Okay. Let’s be honest. We’ve all seen her. There she is, standing at the bus stop wearing a purse that is supposed to cost $1200 dollars. Is it me or do you want to pull your car over (if you’re not standing right next to her), snatch the purse off of her shoulder and hit her upside the head with it and say, “I know your mama taught you better than that! You ain’t foolin’ nobody!” We’ve all bought one or at least thought about it. There is no bigger controversy or moral debate in the world of fashion than this so-called fashion faux pas. Yes, my fellow Clutchettes, we’re talking about the infamous Knock-Off.
Mine was the Classic Louis Vuitton Pochette, which retailed for about $285. I bought it out of the trunk of this man’s car in Downtown L.A.’s infamous Alley for 20 bucks. Its funny how he walked up to me asking if I wanted to see some purses as though he was selling crack or something. I thought why not! As he stood lookout (as if the SWAT team and FBI were watching him from the adjacent building waiting to make their move) I sifted through the numerous luxury names of Prada, Gucci, LV and Burberry until I found a decent one. I was thinking the smaller the better. Most people who know me are aware that I can’t afford a $2,000 handbag, so I figured I’d stick with something that I was more than likely to purchase. After buying my “crackbag,” I actually felt ashamed. I guess that’s why the Knock Off (KO) remains hidden in the back of my closet like a stack of porno magazines. It betrayed the oath I took once I was inducted into the sorority of “Alpha Clothes Addict Omega Rho.” I pledged to my fellow sorors that I would covet what I adorn my body with at all times. Nor will I bite the hand that feeds me, being that designers look out for me and my best interest. They care about what looks good on me and how I feel when wearing their creations. They decide on colors, fabrics, cuts, stitches all in the name of me and Clutchettes everywhere! How dare I betray them and all their hard work, long hours, bitch fits, Xanax popping and coke binges? My big brothers and sisters do not take their jobs lightly. Or do they?
It has been said that when it comes to knockoffs, no one is getting hurt by it therefore making it a victim-less crime. These luxury brands target a segment of society that is affluent. The people who are buying knockoff purses can’t afford the real thing. They don’t believe that anyone is being hurt by this activity. But name-brand companies and authorities attribute other ills to counterfeiting—tarnishing of brand integrity, the use of child labor to make knockoffs, and risks to public health and safety from fake items that are substandard or made with dangerous substances. It’s funny how we are quick to jump on the backs of Kathy Lee Gifford or Martha Stewart if there’s even the mention of their goods being manufactured by children in sweatshops but we tend to turn our heads when it comes to having the most up to date fashion accessories. Hypocritical ain’t it?
There are those that would argue that they’re “getting a really good deal.” Why splurge on the real thing right? Well, a deal is defined as a bargain, something offered on sale at favorable terms. It is also defined as a cheap purchase; something offered or bought at less than the normal price. Knockoffs are NOT ON SALE. You are not getting a deal for something that is full-priced right? To me, a really good deal is when you go to purchase a Mercedes Benz for $40,000 and talk the salesman down to $35,000. If a Prada handbag was on sale for 50% off or marked down from $690 to $190, then that’s a deal. It’s buying something that’s entirely original in creation, design, manufacture, marketing and sale. It’s the whole the glass is half empty or half full bit. You may be able to convince others that you have a designer handbag but you will always know that your bag is a fake. For some women, that’s all that matters.
Now, if you’re like me and you have rent, a car note, student loans and water/power/gas bills to pay, you probably don’t see an original Chanel Tote in the near future so you may be considering buying a Knockoff. For heaven’s sake, please don’t wear a bad one. The best way to go about finding a good replica is knowing what the authentic product looks like. Go to the luxury brand store or visit high-end retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Saks 5th Avenue and check out the details of the original. Inspect their straps, zippers and the size/shape of their logos. Designer bags have clear and distinct logos. Seams are evenly spaced and the fabric or leather is never puckered. Zippers do not get stuck and snaps don’t come lose. A designer bag will last a lifetime. If you truly want to determine whether a handbag you’ve purchased is authentic or not, most manufacturers will tell you to send it to their headquarters and they will send you a letter of authentication. When they authenticate a bag, a knowledgeable individual will compare the serial numbers to verify that style of bag was actually manufactured at that time in that factory.
I guess it comes down to an issue of people’s morals and values and this has truly been a battle between good and evil for me. The little angel on the right side of my shoulder says I should stay away from KO’s because of the loss of brand integrity. I’ll lose confidence in names that I’ve become accustomed to know and trust—as well as the fact that I feel as though I’ve been hoodwinked. If you can’t afford it, then dammit, you starve like the people who can afford it except their incentive is to lose weight…ours is to get the new Marc Jacobs Duffel (You ain’t got to lie Craig! I’ve missed plenty of cable bill payments to buy a new pair of Gucci Platform shoes so don’t be all shocked!) The little devil on the left side of my shoulder says it’s unfair for only the rich, wealthy and affluent to wear quality and fashionable merchandise. Hey, I’m fashionable, too aren’t I? Don’t my favorite designers make fashion for me too? Fashion has been presented as “wearable art” and in some cases we feel a certain way when we adorn designer goods. Should I be a millionaire in order to be good enough to wear a $1200 handbag or should I just fake it till I make it?
Did you know…
1. It is illegal; selling or buying more than two bags is considered trafficking.
2. Counterfeiters steal intellectual property and violate copyright laws.
3. Counterfeit factories use forced child labor and sweatshops.
4. The FBI considers it a serious crime with implications for public safety and security.
5 Counterfeiters do not follow environmental regulations or safety guidelines.
6. Counterfeiting is detrimental to the United States economy and all of us. Business losses to
illegal counterfeits are estimated to exceed $250 billion per year.
7. Fake bags are made with poor quality materials and inferior craftsmanship.
Counterfeiters often use the cheapest material available and no quality control.
8. A typical fake designer bag sells for under $40 in New York City.
To learn more about Knock-offs please visit www.knowknockoffs.com