Counterfeit Branding – Flattery or Filching?

Fake BagsThe desire to own goods in a world saturated by images of such temptations can be overwhelming. The attraction extends beyond an items tangible functionality and moves into the pleasure zone. Do covetous desires for the latest designer ‘must have’ item cloud ones moral judgement? Kate Pierson talks frankly about counterfeit branding, the impact it has on the economy and also asks what stance you have on this issue.

Call me a high maintenance fashion diva but there is something alluring and empowering about the mystical symbols or iconography adorning a delicious leather bag or silk scarf. At times, I’m sure the label loving fashionista in all of us envies those who indulge in these guilty pleasures. But what of those who are actually guilty of indulging in a pleasure of the counterfeit kind?

In today’s globalised world, a brand is a statement and a branded piece is the ultimate commodity purchase. I am personally thankful for globalisation as it has revolutionised how we interact with the world around us and has brought fashion fantasies to our fingertips. But unfortunately, there is a downside to this technological innovation: the crime syndicate known to us as the ‘black market’.

As a lucrative part of the black market, counterfeit branding and clothing is ubiquitous and is infiltrating the commercial arena at significant cost to our economies. Worse, our much loved international and local designers who make our fashion dreams, realities, are having their own dreams and reputations compromised. A report generated by the Organisation for Economic Development estimated that in 2005 alone, up to 200 billion dollars of US international trade could have been in counterfeit and illegally copied goods. Staggering statistics right? Well this problem is in our own Native backyard.

Forget the puffed sleeves or the neon pink socks of the 1980’s, wearing counterfeit clothing when you know it is a knock off is the ultimate fashion faux pas. Unfortunately for some of us, we are tricked into believing that what we are purchasing is authentic and original and in this case we need to be mindful of where and whom we are buying our clothing from.

As fellow fashionistas what can we do to help? Please take a stand and say no to counterfeit brands. Just like one person buying, one person resisting is significant. Take advantage of online clothing rentals (Best invention ever! Sex and The City breathed life into this practise). Rent a bag, a dress or some shoes – this way you can add variety to your wardrobe for a fraction of the price! Have fun and go hunting in your city’s second hand stores – these are like treasure troves full of some unique and beautiful pieces. After all, brands don’t necessarily mean better. Better yet, you can educate yourself on the issues at hand because education promotes understanding and through understanding we can incite change.

Do you think one person can make a difference by exploring and utilising these options or has counterfeit branding proliferated to a point where there is no going back?

The links below will help you on your way!

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