Thursday, March 7, 2013

When Is It OK To Fake?


When is it OK to fake it, style wise? We can't all afford, or don't choose to spend on, the finest designer label clothing, shoes and handbags. But how do you feel about fakes?

I won't buy a fake designer purse. I have a lot of respect for a designer's ideas, craftsmanship, and reputation (My husband designs software and I think that's influenced my views on creative product.) Imposter bags are often made under heinous working conditions, and sometimes use child labor. And, they're usually poorly made with a cheap appearance. So what's to love?

But that's a specific kind of fake. That's not a Chanel, or a great vintage Chanel, or a cool vintage bag from the thrift. I call them "Channels", kind of like the "Golex" watches you can get for $25 from street vendors.

Good article here about how to spot a fake designer purse. This one is real.
From More Magazine.

There's another kind of "fake" that's just fine with me, though, and I'd love to hear your opinions. I don't mind at all wearing cubic zirconium pendants, for example. I'll wear a nice honkin' one, and if anyone asks I say "It's a cubic zirconium, for real." Very few people ask, and I enjoy the necklace for what it is: a good-looking fake diamond. I wear fake pearls too, and don't give a hoot about their faux-ness.

On the other hand, I wouldn't buy a fake Tiffany piece. They have trademarked some designs that are noticeably their own. If that's the piece I want, I will shell out to Tiffany's (or a reputable re-seller) for it. Wendy Brandes, talented jewelry designer, has some tales to tell about jewelry rip-offs. And if I can't afford an original Tiffany or Wendy design right now, I'm tickled with a vintage necklace from the consignment store.

Don't even try to copy Wendy's fabulous Cleves ring.

I don't own a single couture item in my wardrobe, but I have no objection to less-expensive pieces inspired by the great designers. Speaking of Chanel, Talbots and others make lovely tweed jackets that clearly got their inspiration from Coco. They're not pretending to be Coco, though, at one-tenth the price.

This won't pass as a Chanel, but it doesn't have to - it's stylish and inspired
by the influential designer. At Nordstroms, $108

So I won't go in for stealing a designer's name and trademarked designs, but I'll happily wear fake diamonds, pearls and "inspiration" pieces. Am I on the slippery slope? Where do you weigh in on this issue?

And have a lovely, authentic day! ♥


  1. Love that jacket and the shirt with it as well.

  2. I think the difference is whether something is counterfeit (fake) or "inspired by." I don't mind "inspired by" items like the jacket you've shown, and often in the past would purchase something because I liked the design and wasn't aware it was copying a popular designer style. Why buy a fake designer bag when there are so many great original or "inspired by" styles out there for the same price? BTW, the Purse Blog Forums have hundreds of threads devoted to how to tell the real items from fakes, so if you're eyeing that designer bag on ebay, go check them out first.

  3. Pam@Over50feeling40March 7, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    With thrift, resale, and Ebay...we should never be tempted to buy fakes.  I am so glad to see the industry crack down on sellers of fakes in order to protect the designers right to make money and protect their businesses.  Cute denim look!!

  4. I was about to comment but Une Femme took the words right out of my mouth.  "Inspired by" and counterfeiting are two completely different things.  Counterfeiting is taking a copyrighted name and shamelessly putting it on an inferior made (or at times even well made) product--it is stealing.  Those who buy counterfeits are supporting an illegal trade/business (not to mention the sweatshops/inhumane working conditions that go along with it).  "Inspired by" looks have been around for decades.  For example, Koret and Meyer handbag companies (which were quality companies back in the day--Koret is still around) made fabulous quilted Chanel-type bags--but they never claimed to be Chanel products.  When one takes advantage of these inspired designs, she can have the "look" she admires without going broke (and/or landing in jail--pretty sure there aren't any "design inspired" orange jumpsuits ; ) ).  

  5. I think that when a design has become iconic, such as the Coco jacket, it's not really considered a knockoff, but icon. I agree with you about the purses though. Names don't really impress me anyway. It seems as though those who walk around with the "designer" bags are less in for fashion and more about status. I think the two are often confused but to me there is a difference.

  6. You're not on a slippery road Patti! We're not all rich, but we still need to get dressed, and with style too. What are our options? Ethically: Thrift, second hand and inspired by. Sometimes it just takes too long to find what you need, in second hand shops - so we have to turn to inspired by.

    Once we've acknowledged that there's a difference between copies and inspired by, I'm sure there's no chance we'll cross the limit!

  7. I do not buy fake (costume) jewelry. For me, it is not a good investment. I buy things to wear decade after decade and also to give to the next generation. I have a small collection of jewelry and wear each piece over and over.

  8. I think your parameters are just right..."inspired" pieces are fair game, afterall, we all constantly get our inspiration from varied sources. We then might incorporate it, only to have it surface again in some very different form.  It's important to think about - great post!

  9. Patti....I agree with you 100% on every element.

  10. With all the FAKE MARKETING going on these days I do not think anyone knows for sure what is authentic and what is not.  "Buyer Beware" has never been more important.   I have fun shopping for things that are NOT expensive but LOOK expensive.  The thrill is in the HUNT!!!

  11. PinkcheetahvintageMarch 7, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    I don't mind fake jewelry-- faux pearls and whatever and I love 'inspired by' pieces.  I think there is really such a small amount of people (in comparison to the whole shopping population) that can really afford to buy at top designer level prices that if people buy fakes, I just don't think it's cutting into their business.  I mean, most of the people buying the fakes couldn't afford the designer pieces even if fakes weren't available...  That being said, all that child labor stuff is horrendous and isn't limited to copycat productions.  Even Gap/Banana Republic have gotten in huge trouble for their violation of labor laws in other countries.  Horrible.

  12. I'm hardly up on the latest and greatest designers. I don't even buy jewelry (even the fake stuff). All my jewelry has been gifted, except for stuff I've bought from the artists themselves. As for clothes, I do 95% of my clothes shopping in the thrift store now. So on some level, I hardly care what the brand label says. I care more about the fabric content and if it fits. 

    I cannot afford couture, I know I can't, so why pretend?

  13. Since I can't afford real designer clothes, "inspired" is a good option as long as they don't pretend to be original. Nothing worse than a cheap plastic LV ot Chanel bag.

    Lady of Style

  14. Additionally, I think faux-items with logos are bad. That's one line I think is the worst.

  15. Patti, Well Said! I would rather save and save and save and purchase one beautiful (authentic) handbag than several knock offs or fake ones, mainly based on the reasons you already gave. The same goes with a nice piece of jewelry. Once a year my cute husband gives me a special gift of a David Yurmin piece of jewelry, its a treasure and I treat it that way. I also agree with the designers who use 'inspiration' as their background and I'm grateful to have them around.

  16. Mrs_Jack_of_all_tradesMarch 8, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    In my opinion, don't  fake it but get an inspired piece instead.  Instead of 'Channel', get a good leather Chanel inspired with no label or what so ever.  As for clothing, faking is not necessary. Buy good quality clothes with no label or cheaper label but pair them well and viola! You'll look like a million bucks!  I wear diamonds but I do have a pair of diamond solitaire earrings that is of man made diamond.  They are not as expensive.  I paid about $1,200 for a pair and they are perfect!


  17. I won't buy fakes either. There are a lot of really nasty organisations that are affiliated with the counterfit trade, and I would much rather have something that is quietly luxurious that screaming at you from a mountaintop anyway. 

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  19. I' m with you on the cubic zirconium.  Husband gave me a lovely pair of diamond earrings that I hesitate to wear as much as I'd like because I worry about losing them. So I bought a similar pair in cubic zirconium, that I wear without concern.  When people comment on them I say, "don't you love them? They were a gift." 

  20. hmmm very hard to say when it is ok... if you CAN afford it never it's ok , but when money are a problem, then it is a problem of options...some prefer to save save and save and buy something expensive with a serious brand other prefer to wear smth is a problem of option...

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  36. If it takes an investigator with skills to know it's fake, I'll buy it. Huge profits are made by big designers (that won't change because people like me buy fakes), they're ALL made overseas on the backs of the poor and it's the enterprising poor who work hard to put out decent fakes. Support enterprising persons who have figured out how to eat! Buy fakes! The rest is BS feel-good righteousness.