Monday, October 8, 2012

Fashion Issues - Counterfeit Merchandise

Hello, and Happy Monday!

Today, I want to take the time to address an issue that is a pretty big deal : counterfeit fashion and cosmetics.

It seems harmless, purchasing a bag with the Louis Vuitton logo for a super small fraction of the cost. But purchasing fake fashion merchandise and cosmetics is wrong, and harmful to you, the consumer, in the long run.

I have been swept up in the whole knock-off bag thing before. Having visited New York a few times, I did happen to enevtiably run into Canal Street, a.k.a. Counterfeit Central. My first time, I was 16, and thought it was marvelous that you could purchase a Coach handbag for $25. But with education and maturity, I retired my knockoffs to boxes in my garage. Here's why :

1. YOU the consumer pay taxes every year that are a result of the counterfeit business. Yep, the counterfeiting problem in the United States alone costs tax payers over $2 Billon per year. So while you are giving cold hard cash to the sketchy guy in a van on Canal street, you are paying taxes for this. Suddenly, that bag just got more expensive.

2. It is ethically wrong. They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but in the case of counterfeiting, this is NOT the case. Because knock-off items are not manufactured with nearly the same quality, it is an insult to the designer who spends so long designing high-quality, luxurious items. Sure you may idolize Marc Jacobs, but you are essentially disrespecting him buy purchasing a fake one of his bags, instead of perhaps saving for a while to purchase an authentic one. Saving and working hard for the authentic item would show more loyalty to the brand.

3. You look, well, ridiculous. Yes, most people who can afford real, authentic designer items can spot a fake from a mile away. Although nobody may directly say it to your face, you will get laughed at and judged. Buying couterfeits to show that you have more money than you do just makes you look desperate, and worse than if you were poor.

So now that you have an idea of WHY you shouldn't purchase these items, here are some ways to spot fakes so you don't purchase them on accident :

1. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Louis Vuitton will never sell a bag for $100, MAC will never sell a brush for $3. If it sounds like a dream deal, you'd be wasting your money.

2. Where you purchase the bag. The only way to guaruntee that you are purchasing a %100 authentic item is to purchase the item from the official website, one of the designers stores or outlets, or an authorized retailer (such as a department store). Never trust an online retailer like Ebay for designer items, and keep in mind that no designer will sell their merchandise in a sketchy warehouse or from the back of the van. If you have doubt about a retailer, contact the company first hand and ask if the seller is authorized.

3. Look for mistakes. Common tell tale signs of fakies are things like : mispelled logos, poor crafstmanship, imperfections such as things that aren't centered, cheap-feeling materials, cosmetics with odd features unlike authentic versions (i.e. extra compartment for sponge tip applicator for a "Mac Eyeshadow" is FAKE)

If you come across a fake retailer, gather as many details about it, and report it to the designer by mail or email. You can find information on their websites.

In closing, I know it's tempting. Most of us love the style and luxury of designer items, but often cannot afford the rather hefty price tag. That is simply the nature of the beast. My philosophy is that if you want it bad enough, you will work to get it. I can promise you that working hard and saving will be so rewarding when you have the item in your hand, a much better feeling than having a luxury item that you and your friends know isn't real. The truth is, counterfeiting is a serious issue that needs to be taken more seriously. You want to support fashion? Don't purchase these cheap items, and report those who sell. Honestly, a knockoff bag for $50 seems like a great deal, but you could get a nice bag that maybe isn't 'designer" for $50, rather than the cheaply made counterfeit.

I hope some of you found these tips helpful, or that you learned something!

X's and O's,

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