CounterfeitIt’s no secret that I love handbags. Need and want is such a fine line.
I have sold designer brand handbags for a US corporation to retailers. I also had the pleasure of owning a consignment store for 10 years that had a minimum of 100 bags at any given time for sale, every one of them authentic. Unfortunately, we encountered plenty of  illegal counterfeit merchandise while running the store. I had to ask myself why do people want to own fake merchandise?

This was a subject that I had to educate myself rather quickly to ensure that we never unknowingly sold something that is not what it’s supposed to be.

First let’s look at the definition of ‘counterfeit’.

  • Dictionary. com states the following: made in imitation of something else with intent to deceive.
  • Wikipedia.org goes into more detail: counterfeit means to imitate something authentic, with the intent to steal, destroy, or replace the original, for use in illegal transactions, or otherwise to deceive individuals into believing that the fake is of equal or greater value than the real thing.

So what exactly does ‘counterfeit’ have to do with theft?
The theft of a name brand handbag design and logo made into an imitation name brand handbag in order to deceive the consumer by making them believe it’s the same quality handbag for less money.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that the counterfeiters stole the design from someone else and had it made in a far-away place by people who were forced to work in horrendous conditions for next to nothing. Money made from counterfeiting is supporting the slave labor of children, human trafficking, and terrorism.

The counterfeit industry rose to prominence during the six seasons of US television comedy Sex and the City. The cast of characters were logo-obsessed. Sex and the City fans wanted Carrie’s Fendi baguette with the double-F’s.

On  August 5, 2001, Sex and the City already in its fourth season sent the market soaring for fake Hermes bags. The bag that starred in the episode was not just any bag. It was an Hermes Birkin bag and Samantha wanted one because it was a status symbol. At that time, there was a four year waiting list for a real Birkin bag. Hermes bags are not mass produced. Each bag is stitched by hand; each one takes 18 hours to make in one of three tiny workshops in France. This is one of the reasons why these bags cost so much.
The take-away from this TV series is that if you can’t wait four years or can’t afford the real thing, you can always purchase a fake on Canal Street.

Today some of most counterfeited fashion brands include Michaels Kors, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Tiffany & Co, Hermes and Fendi. Handbags and wallets are one of the most counterfeited products in the world today.

In my thirst for knowledge on the counterfeit industry, I did a lot of research which helped me to understand what was really going on. The research was astounding and involved an underground world of dirty, dark secrets. As the internet evolved, more and more fake sites started appearing online and that was becoming a huge problem for luxury manufacturers, retailers and customers.

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Next: Counterfeit Equals Theft Part 2

The counterfeit industry is now regarded as THE crime of the 21st century and represents 10 per cent of world trade | globally $1.2 trillion every year (2018).

Sources
Knockoff The Deadly Trade in Counterfeit Goods by Tim Phillips
Pinterest Board: Counterfeit = Theft

October 2019
Consigning Women