Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Fakes are Never in Fashion" -Harper's Bazaar

I own a few faux designer purses. I'm not proud of it, but a small town girl coming to NYC for the first time can't help but be a little dazzled by the deals on Canal Street and the allure of owning a designer knock off for only $5-20!! Who could resist?

My 19 year old self surely couldn't. However, now that I have learned a little more about the world, I know that nothing that cheap comes without a price. The first thing I noticed was the quality. The handles rip off, they wear down quickly, the lining tears out. The next is the sketchy, illegal way you have to obtain them. This didn't totally become clear to me how illegal it really was until the NYPD cracked down on designer impostors a few years ago when it went from fake Louis Vuitton's on every corner to having to follow a strange Asian woman down narrow streets and into back room cubbies to get the goods. I mean, there's a reason that those guys on the street grab their purses and run when the PoPo shows up, and it's not because they don't have the proper permits to sell them. However, the true dangers and social repercussions of buying fakes were only recently exposed to the public.

Call it ignorance is bliss, but the majority of American street shoppers seem happy to buy their fakes without questioning where they come from, or how they can buy them so cheaply. The answer is child labor in other countries. It's how we in the United States obtain many of our inexpensive luxury items, by taking the sight, fingers, and hard labor of children for nearly free. Children make the fakes, and the money gleaned from the sale of fakes often goes to help drug traffickers and terrorists achieve their goals. Not so fun and carefree now is it?

And it's not just the sale of fake designer purses, it's fake anything from bootleg cd's and dvd's to fragrances. Though sold a bargain price tags, the global social ramifications are hardly worth the cheap cost. In addition to endangering children, and innocents in their making, fakes leech money from the already stumbling U.S. economy. Harper's Bazaar posts these striking numbers:

$600 Billion
Estimated annual sales in counterfeit products worldwide

$512 Billion
Global sales lost to counterfeit goods

$250 Billion
Annual loss to American companies from intellectual property theft

$20 Billion
Estimated loss to American companies from counterfeit products

$1 Billion
Estimated annual loss in New York City tax revenues due to counterfeiting

Number of jobs lost due to intellectual property theft in the United States

Estimated percentage of fakes among all goods produced worldwide every year

Much like illegal downloading has begun to cripple certain aspects of the music industry, buying fashion fakes has real potential to literally cripple children, and further challenge the United States recovery from recession.

I am happy to join Harper's Bazaar in their crusade against fakes, "so cheap they are criminal." Why not save up for the real thing that will last you a whole lot longer and look a whole lot better than the fake anyways? Check out the facts on FakesAreNeverInFashion.com.

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