Image credit: Highsnobiety
“Is Counterfeiting Actually Good for Fashion?” is the title for an article recently published on website HighSnobiety.com, where writer Aleks Eror explores how counterfeit goods might be good for fashion.
I will go straight into it - I call BS. I don’t think this is even based on his argument being on the other side of the coin, he just seems to be saying this side of the coin looks wrong because it has 1 engraved on it rather than 10. To suggest that counterfeit goods are good for fashion without mentioning where the goods might come from or what the money from their sale would go on to fund is basically seeing the fashion industry in a vacuum – it’s called data oversight and bad research, not original thought.
Clothes and bags exist because real people show up to sew them and real parts of a river somewhere swallows up gallons of waste discharge from a factory every day. A counterfeit Gucci bag exists in the alleys of Causeway Bay because someone working in an unregulated factory made it, and it continues to exists because its sale is virtually nearly all profit, untaxed, undocumented and it would only go on to fund nothing good. I haven’t had the chance to ask Eror if he is in support of child labor, human trafficking, gang warfare and terrorism – he probably isn’t – but these are exactly what a lot of dollars from the sale of counterfeit goods go on to fund – outside that pretty vacuum.
Saying counterfeit goods are good for fashion is like saying cancer is good for you because you could learn a lot about what matters in life when you’re recovering. Shit happens because we are imperfectly made and when it does happen, we make the best out of it. We don’t promote it nor justify it.
And sure, let’s for a second consider the merits of counterfeit goods on validating a brand. Oscar Wilde famously said: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – Eror quoted. If the designers he refers to are motivated to create because of flattery, I think we are referring to very different categories of designers, and so I will rest my case. It would be like arguing about what’s the one best food to feed a lobster and a dolphin. Works for one, probably doesn’t for the other. The big difference is – one of them has a spine.