Fashion fakes are illicit global business (Reuters)

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    (source: Reuters)
    Fashion fakes are illicit global business

    By Michelle Nichols

    A false door at the back of a cramped New York City store swings open to reveal a secret room lined with fake Prada, Gucci and Fendi bags and wallets.

    "It's very cloak-and-dagger," said a British tourist, who declined to give her name and who was lured to the store by a smooth salesman prowling Canal Street in New York's Chinatown.

    Fake designer bags are part of a $500 billion global trade in counterfeit goods, and U.S. authorities say some of that money funds terrorism.

    In the year between October 2005 and September 2006 the Department of Homeland Security made 14,000 counterfeit goods seizures worth $155 million, almost double the previous year.

    In New York alone the trade was worth $80 billion and costs the city $1 billion a year in lost sales tax revenue.

    "It's virtually all profit and it isn't funding anything good. It is a threat to democracy and a threat to the rule of law," New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told a conference on counterfeiting on February 1.

    Kelly said the group accused of the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 191 people, used proceeds from the sale of fake CDs. U.S. authorities have said a group sells counterfeit goods including fake Viagra to support Hezbollah.

    But while a U.S. crackdown on counterfeit goods has pushed fakes into back roooms, in Asia sales are more blatant with markets from Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok and Beijing filled with fake brands including Prada, Burberry and Louis Vuitton.


    The United States says China is the No. 1 offender when it comes to counterfeit goods, with others including South Korea, Pakistan and India. The issue has become a major trade dispute

    In Beijing, fake designer bags bearing a slight variation on the real names -- such as Gochi and Dolge & Gabanna -- are openly displayed at markets, while better quality fake goods, that can cost more than $100, are sold in secret stores, the location of which are passed on by word of mouth.

    "These are very good quality," said a young market vendor in the Chinese capital, who declined to give her name. "If you buy more than ten, I'll give you a big discount."

    China says it is committed to protecting intellectual copyright, but asks for understanding from the international community because it cannot eradicate the problem overnight.

    Premier Wen Jiabao told Reuters last September that China needed more time to deal with the problem and admitted that China had only woken up to the problem in recent years.


    While China receives most of the global criticism about counterfeit goods, market vendors throughout Asia seem to agree the best fake handbags are manufactured in South Korea.

    Like in New York, some stores in Seoul have taken to displaying bags with generic logos that are then substituted for a designer logo when the bag is sold.

    "We do not deal with Chinese products. For fake bags, South Korean products are the best. We export these products to Japan," said a merchant, who declined to be named, at one of the oldest markets in downtown Seoul called Namdaemoon.

    At street level, the bags openly displayed at Namdaemoon are clearly fakes, even to a person who knows little about luxury goods, and the prices are cheap. A knock-off Hermes bag costing around $45, much less than the normal price tag of up to several thousand dollars.

    The so-called "Class A" fakes are hidden in secret locations and not widely available. These bags are displayed with caution and can cost several hundred dollars.

    Valerie Salembier, publisher of women's magazine Harper's Bazaar, said it was important for consumers to know what their money is funding. "Fakes are not fashionable," she said.

    But the British tourist in New York just shrugs her shoulders when asked where she thinks the $60 she has just spent on a fake Gucci actually goes. "In their pockets, I guess," she said, referring to the owner of the store.

    "The real thing is so overpriced, why spend thousands of dollars when you can get one for much, much less," she said.

    (Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing and Jang Sera in Seoul)
  2. thank you for posting this article!
    i was trying to explain about the revenue of counterfeit items to my mom and am not glad to have an article to show her as well!

    wonderful job!
  3. Gosh.... I knew about the China trade, surprised by the South Korea trade in particular they ship to Japan.... I just bought some bags of, everyone has confirmed they are authentic (and I am pretty sure they are) considering they have direct links to their shops online... however it is slightly alarming....
  4. Ugh..this is so stupid...that reminds me that these fakes sites have no shame whatsoever..this is what I found on a fake site (I took out the name of the site):

    It's this kind of thinking that makes it bad for the ones who sell authentic bags. And it's really nice of them to suggest you trick someone into thinking you bought them an authentic bag.
  5. When I went back to Asia, Fakes make me think of stop buying brandname bags as it looks so close to real, cheaper, and if you dress well ,most people will not notice your bag is fake.They copied from LV to Kipling bags.

    Anyway, it doesn't mean I will buy fakes. If I have no money, I will go for any high-street bag with great designs but absolutly no fakes. It has no meaning for buying a designer bag but it doesn't original made by them.
  6. I have been looking for a eBay seller (She lived nearby my home and one day a Parcel Force man left her parcel with me and at the front of box stated her shop's name). I went to login to eBay and found LVs, Fendi and Chole' bag for sale. Parcel is from China and she is Chinese. As I ever chated with her, she told me she sells stuffs on eBay and supplies by her cousin in China. I am sure she sold fake bags but you know everyone confirmed they are authentic.

    Some bag cost at $2000-3000

    I won't stated her name as she is my neighbour and I don't wanna destroy her business :sweatdrop: .
  7. Thanks for the article! This is very good to know, and I hope the message gets passed along!
  8. Valerie Salembier, publisher of women's magazine Harper's Bazaar,"Fakes are not fashionable,".

    Thats all there is too it! Why would you even go there? For fakes that cost hundreds of dollars? I dont understand the appeal to that when, for a little more, you know you are getting the real thing.!
  9. that girl who shrugged off wearing a fake gucci...

    i just would love to give her a wake up call!
  10. Gah I wan't to slap that girl who bought a fake :yucky: But all that about lost tax revenue is a load of BS- people who buy fakes wouldn't just walk into a boutique and pay 15x more for an authentic product if fakes didn't exist.
  11. And I agree that people wouldn't buy fakes if they weren't imitating a designer brand. If they were really interested in getting a less costly bag, they'd buy a no-name bag, not something obviously masquerading as designer. It's completely hypocritical.
  12. Its true Fake Bags MADE IN SOUTH KOREA are the best in terms of quality.

    China made has poor quality.

    I can't distinguish a fake LV ( MADE IS S. KOREA) to a real LV anymore.
  13. "The real thing is so overpriced, why spend thousands of dollars when you can get one for much, much less?" she said.

    Spoken like a true scumbag!! I don't suppose she lost any loved one (Or anyone she even knew or remotely cared about) in 911!
  14. I think choosing to buy fakes comes down to two things:

    1. Being educated.
    Most people my age (16-18) that I talk to, don't even know that fakes are
    2. Morality & Choosing the lesser of two evils.
    Deciding which you would rather give your money to, greedy business men or people that support terrorism.
  15. Speaking of fakes I went to this new store nearby after reading about it in the local paper. Article went on how the owner is able to sell designer bags at a affortdable price as she owns the building and has a small overhead. It went on as to say all the bags are indeed authentic, coach, chanel, prada to name a few. Well of course I had to check it out. Let me say, a few years ago I did purchase some fakes before I knew better! So I finally got there yesterday and thanks to this site I was able to tell right away, FAKES! One LV I ? the sales rep where is the tag inside w/#? She said Oh this tag and pointed to a hand sawn leather label. I didn't go into it w/her but did not buy anything. There were no authencity cards or dustbags either. I am seriously thinking of turning them in. I even held up a coach and said "is this real?" Yes it is. Another customer was shopping and I quietly asked her if she was familiar w/coach and asked her if she thought they were real. She said they were. Let me tell you the price of the Chanel tote was about $125.