Finding a luxury product at a discounted price is more than many of us can pass up – with the occasional bargain on the preloved or auction circuit fetching huge interest among investment buyers and those looking for the latest addition to their collection.
But sometimes, if something seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. With the standard of counterfeit goods on the up, distinguishing between what’s real and what’s not, has become somewhat of a skill in itself.
Here at Love Luxury, we’ve created this guide to counterfeit goods so that you know what you’re looking for and can impress friends with your knowledge about what constitutes real designer luxury – and what doesn’t.
Why you should avoid buying counterfeit goods
Sometimes buyers deliberately go after counterfeit goods, especially when they are unable to afford the genuine designer item. Now, this might seem harmless, but once you start to consider the impact of that decision later down the line, suddenly your cost-cutting decisions don’t look so good from a moral or economical perspective.
Counterfeit goods are poor in quality. Not only that but they are often sold under illusions and are sometimes even falsely marketed completely – with stats suggesting that some 20% of luxury goods being advertised on social media are counterfeits being advertised as the real deal.
Not only do counterfeit goods leave you, as the buyer, wanting more – they are also doing unseen damage to the luxury goods industry. By undercutting the cost of authentic goods at an alarming rate, while copying their designs and unique features to almost exact perfection, counterfeit goods create a market which is built on the idea of copying and essentially stealing ideas.
Not only does this lose the designer and luxury brands huge streams of income that they deserve for their designs, but it has a damaging impact on the economy – losing these brands’ income, causing staff to lose their jobs, and sometimes even chasing such brands off the market altogether. To look at it in numbers, in 2020 alone it has been reported that the luxury goods industry lost around $50 billion in revenue to counterfeit products. This figure is staggering, but the problem is only getting worse, with counterfeit producers more sophisticated than ever.
So why do people buy counterfeit goods? The answers collected from various surveys seem to imply that people buy counterfeit goods because they feel social pressure to own designer and luxury goods, but either can’t afford them or can’t get their hands on them. With that said, what are the arguments against counterfeit goods?
Arguments against counterfeit goods
There are many who will argue for counterfeit goods – saying that they are more cost-effective and close enough to the real deal to be a reasonable alternative. But did you know that around 750,000 individuals have lost their jobs in major designer fashion houses, as a result of the loss of revenue due to counterfeits?
In addition to this, counterfeit goods are often being made in poor working conditions. This is a fact we cannot escape in the modern day and age, with no regulations present to protect workers who are forced to produce and make such products for sellers. Far from those who are making authentic bags for luxury brands, counterfeits are made with no worker protection – meaning that the practice doesn’t just harm the luxury brands, but ground workers as well.
Experiences with counterfeit goods
There is always something “off” about counterfeit goods when compared to authentic luxury goods – and here at Love Luxury, we are no strangers to such experiences. One of the biggest problems that we have hands-on experience with is people being duped, paying what they believe to be below market value for something that they think is real, only to be told by an authenticator like Love Luxury that what they own is a fake or counterfeit piece.
In one particular instance, a young lady was advised to invest family money in authentic Hermès bags – and when she found a small boutique supplier, at first that is actually what she did. Or so she thought. Over time, however, the boutique started selling her counterfeit products under an authentic label – something which only became apparent when she brought it into Love Luxury for a valuation and to sell her bag. It turned out that she had spent £210,000 on investment goods with the same boutique company – and every bag was found to be fake.
Unfortunately, this story is not the only one we have had here at Love Luxury.
Popular brands that are frequently counterfeited
Among the top brands that are counterfeited, Hermès sits at the top – mainly because of the immense resale value of authentic bags, and the coveted status and high demand which sees waitlists which go on for years and years.
A combination of the high demand and the impatience of buyers makes the Hermès buyer market one ripe for counterfeit products, however, the problem lies in the fact that some buyers are aware they’re buying fake while others are duped. Similarly, Chanel and Louis Vuitton are often counterfeited.
Beyond this, the damage to the brand remains the same – counterfeit goods causing debilitating losses for even the most successful luxury brands.
How did the big fashion brands fight against counterfeit goods?
That’s not to say, however, that these labels and designers aren’t fighting back. Banding together to fight back against counterfeiters, each brand took something from its original design concept and changed it, to make it easier to spot fake products. Chanel removed the hologram that counterfeiters had begun to replicate and copy, replacing it with a microchip system that is registered in the Chanel system. Louis Vuitton introduced a microchip system similar to Chanel, making it nearly impossible to copy.
Hermes, meanwhile, changed its coding system – with every year bringing a new format to the code which makes it impossible to guess what’s coming and how bags will be presented. Here at Love Luxury, we work with all our buyers and sellers to understand the value of authentication and formal valuation when purchasing any luxury good – protecting you from being duped and ensuring that your investment is safe. If you’re concerned or want to learn more, our team.