Living in NYC, it’s easy to think that the most commonly counterfeited items are faux LV and Gucci bags and sunglasses, but there’s an insanely large market for everything from fake designer jewelry to designer jeans. I was fascinated by an article in WWD recently that looked at a study done by M.I.T. Sloan School of Management professor Renee Richardson Gosline on the effects of counterfeiting. Could they actually lead to people buying authentic merchandise?
The two-and-a-half-year study conducted by the professor found that 40 percent of those that participated in the study would end up buying the authentic item, because when compared to the fake, it doesn’t measure up quality wise. More interestingly was the fact that participants were more likely to recognize an item as fake when it was worn by an actual person (versus them looking at the item against a blank backdrop) because they take clues from other items the person is wearing – i.e. if your outfit is “right” you would be able to get away with a counterfeit item more readily.
Moreover, while many think that it’s only the likes of Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, and Coach that counterfeit, it’s not only luxury brands, but brands at all levels – even sports equipment is getting knocked off, which brings up points that veer way beyond legal issues and into safety and health concerns. My real wonder is, with so many affordable fashion options these days why are we still a population so stuck on designer labels? Where’s the creativity?