fake-handbags.jpg Right off the bat I will tell you that this article may get many of you really worked up. The fact of the matter is that a writer from the Miami Herald took a trip to Chinatown while visiting NYC on a hunt for an array of fake bags for herself, family, and friends. Her writing style is witty and fun, but the message behind her article really is bothersome. Elaine Pasekoff, the author, gives a play by play of how she went about getting the fake handbags. What I find most disturbing is the blurb under the seemingly pointless “Illegal Business” titled “Homework”. The homework section entails a list of how-to’s for getting ready to buy a fake bag. The list is intense and ultimately, leads people to find better ways to support the illegal manufacturing and distributing of counterfeit handbags.

Which bag do you pick in this bag battle?

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While buying a counterfeit handbag will not get your handcuffed, manufactures and distributors are in fact criminally liable for trafficking knock-off purses. This includes those who host the ‘popular’ (though I have never been invited to one) purse parties; who are liable for their involvement in their selling of counterfeit products. And what can happen to these manufacturers and distributors of knock off handbags? They can in fact be prosecuted for violating trademark and copyright laws. Wal Mart settled with Fendi after selling 12 fake Fendi bags at Sam’s Stores.

Ultimately, many wonder why the Miami Herald, a widely-read and reliable newspaper, would allow a story like this to publish. After all, fake handbags are illegal and violate trademark laws, copyright laws, and trademark infringement.

The cab pulls over at the corner of Canal and Mott. It is 9:20 on a Friday morning in late November. Even before my feet are planted on the sidewalk, a petite Asian woman sidles up to me and whispers the words I had come to hear, “Coach, Coach!”

”Yes,” I flash a sunny smile.

The quest has begun.

Up from Miami, I am on vacation, taking a side trip to New York City’s Chinatown looking for faux high-end purses. I’m especially chasing Coach: a duffel bag for my college-age daughter; a patchwork tote for my girlfriend; the pouch for my office intern; the hobo for my sister; and a satchel for an unknown teenage girl I had picked in my office’s charity gift exchange.

Please add your thoughts in the comment section.

My guide, barely five feet, is warmly dressed in a quilted nylon jacket, well-worn jeans and trekker’s boots. Her black hair has reddish stripes and she is wind-burned, undoubtedly due to long hours exposed to raw gusts as she stalks her prey: out-of-towners and locals, college girls and 50-ish women, all hoping to score the perfect bag — knockoffs so exquisitely made that Coach-anistas might be stumped. For this, I am more than willing to be led down Canal, zigzag through Elizabeth, cross Bayard and hike up Mott.

SHOWROOM No. 1: Filled with the kind of excitement only a bargain shopper can understand, I follow three paces behind my guide as we pass storefront windows hung with dripping Peking ducks, vegetable markets with produce I cannot begin to name, and jewelry stores ablaze with milky jade and garish gold.

Finally she leads me into a sparsely merchandised T-shirt shop. My guide knocks on the wall. Amazingly, a door, heretofore unseen, swings open. I have arrived. Crammed into a room barely 10 by 12 feet, are hundreds of counterfeit purses: Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Prada and Chanel. The merchandise is suspended on wall hooks from floor to ceiling: little clutches, big totes, purses of every size, plus carry-on suitcases, wallets and sunglasses. It all makes me dizzy.

I scan the room intensely. I begin taking down some candidates, assisted by an extremely helpful saleswoman.

Ah, that one lovely. New style this season,” she assures me. Real leather, you check inside. You check.”

Slowly, carefully, I work the room; my pile of maybe’s” growing. Suddenly, the door bursts open and a determined Asian woman leads two American women briskly inside. They are both blond, generously sized, and are pulling large wheeled black suitcases.

These gals know the ropes. They scan the room, zeroing in on 10 purses in the time it had taken me to select one.

Suddenly, a 40-something Asian man appears with a calculator. He surveys their stash, and moves the calculator within inches of the taller woman’s face.

”How much you want to pay?” And it begins. The woman punches in a price. The man looks apoplectic. ”No, that crazy,” he moans. “That just for three purses, you got there 10.”

”Here’s what I’m going to pay,” she parries. Back and forth they go, the calculator gets stabbed by one pair of fingers, then another. Finally, leaving several of their selections on the floor, the women turn to go. ”OK, OK,” the man concedes. ”What your last price for this one?” Too little, too late, as the women march out without a backward glance, their guide trailing behind.

Now I, too, must face that dreaded calculator. In the end, I buy three purses and have to leave some of my selections behind. But I know my odyssey is only beginning. Just as the three purses are being stuffed into a big green-black garbage bag, my trusty guide magically re-appears.

”Want to see more Coach?” she asks. I nod.

Off the main streets she goes barreling, me five paces behind and struggling to keep up. We weave down narrow alleyways where less committed shoppers might not have dared.

Without warning, my guide slows, and sprints up three steps leading to A Cut Above. This hair salon might have looked modern in the ’80s, but now it looks threatening. The disco-purple chairs are empty, looking as if they hadn’t held a customer for weeks. (Even so, black hair litters the linoleum floor.) The lone ”stylist” murmurs something to my guide in an Asian language. She answers without pause or eye contact.

SHOWROOM No. 2: In a cramped hallway directly across from an untidy bathroom, my guide knocks on what looks like a utility-closet door. The door opens and I step into a tiny wonderland of faux designer bags. A smaller scale replica of Showroom No. 1, this place features an assortment of Coach, Prada and Chanel entirely different from the ones at my first stop.

Within minutes, much to my amazement, the two blonds arrive. ”Honey,” the shorter one cackles at me, “We’ve got to stop meeting like this.”

They get down to business. I, too, get to work. And this time, I find the elusive patchwork tote. When my guide senses I am ready to do the tally, the ”stylist” appears. He names his number, I name mine and we appear to be in deadlock. Instinctively, I take out three $10 bills and hand them to him. Surprisingly, he accepts the cash without another word. My guide presents me with another black-green garbage bag, my tote inside, and off we go.

We end up in a jewelry arcade. My guide winds her way through stalls brimming with jade items: bracelets, earrings and pendants, bonsai trees and small multicolored landscapes. She stops, walks into one of the stalls, and knocks on the wall. It’s showtime again.

SHOWROOM No.3: There are my blond buddies, this time deep in negotiations with an overweight 20-something man. The women seem not to notice me. No matter, I have no time to lose. I quickly complete my mission by selecting several bags that are close matches to the ones on my list — and some other ”brands” for myself, too. I feel a sense of accomplishment akin to completing a 5K. With barely a haggle at Stop No. 3, my purchases are tucked inside yet another green-black garbage bag.

”More Coach?” my guide queries.

”No, thanks,” I shake my head gently.

I came, I saw, I purchased. I was ready to leave Chinatown. The adventure cost me $215: $195 on six purses, which if authentic would have been $3,040 retail, plus $20 for a cab.

As I head for the door, the tall blond shoots me a quick glance. ”Doll,” she merrily suggests, “We have to do coffee.”

ILLEGAL BUSINESS

There’s a dark side to the counterfeit purse trade.

For instance, Marcia Van Wagner, a deputy comptroller for New York City, estimates the overall knockoff market costs her city ”$2 billion in lost revenue” yearly.

In Miami, Zachary Mann at U.S. Customs says that every year his agency seizes ”pirated goods with a domestic value of approximately $100 million” nationwide, adding that the “yearly trade in counterfeits is a global problem in the hundreds of billions of dollars.”

The underground industry ”has a negative impact on the United States in many ways,” says Harold Woodward, director of field operations in Miami for U.S. Customs.

”We don’t know the manufacturing processes utilized, or the chemicals used to produce the merchandise,” he says. “Many counterfeiters utilize products that are prohibited or highly regulated in the United States.

”Morally, there is the possibility that the counterfeit merchandise was produced in sweat shops utilizing child or slave labor,” Woodward says.

Even so, while law enforcement targets manufacturers and sellers of counterfeits, casual buyers are unlikely to be busted.

– ELAINE PASEKOFF

HOMEWORK

Before your trip, check the official brand websites and become familiar with the styles. Once in Chinatown, here are several things to check:

“¢ Test every zipper, unsnap each snap, and make sure every closure operates smoothly.

“¢ Look at the labels or tags, and look for misspellings, like Gucci with one “c.”

“¢ Make sure linings are sewn and not glued.

“¢ Good fakes mimic the authenticity labels inside purses, and often have brand logos on the zipper pulls and include monogrammed protective cloth storage bags.

“¢ Avoid purse sellers on street corners, especially around Ground Zero or Times Square. They usually have poor-quality fakes.

Article and photo via Miami Herald.

More information on Counterfeit Handbag Lawyers found HERE.

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  • louislovesfendi818

    FIRST! (lol i’ve always wanted to that on Perez)

    But this article pisses me off. SHe clearly know nothing about the plight of the workers in the sweatshops that make this S***

    • william

      It’s an unfortunate fact that the people that make the bags often can find no other work. They are underpaid, they are sometimes children, and it is horrible but for many, it is their only choice.

  • baby of fashion

    okay…first of all..i know that not all people can afford to purchase designer bags..but i dont get this whole knock off purchases people make.. instead of buying a fake bag just buy a highstreet bag!!

  • jennifer

    I think that it’s horrible as well. To think of the kids and adults who work in those sweatshops is appalling.
    I don’t want to have to travel down dark alleys, knock on hidden doors, haggle for prices, or have my purchases be placed in a garbage bag.
    I’d much rather save my money and buy the real thing.

  • Leigh

    If you have enough expendable cash to pay the ridiculous amount of money charged for the original handbags, you should be giving it to organizations that actually do something about sweatshops, such as the AFLCIO Executive Council. Fashion is design inspiration for me, however, I firmly believe that people who wear any accessory or item of clothing that costs more than the rent most of the peoploe in this country can barely afford should be slapped… and hard. Either put your wasted money where your mouth is or can your insincere whining about the plight of the unfortunate. Sounds like sour grapes… Are you just pissed because some people pay $20 for something that looks (and I say “looks”) identical to the thing for which you foolishly coughed up $800+?

    • dela

      I don’t see your point. Even not considering the plight of workers, what about intellectual copyrights or trademark etc.? It is one thing to produce bags that look similar but have made a distinction so that they can’t be considered fakes, but copying someone else work is akin to plagiarism. You can’t take ownership of someone else’s ideas. I wonder how the lady would feel if someone else slapped their name on her articles.
      As far as “putting wasted money where the mouth is,” everyone, regarless of your retail choices, should help out. But seriously, who is worst- the person who chooses to spend their earned money fairly or someone who how becomes a part illegal handbag business web. You might not think, but just talking abut the plight of workers helps too becasue most people who buy fake good are initally unaware of how they are manufactured. Easiest way of helping out is simply by not buying these goods.
      Also, I am not going to apologise for my “$800+” purchases to anyone and neither am I going to walk with a board the outlines my charitable contributions.

    • Chi town Chanel

      So Leigh, if it is OK to buy a fake that cost $20 instead of purchasing the real thing for $800 are you saying that people who buy the $20 fake should add up the difference ($780) and donate it to charity as well? In your example, that would only be fair, right? I somehow doubt that people who are buying cheap fake goods are focused on charitable gifting. Their pattern of behavior indicates that they are greedy and cheap, does it not?

      I understand that you are upset and believe that spending a certain amount of money on luxury goods is wasteful, but it is important to examine the real issue here. Please don’t let your personal feelings about individuals who enjoy luxury goods cloud your judgement. Most of these people are nicer than you could know (and many of them volunteer for or give to charities on an annual basis).

    • jennifer

      Uh…not for anything…but you are on a website called The Purse Blog which talks about….uh…purses…and expensive ones at that.
      BTW let’s not even get into the fact of how they try and manipulate the public and try to sell these fakes as real bags on ebay and other places. Many times to unsuspecting people who think they are getting a deal.

    • SereneO

      Nope, I would gladly pay $800+ for the real deal rather than fork out $20 for a fake, knowing how that fake originated. At the end of the day, how I decide to spend my hard earned $$ is up to me and it’s nobody’s business.

      Giving to such organizations seems redundant to me, cos as long as there is demand, there will always be supply. So if people stop buying fakes, do you think these syndicates will continue to produce fakes, knowing that they won’t be able to profit?

      Slap me or sue me, but my conscience is clear and I feel good knowing that I am enjoying the real McCoy!

      • Chi

        & then you’ll put out people who are so desperate for a job that they’ll go into slave labour out of a job! Yes! lets do that! Our conscince as clear as a crystal! AND we get to sport a rediculously overpriced handbag while people starve in said swearshops because they aren’t being paid.

    • william

      I disagree, people should spend their money however they wish if it makes them happy. Who are you to question that?

    • kiki

      I know what you THINK you are saying, but your point actually contradicts itself. Handcrafted high-end bags, clothes, jewelry etc., those items you mention paying “foolish” prices for, and built in the exact OPPOSITE of sweat shops. Its those cheap knock-offs, exactly these things you say “look identical” that are made in UNREGULATED sweat shops. How do you know if those fake goods are also made with toxic chemicals, polluting the environment, or even using animal products, like dog fur. I am proud to saw that my family has a long union history, including my Aunt who, ironic that you mention the AFLCIO, has been their general secretary for more than 40 years. The AFLCIO is STRONGLY AGAINST counterfeit goods, because it costs American jobs (and jobs around the world) and sales taxes that would go to support a city, a state, etc. For my $2200 Chloe bag, the $250 I paid in tax on it would never have been paid by someone who bought a back-alley knock off. Yes, there are people who pay in excess on anything, and there’s always those Paris Hilton’s of the world, but I feel like I am supporting an industry of craftspersons and artisan when I buy the real thing. Even if that is a month’s rent for some people, my handbag is not a cheap disposable item I would toss out on a whim, adding to landfills.

  • ellie

    i find this article absolutely ridiculous. i will seriously never understand why people buy fake purses. i fully understand wanting expensive purses and being disappointed with the thought that you may never own it, but that would never drive me to buy a knock-off. also, i remember reading in an article that the ‘genuine leather’ that they use for knock-off purses oftentimes comes from dogs. it disgusts me.

  • sweetney

    i agree with leigh. very well said. Those people should be slapped and HARD. :lol:

  • mette

    I know this is all happening as I´m writing now, and I think it is just horrible. It is so wrong for those who are working these fakes, and so wrong for those who pay honestly earned money to buy authentic designer bags.Something and a lot should be done like right now.The thing an individual person could do, is to refuse to never ever buy anything fake!!!

  • Judi

    Ripping off other manufacturers’ designs may be the way of the world in the fashion industry but I still find something sad and disheartening in a journalist encouraging others to violate intellectual property rights. And to advocate buying goods manufactured in known child sweatshops. (Read the articles that Dana Thomas of Newsweek has written about this.) It isn’t the cost of goods that are at issue here but human rights and sustaining America’s reputation in the global marketplace as a place where intellectual property is respected.

  • Graciella

    I guess this woman has never owned an authentic designer purse – there is just no way the quality and thickness of the leather can be compared to the knock offs

  • Sandra

    Completely agree with Leigh.

    • Jen

      Leigh, you are a brave soul! :lol: You do have a point.

  • dela

    First of all, if she lives in Miami, all she needs to do is drive 40 mins north to Sawgrass Mills to the Coach Outlet (which has more stuff than a regular Coach store) and find some true bargains that are actually authentic. Added bonus: Burberry outlet is next door and you’ll find Burberry Prorsum bags for about $500 that normally sell for 1400.
    Second, I wonder would she tell the people whom she is gifting these bags that they are fake (assuming they have never read the article).
    I suppose, my point is that despite seemingly sky-high prices of the designer bags you can still find real bargians on authentic bags especially during holidays. It is very common to find brands like Chloe, Gucci, Prada at discount prices. Of course, for that to happen you have to wait for few months and resist an urge to buy a new it bag. Personally, I would rather wait for a sale than buy a fake.

    • Chi town Chanel

      So true Dela. If she wasn’t reimbursed for the trip by the Herald, she would have paid out of pocket for a plane ticket, cabs, hotel and meals in NYC. Adding all of that up, how much could she have spent on authentic merchandise at the nearby outlet instead of making an expensive trip to buy illegal fakes? It doesn’t make sense.

      • dela

        I agree completely. If Miami Herald reimbursed her then they should be ashamed of themselves. It would have been acceptable if this was an investigative piece that exposed the reality of this illegal business and took a stand against it. But her article seems to be serving the opposite purpose.

  • estella149

    Eww.. Don’t feed the troll…

    Obviously she hasn’t spent enough time on tpf to know how giving the people on this board are and how many different charities have been supported and plugged here. I saw something about “heroes and handbags” coming to dallas in April just this morning.

    I’m a little surprised the editor let this make it to press.. it’s supporting criminal activity. Very odd to me!

  • Chi town Chanel

    Megs, you are right. This article has us all worked up!

    Anyone who thinks that buying a fake or hosting a purse party is no big deal should do their research. It is illegal and is hurting us all. The proceeds have funded terrorist activity and it has been reported that funding for the 911 attacks was linked to proceeds stemming from counterfeit luxury goods sales. Also, for those of us who have trouble keeping up with the cost of luxury items, buying fakes only makes the prices rise higher as companies hire law firms to fight counterfeiting. People who buy fakes are driving up prices of the real thing (so if they can’t afford it now, they will have an even harder time trying to afford it as prices continue to increase). And of course it’s not just fakes driving up prices, it’s the devaluation of the dollar, etc. too. There are lots of reasons, but we don’t need to add to it.

    Here is what scares me most: a lot of the manufacturers of fakes don’t just create luxury goods, they make other stuff too. For example, fake airplane parts and car parts have been found inside of vehicles that we all ride in (here in the US). I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t want to be in the air in a plane with counterfeit plane parts that don’t work properly!

    I think that when people argue that counterfeiting isn’t so bad, they just need to read a bit more and learn the facts. There is a lot of good info available on the website of the International Anticounterfeiting Coalition. I feel like I am always trying to bring attention to this topic and no one takes it seriously. People always try to make it an argument of the haves vs. the have nots: those who can afford designer goods and those who can not. Also, people make excuses and say that lots of people buy fakes without knowing it. They thought they were buying the real thing. Well, think about it, if you are at the home of a soccer mom in the burbs shopping for bags or if you see a bag on an online auction site that should retail for $1,500 and it’s selling for $300 do you think it is real? It seems that people hiding their own greed with the disclaimer that they didn’t know that they were buying fake items. Someday soon laws in the US will catch up with Italy and make buying fakes illegal. At that point, people who are caught will be fined. Until then, we should do our reseach on this topic and try our best to fight against a problem that is actually hurting all of us.

  • Genevastyle

    The counterfeit market has been an issue for many years over here in Europe. People buy fake stuff from countries like Turkey and China and proudly parade around with it. But if you think about it many real designer clothes are manufactured over there. While walking through the chic shopping area of Istanbul I saw a dress made from the exact fabric as one of my very expensive dresses (really, no difference, I even went back with my dress to feel them both and compare)even the stitching was perfect but of course the dress costed a fraction of what mine had cost as it was a Turkish label. I realized that maybe we’re being fooled by all those luxury brands and have to rethink what’s actually fake or not. But still, at at the end of the day someone who buys a fake bag will always know it (and feel it) and, since they’re interested by certain brands they might have a look in a real boutique and get caught. As happened a few weeks ago to a girl in the Geneva Hermes boutique…

  • Genevastyle

    I would like to comment on Chi town Chanel:

    Did you know that the brother of Osama Bin Laden just set up a brand in Geneva called Yeslam? I met Mr Bin Laden at the launch party of his brand and he wants to compete with Hermes. Seen he is a pretty direct brother (the whole town they come from is related)and his daughter is one of the biggest luxury goods shoppers over here in Geneva I am not too sure in how far these reports can be correct. But again, people have many faces.

    • Chi town Chanel

      That is really interesting. I wonder how they plan to compete directly with Hermes? For example, do they plan to train and develop artisans with the same levels of skill? Somehow, I just don’t see any of the H girls on tPF giving up their Birkins to buy Yeslam bags. However, it is a big world and maybe other people will buy Yeslam products, especially if they want to support the company’s founder and his brother. They are getting into the business to make money.

      I do not doubt that his daughter purchases authentic luxury goods, but I’m not quite sure if that relates to the counterfeiting topic in any way.

      • Genevastyle

        Based on the fact that I simply don’t assume things before they’re proven and the facts that are out there regarding this family I have my doubts. But as I said, people have many faces and I don’t think the subject would be appropriate to discuss here so sorry for opening that can of worms. :???:

        As a devoted fan of Hermes he told me that the brand functioned as a inspiration for his own brand and he wants to operate on the same level as Hermes targeting the same market. Regarding the artisans; he employed many. The watchmakers are among the best in Switzerland and I have no doubt its the same for the rest of his product lines. If you are curious you can have a look on their site (yeslam.ch)

      • Chi town Chanel

        Hi Genevastyle, I was not trying to accuse anyone in my post. I was only trying to highlight the dark side of fakes based on information that I had gathered from several different sources. One source was the book by Dana Thomas (author noted in another post above). I’m sorry that I came accross that way. I try to maintain a high degree of cultural relativism and I don’t want to come accross as judging a group of people (it’s not something that I would do). My main point is that people should think more about this issue. In my opinion, people often try to trivialize it in order to justify their desire to buy fake goods.

        I love this forum. Where else could I discuss this issue with people who have similar interests (especially someone that I don’t even know who lives in Geneva!)? Cheers!

  • caitlinsmommy

    Everyone who finds this article as abhorant as I do should leave a comment on the original article at the Miami Herald’s website.

    I did.

    Shame on Elaine Pasekoff and the Miami Herald for encouraging the abuse of child labor laws, trademark infidgement, copywrite laws, and ultimatly, funding terrorism.

    • Fashion Victim

      Shame shame shame shame :evil:

      First of all: I can’t understand why on Earth! M.Herald would EVER publish such a story!!! It not only supports the idea of stealing trade marks and workers’ rights abuse but it first and foremost instills in many many readers the idea that buying a fake is OK and actually a thing to be proud of (such a “bargain” after all :sad: [yuck])

      Secondly, to those who’d like to slap buyers and owners of authentic pricey purses: as long as they didn’t steal the bag of the $$ for the bag it’s no one’s business. AND many times such people are much more giving and supportive of charitiy actions than cheap people buying fake bags! And I stand behind calling these fake-buyers cheap: just because nothing, say nothing, explains a fake purchase. After all there are so many other options to own quality and great looking bag for reasonable money that is not a knockoff of anything and no child labor went into. There is just simply no excuse. And there are many designer bags I can only dream of – but I’ll never stoop down so low as to purchase a knock-off of those. I’ll just settle for somethings I love and can afford.

      Oh, and I’m off to M.H. webpage to give them a piece of my mind :evil:

  • janis

    I only buy authentic. It is none of anyone elses business how I spend my money. I think the people who are the most upset about people who spend that much on authentic probably can’t afford to buy them.
    I also give a nice amount to several charities and volunteer at the local animal shelter.
    People who buy the fakes are the ones who should be shamed!!

  • anti-fashionist

    Who gives two fucks? There just handbags anyway.

    • Fashion Victim

      No they’re actually not just handbags. They’re theft and child labor and often support other illegal activities.

      Not to mention the poor quality…

      • anti-fashionist

        As a comsumer, they’re just handbags to me. However, if you want to take on the world’s ills, go for it. :twisted:

      • Chi town Chanel

        Anti-fashionist, can you try to make a point without the profanity :twisted:

      • anti-fashionist

        No, I like to fucking swear. It feels good to me! :mrgreen:

      • Chi town Chanel

        You may want to read the tPF general posting guidelines which have been included on this page for your reference. More information can be found in the Purse Forum (button is located in the tool bar above).

  • suzana

    if you can’t afford the real bag then don’t buy the fake bag. you are trying to show that you live a lifestyle that is not in your reality. it is just not about the bag either. Buying one nice bag such as Hermes or Chanel will last a lifetime compared to buying a multiple fakes.

    • anti-fashionist

      While you may think that someone is trying to buy into a lifestyle by purchasing a certain handbag, the fact is that most people buy it because they like the look of it. And, they couldn’t care less about any ‘lifestyle’ that is associated with it.

      Even wealthy people buy fakes. And, it’s definitely not about the lifestyle for them as they already have it.

      • Chi town Chanel

        I can’t say that I agree. I think that people buy fakes because they think it looks like the authentic item. If they didn’t care about image, why wouldn’t they just buy themselves a well made authentic bag that didn’t have logos all over it and was in their price range? There are a lot of beautiful non-luxury bags that are well made and less expensive. People buy fakes because they WANT other people to think it is the real thing. That is why most fakes display prominent logos.

  • CanadaGirl

    The problem is that the authorities (the Cities that issue permits that are not doing their job to enforce the stop of illegal businesses, the building owners leasing their space to the seller, the police, etc.) do not care about the selling of counterfeits. If they did, every single seller of the bags would be put out of business and their bags would be burned in one big bonfire. But they do not care. What I want to know is if the authorities do not care, how are people like you and me going to convince others not to support these sellers with no consequence? By telling them that little kids sew these bags together for $1 a day? To show pictures of people slaving away to make them? To expose them for what they really are?
    There is a bigger issue here, the image of carrying an expensive handbag and the perceived status that comes with it…if you cannot afford the $1500 bag then buy a $200 bag. As long it’s an authentic bag then you have made the right choice.
    Do what you want with the money you make, everyone has the right to spend money how they choose and it is not up to anyone reading this to judge others on what they spend their money on.
    As long as you are not supporting fakes that is the real goal.

    • Fashion Victim

      Couldn’t agree more! I don’t think that the authorities don’t really care – probably they have more pressing issues to take care of first. Not to mention that those illegal showrooms are hidden for a reason.

      And it’s so pathethic that someone buying a fake designer bag actually can believe that they’re buying into a world of high fashion and glamour (for SUCH a DEAL) – pathetic, because fakes look, well, fake and you’re not kidding any one but yourself. I see it everyday on a subway: those fake Coach, Gucci and Prada bags fraying around the edges and looking so miserably cheap — who are they trying to kidd?!?

  • Deanna Belli

    Apparantly the sales of counterfeit bags have spread into “home shows”. My niece, who lives in New York City recently told me that many visitors from the midwest actually request that they be taken to China town to buy a “fake”, with LV going around $24-40. She mentioned that the newest thing in the midwest are home parties (think Tupperware) where fakes are offered for around $200 a piece!! They are sold as fakes but the gullible still fork up the cash.

    • Fashion Victim

      ugh, how awful! Honesly, that’s barking mad: after all for $200 or a bit more you can score a quality leather bag :?:

    • Fashion Victim

      ugh, that’s barking mad! For $200 one can get a quality leather bag. Don’t get the motivation of these people?

    • Chi town Chanel

      Hi there Deanna. I just wanted to point out that the purse party issue is not specific to a region. Purse parties are a huge problem and they are happening all over the US.

  • Fashion Victim

    As a consumer they’re just exceptionally poor quality to me. As to the world’s ills – ah, we all can chip in, no?

    • anti-fashionist

      I have both authentic and replica bags in my collection. And, the quality is comparable, as there are good replicas and there are poor ones.

      As for the world’s ills, you can “chip in”. I don’t really care about it and I have other things to do.

      • Chi town Chanel

        Anti-fashionist, this post explains a lot. This is why you were so acting so angry. You own fake illegal goods yourself. :lol:

        Also, profanity insn’t encouraged on tPF (referring to your other post above).

      • anti-fashionist

        Actually, I’m not angry now and I wasn’t angry then. And, I’ll swear all I want, Miss Manners! :mrgreen:

      • Chi town Chanel

        Sorry, but I was just referring to the tPF posting guidlines. You may want to read them. :mrgreen:

  • Fashion-in-the-making

    these disgusts me no one has the right make someone else stuff to make a knock-off. I as a designer it hurts cause it takes a long time to come up with the concepts and new ideas. In my opinion I think that not only the knock-off seller should be punish by law but also the consumer that supports it. If you don’t have the money to buy it work harder.

  • Aidan

    I couldn’t read the whole article, all I saw was Asian this Asian that Asian language Asian Asian Asian. Why did she feel the need to write Asian over and over again? It was Chinatown, most things there are Asian, more specifically Chinese.

    • fashclass

      Aidan, was it really necessary to insert racist undertones in your comment? Many asians such as I myself are proud owners of authentic purses, and while the purses in the MH article were purchased in Chinatown, the problem of counterfeiting is global (as brought up by genevastyle, the problem is in Europe as well). There is no need to make offensive comments about the unrelated topic of race when the issue at hand is of illegally violating design integrity.

  • Jasman

    :cool: Who cares,You have consumers out there buying the bags, There is more to life than worrying about fake purses even real one for that matter. People who put all the energy on this,NEEDS TO GET A LIFE.

  • Skylla

    I would never risk my life by searching for bags in dark alleys in the middle of New York just to save a few bucks. You never know what other deals are also going on at the same time as she bought the bags. Heaven knows! She could have been mugged, raped, drugged or pulled into criminal activity. Placing the counterfeit issue aside, the reporter shows less than common sense. :roll:

  • CC

    Fakes are awful. If I am on eBay, and I see a fake, I report it. People are sneaky and try to get the amount of a real bag for a cheap $15 knock-off. After reporting, I usually follow up on the auctions, and see that they’ve been removed by eBay. It makes me so mad. Oh, and the people in NYC selling fakes are creepy.

  • Monica, Paris area

    Buying fakes is just plain wrong but I also I don’t get the motivation for it either. It’s described like a drug deal in the article. Who are these ladies wanting to enter into this clandestine experience? My very first beautiful watch, a simple Tag Haeur, my husband and I picked out together at Harrods. My first Mont Blanc pen my brother-in-law picked out and had engraved for me in one of the Paris Mont Blanc boutiques. My one and only Prada bag bought at Neiman Marcus with my giddy teenage daughter. Picking out a Cartier Trinity ring (just gold, no diamonds)for our 20th wedding anniversary, choosing the engraving was a lovely and romantic occasion with my husband. You have to go to Cartier for that not Ebay. How does one feel great or special about a fake Gucci bought in a back alley amongst rat crap and trash bins?

  • Ms. Diamondz

    who wants to pay 800+ for a bag anywayz everybody cat afford real bags

  • pursechazer

    I come from a third world country which is “poor” but i still feel it is wrong to buy counterfeit goods, i saved $3000 which is 180,000 Pakistan Rupees for my first handbag and i feel it was worth it.
    The article was written in good humor but piracy is a big no no!

  • lisa

    And this is coming from a group of peole who think spending $50,000 on an hermes bag is justifiable!! That money could feed a whole country! Leigh and Jasman you are 100% right! most of these people dont give a damn about sweatshop workers, they are only mad that someone bought an exact copy of their $1200 bag for $50.What is the alternative for these workers.. human trafficking? prostitution?? For some of these workers, the money they make at those shops is what supports their whole family.

  • Jenn

    Do u think the police actually care about fake bags? get a grip people, there are more important issues in the world. Its so funny how some of you on here are “so angry” that other people buy fake bags…get over it, its not your business.

    • jocelin

      Fakes are tacky. Period.

  • Avi

    AWWWW, how sad that designers are losing money bc of the counterfeit business. Who cares?! if people want fake bags thats their business. You think women who spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a bag cares about children in sweatshops. This forum is laughable

  • ParisPlease.

    Canada Girl there is always going to be sweatshops, ALWAYS. The gap just found out that some of their clothes were made in sweatshops. But I totally agree with Lisa, what is the alternative for these people working the sweat shops? I dont see America doing anything to help them.

  • You are all hypocrites

    Interesting that you all pretend to care about sweat shop kids. I just saw an advertisement for a $23,000 crocodile balenciaga bag. If you guys really care, donate money. Stop killing animals for the sake of your vanity.

  • Chi town Chanel

    I think there is a high probability that people who think that fakes are not an issue are the same people who are buying fakes themselves. If it is true, they should be brave enough to admit it here like Anti-fashionist did in her post above. Alternatively, they should consider doing a little bit of reading to better educate themselves on the topic of counterfeiting. It’s not just about fake bags. There are a lot of fake products that are much more dangerous: fake medication, airplane parts, car parts, etc. You may want to consider looking at the International Anticounterfeiting Coalition website. Educate yourself.

    BTW: for those who are railling against overly priced authentic designer handbags, why are you on this page? Did you notice that this is the Purse Forum?

    • Chi town Chanel

      Sorry Anti-fashionist, I meant to say “replicas” as per your post. Please forgive.

      • anti-fashionist

        No, you didn’t because you’re obviously trying to mock me. Stop acting like a tosser. :roll:

      • Chi town Chanel

        This is not meant to be mocking. It is meant to be a serious reply. It seems that some individuals are on here bashing other posters and breaking tPF posting guidelines. I have included the general posting rules below on this page for your reference. Name calling and profanilty are not in the spirit of tPF use. This is a serious topic and it can be discussed civily without the unnecessary name calling and explatives.

    • anonymously yours

      Thank you!!! I hate when people come on this forum just to bash!

  • dela

    People who say that working is the sweatshops is better alternative to many other occupations are clearly out of touch or they simply don’t care. Physical abuse that these workers suffer, especailly children, is appalling. They purposely hire children for producing certian goods because of their small hands they are more efficent. There was report that a factory owner in one country actually broke children’s legs so that they would not runaway.

  • Patois

    Hey Megs, can we add troll patrol to the comment section ?

  • Jackie

    There are more important issues than replica bags

  • vivi

    I own expensive bags and no replicas. That being said, while I feel uncomfortable (and some disdaing, to be honest) at people who are overly zealous about buying fakes, I feel even more disdain for people who are total snobs about buying “The Real Thing.” Even when you justify it by saying that at least you’re not promoting child labor or terrorism or [insert shocking and awful thing here], no one can hear you because all everyone else sees is that 3,000+ LV/Bottega/Hermes bag on your arm. And now I feel like a total tool for posting this much about something that, in reality, will thrive as long as there are class divides of rich and poor people in the world.

    • Anna

      Vivi, totally agree. Basically, people just need something to be self-righteous, holier-than-thou about. At the end of the day we’re all promoting terrorism any time we get into a car or any gas-powered vehicle – US imports 50% of its oil, and 10-15% of THAT comes from ‘friendly’ Saudi Arabia (home of Osama and most of 9-11 terrorists). So go figure. How many stories have we seen about Nike using sweatshop/child labor? Perfectly legal, right?

  • anonymously yours

    :mad: You know, I find it interesting that people like “You are all hypocrites” love to come on here and bash people for purchasing a bag that WE worked hard for. A majority of us are very hard working people and mothers and fathers and if a bag makes us happy and we WORK for it, then we deserve it. Who the hell are you to say that we are hypocrites for what we choose to purchase with our hard earned money????? How do you know for certain that we DON’T already give to charities?????? I for one do! And how much are YOU doing to right this wrong??????? Are you just ranting on a blog, or do you actually do something about it????

    • Kim

      You may feel justified in buying expensive bags if you’ve worked for them….but you will never be justified in using the amount of punctuation you just did.

  • Patty

    The problem of people not getting paid a fair wage extends beyond designer handbags.

    How much do you think people are paid for picking the produce we eat, working in the nasty chicken factories, working on any line that packages up all kinds of goods we buy?

    While the wealthy of this country carry expensive handbags…a lot of people are at the bottom of the food chain. There are people working full-time at legitimate jobs paying wages low enough to drive them to food pantries at the end of every month so they can feed their kids.

    Everyone can’t be at the top of the food chain..somebody has to do the real work of our society.

    The paper was publishing a story…it’s not their job to police the handbag industry.

  • sunny

    Im sure the people who are slaving away, making your ten thousand dollar purses, are making great money (insert sarcasm). Im sure the designers are doing just fine being that they charge thousands for their bags. And the idiots who buy them do need to be slapped. For most, its just superficial material object trying to fill the empty void.

    • anonymously yours

      Well most of us work very hard for what we have. And what we do w/ our own hard earned money is our own business. You know, you can only help others so much……there comes a time when you have to get off of your ass and help yourself.

      • anonymously yours

        ^^^And by the above statement, I mean that we work hard for the money we use to buy a highend handbag. How dare someone try to make us feel bad for doing so. When I said people should try to help themselves, I mean that people should go to school and try to get a better job. WE work for what we have. Anyone can go to school in this country, there are TONS of programs you can take part in.

        And by the way, for the person who said that the people who sell replicas make a lot of money (sarcastically) they actually do. They charge you anywhere from $50-80 dollars for crap. They are making theirs, trust me. And they are ripping off someone else whilel doing it.

      • Anna

        I think what ‘sunny’ is refering to is the sweatshop laborers. Counterfeit bags arent made by lower-class americans who, to at least some degree, do have a chance for a better life.

  • Chi town Chanel

    The Purse Forum Rules

    General Posting Rules
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    Should you have a problem with a member or post, send the member a Private Message (PM) or optionally, report the post to a Moderator using the ‘Report This Post’ link. Do not take your complaint to the public forums.
    Keep threads on topic. Start threads in the most appropriate forums.
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  • anonymously yours

    :shock: That is just gross!!!! And WE are the monsters for buying a bag we like?

  • Jahpson

    why oh why would anyone buy a fake? when there are better quality bags in middle of the line department stores? doesnt make sense to me.

    • Jahpson

      might I also, add that although some folks dont think buying a fake is a big idea..fine.

      but when you told that the bag you purchased is real and you spent a lot of money on it, only to find out it was worth barely a fraction, well thats fraud. and THATS what I have a problem with!!!

      if I spend even a dollar on a bag, it better have some use into it. no threads coming loose, no “leather” fading away. it has to be of quality.

      I can get a nice handbag at Macy’s for about $20 and it lasts me about 5 years. I have a Chanel handbag for over a year now and it STILL looks brand new.

      what am I going to get out of a fake? be it “quality” or not? waste of money and waste of time!!

  • Anna

    ‘For instance, Marcia Van Wagner, a deputy comptroller for New York City, estimates the overall knockoff market costs her city ”$2 billion in lost revenue” yearly.’
    – what does this figure represent? lost tax revenue? or the value of the bags sold have they not been cheap knock-off? if the latter, it is ludicrous to think that a middle-class teenager buying the fake for $30 would be in a position to spend $500 on the real deal. The ‘brands’ are not loosing money to the fakes because they dont compete with them. they market to the upper class, and un uptown fashionista WILL save up to buy the real deal once per season.

    ”Morally, there is the possibility that the counterfeit merchandise was produced in sweat shops utilizing child or slave labor,” Woodward says.
    – there is the near-same possibility when we buy anything from any large retailer.

    To Jahpson re: ‘but when you told that the bag you purchased is real and you spent a lot of money on it, only to find out it was worth barely a fraction, well thats fraud. and THATS what I have a problem with!!!’
    – who would ever think that a $30 bag purchased in Chinatown is EVER the real deal? In the earlier days when unless you lived in NYC or LA, it was nearly impossible to get designer items, and possibility for being fooled was much greater, but right now, you can be anywhere from Montana to Tijuana, and order the real thing directly from designer site or the likes of eLuxury/net-a-porter.

    • Jahpson

      oh I meant like place like ebay, where people claim its real and scam the buyer.

      • Anna

        Gotcha. Yeah, that always worries me. I never buy ‘designer’ anything on ebay unless i’d want to have it even if it wasnt designer (ie – a pretty dress).

  • laurice

    personally i buy fake bags bc im a college student and im broke.. i do have real designer bags but i got those when i was living at home with the support of my parents and a part-time job. now i live off easy mac and ramen noodles, and the money i do get from my parents goes to books, tuition and whatever else i need to survive. i would love to buy the bags i want but i need that $200 for my chemistry book which costs me like double.. haha. i guess thats my excuse.

  • laurice

    id like to add that this article does sound like my experiences shopping in chinatown.

  • jessica

    when you are in europe, if you get caught just purchasing a fake, you are fined over a thousand dollars.

    not for nothing, but why should i pay higher taxes so that these people can buy a crummy knock off? it took me 4 months to save for my marc by marc bag.

  • buyer

    I have several comments aimed toward all the people on this forum who are so self-rightous as to think they don’t own anything from a sweatshop.

    Look around your home… at least 90% of what you own or consume was produced by someone making the equivalent of $1 USD or less per hour, but did it stop you from buying it. If you don’t believe it, then get on a plane, fly to China or Cambodia or Vietnam and see for yourselves.

    If you’re so against buying something from a sweatshop why didn’t you think about that before you bought the computer you’re using to read this blog? Or the Apple IPod you listen to? That very genuine IPod, sold by Apple, was made in Shenzhen China by someone making $1 per hour in a factory that employs 260,000 people. The circuit board inside that IPod, and indeed those inside you’re genuine cell phone and DVD player, were made in another factory by someone making .44 cents per hour. I know this, I have seen the factories, I have seen their payroll figures, I have met the people making the products. To them a factory job like that is a stable well-paying skilled career. Why? Because as long as we keep buying those IPods, toothbrushes, t-shirts, etc. they get a paycheck. If those items were made by our pay standards you wouldn’t be able to afford to buy them. This is the sad reality of the global economic situation. Read this…
    www. theatlantic. com /doc /200801 /fallows-chinese-dollars

    And also… The GAP (and other designers) did not just realize their clothes were being made in factories like that. It would be more accurate to say they “just realized” it in the media. They chose those factories to produce their clothes for a reason, so their profit margin on cheap “diposable” clothes Old Navy brand would be higher.

    • dela

      You argument would be sound if we were using a universal currency. $1/hr in India means about 40 rupees/hr and that would mean as you said “a stable well-paying skilled career.” That might not make a person rich but you can still lead a comfortable life. Remember, these are countries where you can still lead a comfortable life on one person’s salary and we can’t say the same about the working class in the US. The problems in these countries are not because of wages, but because of corruption and greedy governments.
      A computer engineer outsourced in India will only make a faraction of their US counterpart, but within in the context of the country he has a job of a lifetime (with a multi-national company).
      With in the US we experience the same thing. In the Bay Area salaries are much higher than a place like NC, on the other hand so are the real estate prices.
      Here were are vocing opinion against illegal operations ie theft not against companies like Apple or Gap, which are taking advantage of the diff. costs of living and at the same time opening oppourtunites for workers in third world countries.

  • Lisa

    It seems that law enforcement is going after those who are selling a high amount of fake bags. Understandable. I am getting tired of resale shops selling them. Many of the owners of resale shops can’t even tell the difference. I have siz resale shops in my immediate city all of which are selling fake bags. Disgraceful. Juts to make a buck. They need to be reported also.

  • Anonymous

    Oh all you people of BOTH sides…LIVE AND LET LIVE!!!

  • Tammy

    Get over it! This country has way more important issues than Fake purses!

  • Tom Andrea

    one more nice topic in your blog and nice comments too keep it up, If you advise some more related links to this topic.

  • Jaime

    Sadly these REAL handbags cost little to make in the first place and that is the sad part. I’m sure they cost about $100 and then retail them for $800+. So basically the designer is ripping us off and we don’t seem to really care!

  • wholesale Underwear

    It all comes down to common sense really

  • Designer Boots Store

    I second that Maren. I love the satchel bag pictured above. I just wish it was available in metallic.

  • ncabigail

    If companies like Hermes can charge 20,000 for a bag that cannot possibly have that much in labor and materials, then they deserve to have their bags counterfeited. And furthermore, shame on anyone who would actually pay that much for a bag. They should buy the fake and then donate the difference to charity!

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