Published: July 15, 2020
Pictured: Iconic designs from Chanel and Louis Vuitton that are commonly copied by counterfeiters: Chanel Classic Flap and Boy Bag, and Louis Vuitton LV Monogram
It’s a 600 billion dollar industry that promotes child labor and sweatshops, funding terrorists and drug cartels. Fakes account for up to 7% of global trade today, and counterfeits have deeply penetrated the luxury fashion industry as copycats are getting increasingly skilled at knocking off designer brands. Governments have tried to crack down on counterfeiting, with some European countries even making the purchase of counterfeit goods punishable by law, however the global consumption of fakes still persists.
The problem is not only with people who wish to knowingly buy fakes because the real thing is too expensive. Rather, it is a combination of modern day fashion industry trends and the technology of online shopping. Designers’ tendencies to noticeably mark their products with their logos makes it incredibly easy for copycats to do the same, and even more tempting to shoppers who want to own the logo. There are also numerous discount websites that drive online consumers to always search for deals and discounts even as they shop for luxury designer brands. That motivation to find lower prices inevitably pushes those consumers to end up on websites selling fake products at these lower prices. And with the production of counterfeits becoming so advanced, there have even been cases of designer retail stores experiencing return fraud, or accepting returns of what was actually a fake bag—only to pass the undetected fake return onto the next customer as the real thing.
Pictured: Close up of Chanel's Classic 2.55 Flap (100% authentic), frequently targeted by counterfeiters for its iconic style. When authenticating such bags it is important to note how the CC logo overlaps on the closure (also see the stamp in the upper left corner of the CC lock), analyze the stitching patterns on the diamond quilting and check the holograms. These three areas are where counterfeiters tend to make mistakes, so inspect your bags carefully before purchasing.
Counterfeits aren’t going away anytime soon; laws cannot possibly be effective in stopping such an ambiguous industry. How would one prove that someone knowingly bought a fake, as opposed to just making an uninformed decision? Many fashion experts believe the answer is more consumer education. With more and more consumers becoming conscious of the atrocious conditions in fast fashion and counterfeit factories, as well as the horrible crime syndicates the fake industry promotes, the less this terrible industry will affect our beloved luxury fashion. Consumers need to understand that luxury brands will rarely, if ever, offer discounts on their products, and if the price is too good to be true, it likely is a fake. Louis Vuitton, for example, never marks down their handbags in order to preserve their value and limit their production.
Pictured left: Louis Vuitton LV Monogram Piano Tote; right: Louis Vuitton Damier Print Neverfull Tote. Both the LV Monogram and Damier Azur print are iconic styles which exude luxury and are easily recognizable from a distance, which is why counterfeiters frequently choose to copy them. Authentic Louis Vuitton bags retain their high resale value not only because they're made of the utmost quality, but also because they are incredibly durable. Fun fact, the material Louis Vuitton uses in its bags is a proprietary coated canvas, which was originally used on their signature trunks since the 1800s; engineered for durability and class. Counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags rarely get it right: their leather is flimsy and their monograms/prints have no texture. Furthermore, every stitch on authentic LV bags is impeccable, and each bag has a distinguishable year marking. Be on the lookout for these giveaways if you have any doubts about your bag's authenticity.
What is the best way then to avoid buying counterfeits? You could opt for lesser quality, fast fashion brands—but then instead of supporting an industry that promotes child labor, terrorism and drug cartels you would be supporting one that accounts for 10% of global pollution. That is not to mention the fact that fast fashion brands like H&M also have poor human rights records. The next option would be to purchase luxury designer fashion from retail, but not everyone has brand new Chanel Flap or Hermes Birkin money.
The best way to own luxury designer fashion without the retail price tag is without a doubt authenticated designer resale. You get the same unsurpassed luxury and quality for significantly less than the retail price. You also take a stand against counterfeiters and fast fashion brands by extending the life of and caring for an existing handbag. The only drawback is that some websites and stores still manage to sell counterfeit goods under the guise of authenticity. Therefore, when shopping designer resale, online consumers should always search for websites that have authenticity guarantees, have detailed and informed listings with several pictures of different angles. That is why CODO is proud to offer our authentication service to our customers: we have developed our own databases for distinct authenticity features such as Chanel holograms, Louis Vuitton year markings and Hermes craftsman signatures. Every item available on our website goes through rigorous examination from holograms to stitch patterns and logo placement—we know our luxury fashion, and we are passionate about giving our customers their peace of mind.