Recently, self-proclaimed online fashion police Diet Sabya called out actress Kareena Kapoor Khan for wearing fake Cartier love bracelets, and tagged it as “gandi copy.” Apparently the original bracelets cost Rs 53 lakh, and an unnamed netizen commented on Diet Sabya’s story, “I work for Cartier! This is pathetic.” The controversial Instagram account has earlier accused actresses like Ananya Panday, Kriti Sanon, Sonam Kapoor, and Urvashi Rautela on multiple occasions of endorsing fake designer wear.
Although, strugglers swear by the “fake it till you make it” tricks, it’s shocking to see A-listers fall for the lure of “fakes” without realizing the damage it does to their image. Carrying the latest bag, or wearing the most awaited shoes from a big designer and/or brand gets your audience talking. Brands and designers also resonate with luxury and expensive products.
A celebrity carrying something expensive makes them appeal as someone more superior, they’re able to carry something maybe we can’t afford. This feeling of being superior and luxurious is what leads fashionistas or celebs to constantly be in vogue and carry luxury brands, explains Drishti Mahajan, founder of shoe brand House of Vian.
Speaking on the subject, Drishti opines, “It’s great if a celebrity can afford it or have collaborated with these brands. Otherwise, we tend to see many people fall prey to the fakes which I feel is very sad and disrespectful. It’s disheartening to see fake versions of our jutti designs in street markets of Chandi Chowk and Shahpur Jat. Not only to the designer but also to the person who is crushing someone else’s effort and talent just by picking up a fake that was created by some very untalented folks hiding in their factories trying to make money the easy way.”
Social media validation:
Wearing products from a high-end brand is considered a status symbol, and the appearance of wealth on social media has become an industry, celebrities, and fashion enthusiasts sometimes resort to cheap imitations to impress others and create an impression and aura around themselves, believes designer Mrigya Talwar, founder of label The White Dahlia. She informs, “Some of the most common counterfeit brands I have seen are Sabyasachi, Masaba, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and now Cartier. The trick to distinguishing a genuine product from a counterfeit brand is to check the logo, the hardware, and the quality of the product, such as the stitching.”
Some of the most copied brands like LV, Dior, Prada, and YSL are easily available in street markets for dirt cheap rates, and it’s not news that many celebrities pick those goods instead of costly originals. Designer Shivika Kothari of the fashion label Ki and Co thinks there’s a huge difference between fashion and style. She says, “Essentially, I feel that many of us want to fit in and therefore end up trying to do what’s “trendy.” Growing up in Hong Kong, I often saw a large number of luxury good replicas being sold on the streets. I believe that there is a huge difference in quality and finishing and just the overall feel. The little trimmings, the material quality, these are the little things that make a luxury good feel different from any other and is generally the area that’s compromised.”
It’s not hard to spot a counterfeit as you can always find a glitch in printing, finishing, and material quality. You’ll often see the letters not aligned, or the paint chipping off. Designer Mithi Kalra points out that many people are seen wearing fake Sabyasachi belts and bags these days and it looks like a cheap knock-off. She says, “People are too brand-conscious these days and they feel validated in flaunting things that are expensive and trending.”
Business of fakes:
The issue of counterfeiting has been underestimated and under-addressed according to Chander Shekhar Jeena, secretary at ASPA (Authentication Solution Providers’ Association). He says, “As per OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), the total trade in fakes is estimated at around USD 509 billion, and fake luxury merchandise accounts for 60% to 70% of that amount, ahead of pharmaceuticals and entertainment products.
Digital plays a big role in this and perhaps 40% of the sales in luxury fakes take place online, as today’s counterfeiters milk the ubiquity and anonymity of the internet space to the last drop. This constitutes all categories – clothing, watches, shoes, leather products, bags, and jewellery. There is a huge demand for first copies or just copies of leading and prominent brands. These counterfeit products, especially first copies, are so well crafted that it becomes difficult to distinguish them from an original.”...