The Real Threat Posed By Counterfeit Goods

Sociological Images on an anti-knockoffs informational campaign from the U.S. government, to discourage plebeians from faking the fashions of elites:

This National Crime Prevention Council/Bureau of Justice Assistance ad, spotted in a mall in Portland, tells you that if you buy knock-offs, you are “a phony.” Yikes. I would have preferred “savvy” or “cost-conscious.” But, no… you are a fake person, a liar, a hypocrite. You are an impostor.

Counterfeits don’t really cut into Chanel’s profits directly. The people who buy bags that costs thousands of dollars are not going to try to save some pennies by buying a knock-off… [And] the people who are buying the counterfeits wouldn’t suddenly be buying the originals if their supply ran out.

Instead, policing the counterfeiters is a response to a much more intangible concern, something Pierre Bourdieu called “cultural capital.” You see, a main reason why people spend that kind of money on handbags is to be seen as the kind of person who does. The handbags are a signal to others that they are “that kind” of person, the kind that can afford a real Gucci. The products, then, are ways that people put boundaries between themselves and lesser others.

But, when lesser others can buy knock-offs on the street in L.A. and just parade around as if they can buy Gucci too! Well, then the whole point of buying Gucci is lost! If the phony masses can do it, it no longer serves to distinguish the elites from the rest of us.

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  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    well you can support corporations, be a “phony..” or try the third way: not caring at all about any of this fashion crap.

  • Raz

    I don’t see why just the counterfait it’s phony. Both of them use of human exploitation to make products cheap. The only diference is that the counterfeit sells cheaper than the “original” that usually costs the eyes of the face.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    My first tip off that this woman was a phony was the fact that she gave a sh*t about fashion in the first place.

    • JaceD

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • rtb61

       Which is exactly the right answer, if you think buying into mass marketed imagery makes you someone special, the truth is not only are you a victim of marketing but you live your life as a phony.
      Mock the market tools and be proud to wear fakes that all will help to kill the corporate marketing engine of deceit.
      That any government waste taxpayer dollars on the perversity of modern marketing ‘fashions’ is just sick. Government is meant to be working in the interests of the majority not pandering bullshit.

  • Jesus Borg

    I want to buy a bunch of really expensive clothes/jewelry watches etc. that I see advertised in GQ…becauase I don’t want to be a phony.

     Aren’t we all profound/ironic/ preaching to the choir in the comments section today!

  • http://twitter.com/alizardx A.Lizard

    Meanwhile, there’s a company http://www.everlane.com whose business model is high-quality and relatively inexpensive knockoffs of designer clothes WITHOUT designer labels to cater to a growing market of upper-middle class and above people who want to dress well but do NOT want to look extremely affluent in public. 

  • Knm

    yeah i’m a phony i’m not gonna spend hella cash for a real gucci bag that’s gonna get used and abused so lemme get my knockoffs, ok?

  • http://www.facebook.com/bob.cronkwright Bob Cronkwright

    I don’t know who to feel more sorry for the person who judges a person by what they wear or the person who needs to be judge by what they wear. 

  • OK

    I guess it’s just a matter of time before the gov’t starts calling me a poseur for buying store-brand “Kleenex.”

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    i try to avoid buying any clothing with a logo on it
    that’s difficult sometimes
    so if i have to wear a corporate elite’s logo
    i’d prefer it to be a forgery
    an obvious forgery would be the best

    like my collection of $3 Raybans
    i pick-up in Cambodia a few months ago

  • DrDavidKelly

    I’d like so totally sleep with her despite all her fakery … she’s hot.

  • McGruff

    Amazing the quality of counterfeit goods these days. That chick’s counterfeit scarf looks just like a real scarf!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rthoneunomia.celine Threedinium

    There is no other art, be it word, stage or craft, whose fate I lament more than fashion.

  • BrendanBabbage

    I checked with a lawyer for potential Jury Duty…  It’s OK to pretend you don’t know nothin’ bout no Jury Nullifcation, then nullify…  If you freak out on it, wanting 12 other people to let off Chester the Molester to protest your city’s property tax, well probably trouble.  But just plain “Not Guilty” and arguing why in the Jury room, fine…

    Frankly, most “Authentic” elite crud goods rely on serial numbers these days.  Simply put, the “Sweatshop in China” or India, the Philippines, etc… uses the SAME assembly process to make the SAME goods.  It’s only the price tag and the merchant’s permission.  Now you’d have to TRY to find a “Cheap, low-quality knock-off”…  The middle part, rather…  Oh, still plenty of crud out there, but the low rent, shoddy, underpaid sweatshop/manufacturer has to make money and they barely cover overhead cheating an American/European worker their day’s wage, so why not use the same skills/equipment/human resources to make knock offs?

    I’m all for nullifying any charges against any bootleggers…  Let the market collapse for the elite’s goods…

    Know what makes me really mad, if any elites are slumming reading this…?

    It’s coz I’m in the market to buy a mechanical watch.  I know it’s silly, my one 1% thing I’d ever do for real if able to is buy those fancy watches.  Have a weird hyper metabolism/bio-electricity I fry watches.

    But I find TWO F*cking designs floating, each SUCK….  this is at the “Mere Mortal” level of price.  Lots of brand names but same internal design…  The first is openly made in China and has these swooshes on it’s pendulum.  It’s in the $50-$200 range depending on when/where.  Works real good for a day or a year, then suddenly stops.  The other one is for the $100 – $500 range.  Again same design a little better than the China but obviously China made but most consumer reviews are a scary 1/4 horrific dissatisfaction/sudden stop/fail.

    Now, to make a remotely functional mechanical watch, you don’t need some Swiss guy.  I had as a child a made in Japan Mickey Mouse watch that lasted 10 years.  Wore it till grandpa gave me a Seiko calculator watch lasted 15 years.  then every watch after lasts not ONE YEAR…

    Since whatever capitalist swine is obviously making the same TWO watches at the 99% price range…  Can you pass it on to him, PLEASE!?  Make something that F*cking works.  Just charge 5% more so the sweatshop in China is actually paid enough they don’t cut corners just to keep the books straight, ok?  I mean, all that material, labor, lobbyist getting the tax breaks… Make something that WORKS, OK?  It won’t ruin it for  you guys flaunting that you can puke $400K on something from the “WatchPorn” mags they have at Barnes and Noble next to Letters to Penthouse, OK?  Matter of fact, have one of those Swiss guys make a factory that makes mass end reliable mechanical watch in between these individual “Art”…  Enough of us do appreciate a watch that’d last a lifetime and not need batteries, silly as it is, it’d be worth it now that the net can market it.  You’d think with the “Watchporn” and the set to buy them there’d be enough 1% ers who appreciate a mechanical watch/the art/ that they’d have some tiny, tiny, tiny level of respect for the small % of 99ers who do like those as perhaps one of the few luxuries they’d spend more on these days.