Is your fashion real?
Is your fashion real?

New York: Capitalism in today's day and age has deceived us into thinking that we are defined by our material possessions. We attach our self-esteem to the kind of cars we drive, the neighbourhood we live in, the grandeur of our houses (even if it doesn't necessarily feel like home), the labels on our clothes and so on.

Although there's not much one can do usually in case they cannot afford a car or a house they like, they can always resort to cheap, knock-off labels to make themselves feel better. There's an entire industry, like a parallel universe, dedicated to producing cheap duplicates of the hottest fashion brands in the world.

Despite countless raids, airport interceptions, lawsuits by luxury brands and coalitions dedicated to impede the production distribution of these illegal products, like the International Anti-Counterfeit Coalition (IACC), business is booming!

For decades hordes of people have been flocking to places like Fashion Street in Mumbai and Canal Street in New York City to buy their favourite brand/designer's latest fashion, at a fraction of the cost. Counterfeit products have even moved online with the International Trademark Association claiming that $460 billion worth of counterfeit goods were bought and sold last year, with most of the sales happening online, according to Fashionista.

"The online part is growing exponentially," said IACC President Bob Barchiesi to Fashionista.

"Folks will be shopping on marketplaces and think they're buying a secondhand, expensive handbag and it's a fake," explains Barchiesi. "There's so many different distribution channels now online that are readily available for consumers, one, if they're looking to buy fakes, and, two, if they think they're getting a bargain and instead they're getting a fake."

Fake products manufacturers have upped their game significantly as the fake ones have become extremely hard to differentiate from the real ones, especially since an outbreak of 'super-fakes' or 'Triple-A' fakes in the fashion world about five years ago, and they fetch almost as much as the real thing.

"One can sell a counterfeit for a lot more money if the buyer thinks it is a genuine piece at a slight discount," said The RealReal Chief Authenticator Graham Wetzbarger adding that "these bad guys are investing more into making the bag only so they can increase their margin by selling the pieces to folks who don't know better. The con is no longer, 'how cheap can I make a knock-off?' but, rather, 'how much do I have to spend to get someone to pay top dollar?'".