PurseBlog Asks

Would You Buy a Counterfeit As a Test Before Buying the Real Thing?

Is this a new phenomenon or something that's remained hush hush?

The market for counterfeit luxury goods is expansive, and industry experts estimate that a whopping  $1.7 trillion to $4.5 trillion worth of counterfeit goods are sold each year.

Of course, we all know that producing and selling fake products is legally wrong. Morally, well, that’s something that continues to be debated, remaining one of the most divisive topics among handbag lovers.

The counterfeit industry has existed nearly as long as the luxury fashion industry itself, with brands like Louis Vuitton creating new techniques to ward off fakes dating back to the late 1800s. In fact, the Maison’s now highly-counterfeited Monogram canvas was designed to ward off fakes.

Would You Buy a Counterfeit Before the Real Thing
Louis Vuitton’s ubiquitous Monogram remains one of the most-faked motifs

From the crazy world of super fakes to dupe culture, we’ve covered the topic extensively here on PurseBlog, and each time, it’s opened up a fruitful discussion.

The Consequences of Counterfeits

It’s well known that there are far greater impacts to shopping the counterfeit market than just a loss of sales dollars to the brands themselves. Fakes have been linked to terrorism, forced labor, human trafficking, and more. Still, there is a world—a trillion-dollar one at that—where shoppers consume these illegal goods.

In recent months, when combing through submissions for our popular Closet Confessionals, numerous collectors have admitted to purchasing fakes. But the purchases weren’t made the way we normally discuss.

BITW January 10

Rather, the counterfeit item was purchased as a way to test if a certain style or size of a bag would work for a buyer’s needs. The intention, of course, is for the real thing to be eventually acquired.

We’ve all had the unfortunate experience of buying a bag that didn’t live up to its hype. Maybe the size was simply too small, or maybe the shape was difficult to style. However, good intentions aside, buying a counterfeit is still illegal and helps fund various egregious activities.

What do you think? Have you, or would you, purchase a fake before buying the real thing?

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C L
C L
1 month ago

Setting aside moral issues underlying purchasing counterfeits, this also seems to encourage overconsumption habits that are (rightfully? hopefully?) falling out of fashion these days. Purchasing one thing with the express purpose of using it for a short while and then discarding it in favor of another thing is a mentality that doesn’t sit comfortably with me.

Even if you are able to resell or hand down the “test bag” to someone else, the point is you’ve purchased two items when only one item was necessary. I adore designer bags and for me one of the best arguments in favor of investing in “fewer, better” is you’re ultimately consuming less STUFF 🙂

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  C L

Perfectly said.

ClassActionHermes
ClassActionHermes
1 month ago

Have they ever proved that buying the original is not tied to human rights & labor right violations? Look at Loro Piana’s abuse of Peruvian indigenous farmers.

Bee
Bee
1 month ago

The increased scrutiny on luxury brands and the reputational issues gives me some comfort that’s entirely missing from the counterfeit market

Vintage
Vintage
1 month ago

There’s a big difference between buying a counterfeit and a dupe.

A counterfeit is a lie – something that could have stood on its own right but that dignity was stolen from it. A dupe is in the style of, and it can live an independent life without the thing it imitates.

It’s the difference between identity theft and celebrity impersonation

Charlotte B
Charlotte B
1 month ago
Reply to  Vintage

There is really no such thing as a handbag “dupe”. It works for cosmetics and skin care products, not for bags.

Charlotte B
Charlotte B
1 month ago
Reply to  Charlotte B

…unless you are talking about an exact copy, but with no logos.

Fabuleux
Fabuleux
1 month ago
Reply to  Vintage

I love this. ❤️

Marla
Marla
1 month ago

Never a fake! If you want to test a style, there are always tons of legitimate “inspired-by” and vintage options.

SonShownu
SonShownu
1 month ago
Reply to  Marla

or rent it from some bag rental

Charlotte B
Charlotte B
1 month ago
Reply to  SonShownu

Hmmmm. That’s a good idea if you have actually budgeted for the real thing. OTOH, renting a bag that we can’t afford to buy might be seen by some as being a bit fake. Unless, of course, you admit to everyone who thinks it’s really yours that it’s a rental.

lalarey
lalarey
1 month ago
Reply to  SonShownu

oooh I totally forgot about handbag rentals but this is even better than buying a dupe because you can see how the real deal actually wears, slouches, shows usage over time

Charlotte B
Charlotte B
1 month ago

Here’s the issue. Luxury bags are now far more expensive than they are worth. The business has gotten completely out of hand. Hermès in particular is treating customers with bias. Counterfeits are getting better and better. You’ll never convince me that many influencers are not showing off fake bags and passing them off as real in videos. Our current social zeitgeist is to COMPLETELY ignore reality. In the case of Birkins and Kellys, the bags are not even safe to carry anymore. A few years ago, I would never have even thought of saying this, and I have not done it myself (yet) but why not buy a superfake and save yourself the grief of dealing with the wildly overpriced luxury bag market?

Annag
Annag
1 month ago
Reply to  Charlotte B

Brands like Hermès and Chanel have brought the whole fakes/superfakes/dupes problem on their own heads, as you note. They are private companies and can sell their overpriced [and in the case of Chanel, falling quality] bags to whomever they choose and at whatever price they can charge. I won’t play their game. If I can find the bag that I want, pre-loved, at a reasonable price, I’ll buy it there, but if I can’t find it and I want a particular style and color, I see no problem in seeking out a reasonable facsimile elsewhere. I’m certainly not going to spend $10K on Hermès tchotkes that I don’t want in the vain hope that they will offer me the style, size, and color that I really want.

You girls need a life
You girls need a life
1 month ago

Who cares? The moral argument is as old and tired as those people working in the Loro Piana sweatshop. If someone wants a fake, it isn’t my business. If it doesn’t apply, let it fly.

dela
dela
1 month ago

Re buying counterfeit bags as test products: Human beings have a way of rationalizing pretty much any bad behavior.

It is truly astounding that we are talking about trillions of dollars.

Thefashionableteacher
Thefashionableteacher
1 month ago

I’ve bought dupes but not counterfeits. There’s a difference. The last thing I want is to spend exorbitant amounts of money on fakes. For the price of a fake, I could buy a lower priced luxury bag. A flap bag is a flap bag. If I can’t afford a YSL, I’d buy a Rebecca Minkoff.

Besides, I’d feel like a fake if I did that. I’m staying in my lane.

Thehoneybug
Thehoneybug
1 month ago

Fakes fund criminal activitys globally. 100% never ok.

MsKarybabyyy
MsKarybabyyy
1 month ago
Reply to  Thehoneybug

.

Charlotte B
Charlotte B
1 month ago
Reply to  Thehoneybug

Can you please describe exactly what criminal activity is being funded by superfakes coming out of China? It’s always so vague. Why? This is a trope put out by companies like Hermès to scare people. AFAIK, the Chinese are primarily guilty only of having complete disregard for intellectual property, and being VERY good at copying stuff.

Chanel has subcontracted Italian workers who are stuck in deplorable working conditions- no heat, inhumane long hours and little pay. Armani has issues. Loro Piana has issues. What’s the difference?

MsKarybabyyy
MsKarybabyyy
1 month ago
Reply to  Charlotte B

..

A_FLYY_GIRL
A_FLYY_GIRL
1 month ago

Hell to the no. I’d just buy a high tier quality counterfeit and call it a day, no testing needed. (I’d see it as a waste of time and money). I wouldn’t “feel fake: about it, and I wouldn’t concern myself with any “underlying moral issues” (“bad behavior” notwithstanding as I have yet to see any um convincing evidence that criminals are behind counterfeits and honestly, there is absolutely nothing moral about buying a bag that costs $10k and requires it’s own umbrella, armed security and monthly insurance premiums).

I do however, wonder about the “dignity” of a handbag. Is a counterfeit less dignified than an authentic or a knockoff/dupe? In what way? In my er esteemed opinion the dignity is in the wearer, not the handbag.

Rental? Heavens no! Who knows who rented that bag before you? What if they had dust mites? Bedbugs? Ugh!

I got such a kick out of Charlotte B and You girls need a life! Lurve!!

At the end of the day it all comes down to personal choice, and whatever you choose to do and end up with, wear it well and enjoy!

Kathy
Kathy
15 days ago
Reply to  A_FLYY_GIRL

Here here! All of this!!! You said it better than I ever could!

Charlotte B
Charlotte B
1 month ago
Reply to  A_FLYY_GIRL

A to the -men!

Allan
Allan
1 month ago

Not really. Counterfeits, especially Hermès (and especially the good ones), are also so expensive. lol

MissC
MissC
1 month ago

People trying to uphold the idea that fake bags are wrong is laughable. Chanel and Hermes are laughing to the bank. They raise their prices annually and people rush to buy them. Hermes plays games with their customers and people sign up. The value is in the perception. There’s a reason the top brands are sought after far and wide. Chanel is not using 10k worth of leather to justify the price. People buy high end bags to convey an image or wealth or higher social status. I really wonder how many people would buy a Chanel or Hermes bag with no logo. Even celebrities’ have been known to carry fakes. Increasing prices to create the air exclusivity has created this issue. There’s little they can do to stop it.

Julie
Julie
1 month ago

I think if I was seriously considering dropping the kind of money required for an Hermes I’d consider a fake first. There really isn’t an equivalent dupe of a Kelly. It’s my dream bag but I do wonder if opening and closing it would drive me crazy. I’d be so upset if I spent that kind of money only to discover the bag wasn’t right for me. I haven’t ever bought a fake but it’s the one time I could be tempted.

Vintage
Vintage
1 month ago
Reply to  Julie

There are a lot of true-vintage dupes of the Kelly that are of excellent quality and better made than a lot of modern bags. The best is Lederer, but Bally also made one.

Charlotte B
Charlotte B
1 month ago
Reply to  Julie

I have never carried my Kelly with both straps latched- only one. Also, it’s unlikely that you will carry it every day. With both straps latched it’s still easy enough to open. I have never actually used the lock- it just hangs on the clochette.

My preferred everyday H bag is the Bolide. It’s low key and zippered. Best H bag, bar none, IMO, and I am delighted that it’s not highly sought after. It’s the only H bag that I own more than one of.

Hervé
Hervé
1 month ago

Buy less and save the planet.

SonShownu
SonShownu
1 month ago

Never ever buy a fake, or the “local handmade inspired, No Logo but 100% copy paste of the bag”
there’s always a cheaper yet authentic option on fashion, or 2nd hand market, or maybe some legit local brand, and if it just for a test, you can always rent the bag.
fake is a fake, no matter if it made from real leather and handmade..

Miss Mindy
Miss Mindy
1 month ago

I’d know it was fake and I wouldn’t feel good wearing it. When I take my real bags out of their dust bags to wear, it feels ceremonial. I wouldn’t get that with a fake either. Also I’m not funding criminals that pay sweatshop workers a pittance. I don’t buy fast fashion either.

Charlotte B
Charlotte B
1 month ago
Reply to  Miss Mindy

Chanel subcontracts much of their bag making. At least one subcontracter pays their Italian workers a pittance, and forces them to work long hours with no breaks and no heat.

Blankie
Blankie
1 month ago
Reply to  Charlotte B

I saw the Youtube documentary about how the leather workers from poor countries are treated in Italy 🙁 They supply to the big fashion houses.

Charlotte B
Charlotte B
1 month ago

It’s very much like passing great faux jewelry off as real. I suspect that to get away with a fake bag, it has to be a great fake, and everything else you have on has to be the real deal. Ex: If you’ve got on a Brunello Cucinelli sweater, everyone will assume that your fake bag is real. There’s an art to it.

Victoria C.
Victoria C.
1 month ago

I purchased my last authentic bag towards the end of 2018, and haven’t looked back since. I am at an age where if I can basically get the same thing for half the price or less, then that’s what I’m going to do. In my opinion, it is people’s prerogative to spend their money any way they see fit; so in my case I choose to spend mine on reps rather than authentics. I can buy 3-5 reps for the price of one authentic; that sounds like a good deal to me. What I don’t do is act like/pretend my rep bags are authentic, I tell people in a heartbeat that it is a rep. Heck, I even tell the high schoolers I work with that my stuff comes from China, and we all know teens can be the worst critics. I’m living my life for me and no one else.

Tiffany
Tiffany
1 month ago

I wouldn’t purchase a counterfeit but I have purchased an unbranded dupe of a Lindy to get a sense for functionality of how I’d use it. It was $100 off Poshmark, I learned the Lindy is *not* for me, and resold it.

Jo s
Jo s
1 month ago

I bought a fake on eBay once, using PayPal (it was a great fake!) ..and it took months to get my money back. When asked what to do with the fake I was told ‘just keep it” so I gave it to an appreciative acquaintance. I’m a believer in “doing it right or not at all.” Whatever the budget, I buy the best I can in that range. Fakes do not last, support illegal/immoral conditions and generally wouldn’t make me feel good. (I care more about what I think than what others do,)

Suellen
Suellen
1 month ago
Reply to  Jo s

I agree with that. If I was wearing a fake bag, I would feel fake. I think It would make me enormously uncomfortable and self conscious.

Charlotte B
Charlotte B
1 month ago
Reply to  Suellen

I used to feel that way, too. Now I feel no allegiance or obligation to snooty SAs or corporate greed. It’s every woman for herself, and I judge no one for knowingly buying a great fake. Selling a fake a the real deal is of course, absolutely unacceptable., and bad fakes are a waste of money. Go big with the superfake, or don’t bother.

Sandy
Sandy
1 month ago

Absolutely NOT!

sheron rembert
sheron rembert
1 month ago

No ! Absolutely not. If I can not afford to buy it, I can’t afford to wear it.

MsKarybabyyy
MsKarybabyyy
1 month ago

Hmmm….
There exists a “legitimate” luxury goods industry, which reportedly brought in a whopping 23 billion dollars in 2023. These figures are not calculated based upon terrorist activity as the so-called terrorists seem to be um ILLUSIVE.

Unable to catch.

These figures therefore are based upon counterfeit PURCHASES made and includes handbags which annually accounts for 3 trillion dollars annually in the United States.

It’s something to consider.

Celebrities have long been peddlers of luxury goods and the so-called “super rich” are wearing these “luxury” bags. Yet the super rich are also buying counterfeit handbags (and who knows what else) and this includes fashion “bloggers” so-called.

On average, I’m thinking that most people are simply NOT going to shell out thousands of dollars for a purse – and that includes those who are “rich” and can actually afford it. Yet I see not a SHRED of conclusive evidence that proves that “terrorists” are behind these counterfeit goods. Not. One. Iota.

If terrorists are really behind it, why haven’t they been found? Are not brands protected by copyright and trademark laws? In my estimation, the only way to stop the production of counterfeit goods is to make it illegal to BUY them. I am 100% certain that this would stop the so called terrorists from producing them.

No supply, no demand.

Personally I am NOT against the sale of counterfeit goods. I’m simply not buying the terrorist bull.

liisawinklergirl
liisawinklergirl
1 month ago

nope… the fakes are not only getting really good BUT also expensive! a well crafted fake Birkin or Chanel is now about 600€ -800€ in Philippines…..

nyac12
nyac12
1 month ago

i would never buy a counterfeit (NEVER).