy the REAL THING in a Resale shop. “Vintage” is in! When you wear something vintage the likelihood of someone wearing it when you do is slim to none, but you have the thrill of wearing “designer.” Resale is a great way to recycle your own “designer” goods too. Jackie Kennedy O.I have read was a great reseller. Reselling is good economics for your community too! I love your discussions Vicki, they really get you thinking!!!
Emily
Dallas,Texas

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Vicki

I have re-cycled a lot of my clothes in the past… still do… sometimes I regret it, but mostly I enjoy having the chance to find something new.. :)

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lisa thomson

I agree with all here. Knock offs with stolen logos have always been a no no to me. I know lots of women who in the late 90’s were keen on buying these products and walking around with fake labels. Even back then, I said no way. If I can’t afford the real thing I won’t walk around with a fake. Fashion is like art and music, no? It’s all been written, drawn, painted and designed before and that’s okay. That’s why we reinvent and make it our own. I love Ralph Lauren and his philosophy. He is an example of reinventing the past and making it modern. LOVE this conversation, thanks Vicki :)

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Esther-D. Abad

Interesting discussion!, I lean slightly and authentic treasures is persosnales cabinet to which only each of us we value many or few, anyway, but .. but … when at a market in Beijing find a magnificent imitation Longchamp in all their high models € 0.50 you owe-you resisitir …? I do not, I’m weak.
Happy weekend find Vicki.
Esther-D. Abad

(Google translate)

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D. A. Wolf

No counterfeits under any circumstances. Love certain brands, but… it’s not what’s important to me. I love what is quality; it needn’t be expensive. (It helps to have a good eye for a great deal, and enjoy the process.)

Now, when it comes to shoes… (*sigh*) ;)

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Zsuzsa

Hi Vicky,

Great topic. First thing that came to my mind about fake vs. real is a Ted Talk by Paul Bloom, “The Origins of Pleasure”. It tackles the same question, mainly, do we still enjoy an object the same even if we know it is a copy? Here is the link: http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_bloom_the_origins_of_pleasure.html
To translate it into fashion, I believe to copy a style to make it more affordable is fine, as long as it is not too literal. To make deliberately fake items with logos is just plain wrong and there should be better enforced laws against it.

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Vicki

THank you for the link… I enjoy the Ted talks.. so shall follow up on this one…

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Romladolcevita

Here in Italy one can find a lot of fake and pretty well done to. I like to mix a nice real bag with Zara or H&M. A good bag and shoes can get you a long way even if you are wearing something simple and inexpensive.

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Charity

Vicki, thank you for raising this important issue.
I cannot do fake. We were brought up with the attitude of quality over quantity and anything truly worth having is worth saving for. I would rather have a half dozen beautifully crafted handbags that could be potentially handed down to my own little girl. I am okay with mid-range clothing brands that are well made and of reputable manufacturing practices, but sadly this seems to be more and more rare. Less is more and true style cannot be bought or branded. Focus on being classically chic and then add in the trendy bits for a bit of flare and one can’t go wrong. At least that’s my take on it and how I intend to bring up my own children. Rampant consumerism and an insatiable hunger for the latest thing has got to end sometime!
Thanks again and keep up the thought-provoking posts!
Charity<3

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Vicki

We do live in an easy-come-easy-go society… ‘less is more’ is a much more valuable approach… where quality trumps every time…

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Hallie

I know it is the end of the day in France but we have a few hours left in NY and I jut wanted to say how much I enjoyed everyone’s responses. They are thoughtful and meaningful and I learn something new quite often (not to mention from the blogger herself) but I am especially moved by most of the principled individuals who have written here.
Who ever thought that blogging would provide such a connection to others and we enjoy it through your vision.
Many thanks, Vicki.

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Vicki

Blogging is a wonderful way to connect and I think even more so these days as our use and understanding of the internet grows.
I want French Essence to be a place we can all share… meet and discuss… I am just the moderator here… :)

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Catherine

I just listened to a fascinating podcast about fashion and economics. It talks about why fashion benefits from copying (not counterfeiting but adopting “looks”)–it stimulates innovation. It talks about how things like color and shape enter our consciousness from many directions and may inspire multiple people in slightly different ways at the same time.
Planet Money is a program on National Public Radio in the U.S. and presents economics in a very approachable way. I never miss it (and I live in France!).
Here’s the show on fashion: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/05/10/182928856/episode-457-why-pink

Reply

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