Are Counterfeits Good For Fashion?

                                    Image @ Vogue UK

                                    Image @ Vogue UK

In an insightful article, our friends over at Highsnobiety weighed in on the question of whether "counterfeits are actually good for fashion?" Among other points, the author makes the argument that: "what legitimate manufacturers often refuse to acknowledge is that counterfeiting actually provides them with free advertising...not only that, but it’s free advertising via peer endorsement, which, [the author argues] is far more effective than a piece of advertorial or a pop-up ad because it slips by our resistance to marketing."

Based on Renee Richardson Gosline research - a two-and-a-half year study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The author argues that: "free advertising aside, knockoff goods can also serve as a gateway purchase...[that]...actually boosts designer labels’ profit margins [and thereafter, conceives of] counterfeiting [as] a valid measure of success."

Our thoughts

Whilst the author raises some interesting points for discussion. As a result of the four years of PhD level field research that our editor has been conducting, we would say the analysis given only scratches the surface of the complexity of the issue. Whilst we would agree that counterfeiting can be used as a measurement of analysis. In particular we find that it would be useful to understand with more specificity, the way in which the author uses counterfeiting to qualify as a determinant unit of analysis for the measurement success?  And in particular, the question we have is: Success, yes - but for whom in fashion? Whilst we disagree with many of the points raised, (they offer only a partial perspective of the phenomena). We do feel the author does raise some interesting points for further investigation and discussion. More on this Highsnobiety article can be found and read here