I have never owned a fake well, at least knowingly. I have seen many influencers and even businesswomen wear them or buy them. It was inevitable as most women wanted fashion status, and that comes with expensive things. Many were surprised how fashion editors like me don’t wear Prada. Well, first, I was in my 20s, I couldn’t afford it, and second, that’s a total clich√©. Fakes, replicas, call them whatever, is indeed very popular among the fashion crowd, yet no one will ever admit owning a fake. If so, why do we still buy them?

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Does owning a fake make you a fraud?

Working in the fashion industry has taught me a lot. Things like don’t take everyone for granted and don’t trust anything you hear or see. Once I asked my co-worker about how all stylists and regular working girls, or even students, can afford their brands? “Well, what do you think? It’s fakes most of the time. I have some too!” – she said proudly. I was shocked because I always saw her as someone very picky and quality orientated. She tried to convince me to buy one too. “No one will ever notice. I have good contacts.” – she said to me reassuringly. But it wasn’t about someone knowing the fact, but about me, feeling fake. Like Carrie from Sex & The City once said: “Even if everyone else knew it was real, I’d always know that mine came from a cardboard box in a trunk.”

How to buy a fake Prada?

I am sure anyone who dreamt of a big brand in their closet has done their research on how to get one for the lowest price possible. And for some, it’s more like diving deep into the darknet and buying something, well, fashion-illegal. First, I found a subreddit of proud women sharing their blings (of course fake) to other members and carefully reviewing best bags and manufacturers. Don’t get me wrong. It’s challenging to get an excellent fake. And it will definitely cost you. For example, a fake YSL bag starts from $600. Also, $150 for smaller leather goods and $2000 “super fake.” The process is difficult, as you have to contact the salesperson via WeChat and negotiate the price, quality, and delivery time. If you feel lost already, don’t worry, the members will guide you to buying the best possible replica on the market. After, don’t forget to snap and send your trophy. I remember one woman proudly showing off her impressive collection of 16 fake Chanel bags. 

Also, there are these weird shops without a name in the city center for those looking to buy brands cheaper than this. They don’t actually say their items are fake, more like “inspired by”. If you smile and act cool, they will show you something hidden and exactly like the original, usually without a label. They also prefer cash.

Photo by Adli Wahid on Unsplash

Culture of expensive

With many fakes circulating the fashion economy, there’s also a natural interest in topics like how to spot a fake or do they really look legit? And more importantly, what it does to our economy? According to the OECD, about 5% of goods imported into the European Union in 2013 were fakes. 

In 2018 Forbes said that counterfeiting was the largest criminal enterprise in the world. With China being the leader in producing fakes, local designers and brands feel like they don’t have the leverage against this giant. With online shops popping every second, it isn’t easy to trust anyone who sells big brands. Even Birkenstock and Swatch quit Amazon because of their inability to compete with their own fakes. You can forget those weird guys trying to sell you the bag in the parking lot. Now everything is digital. My advice? Question everything!

Why do we still buy fakes?

Even though it is illegal in the US and some other parts of the world to sell fake designer products, it’s not illegal to buy one. People are still wasting their energy on finding the perfect fake instead of focusing on earning more. It’s maybe like a get-quick-rich illusion when people believe that things will make them better. 

There are alternatives for those with a budget. Once, I tried to buy a Bottega Veneta purse from a secondhand app Vestiaire Collective. Thank God they had an authentification process, and my lovely dream bag was sent off back to the seller just before the company refunded my money. The letter nicely explained that the team couldn’t authenticate the bag. In other words, I was stopped from getting a fake. That was the first and the last time I tried to buy not from the designer.

My wish for every person out there checking the fake is to remember that it’s better to be authentic even if you’re wearing GAP.

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