If you buy cheap counterfeit Chanel shoes, it might not be that easy to see the difference, especially to the untrained eye.

But, who is paying the real price of your purchase, and can this $460 billion industry take a dangerous turn?

Counterfeit Vs. Knockoff

Counterfeit fashion, often synonymous with knockoff products, refers to manufacturing the replica of products with the intent to deceive the buyer.

Fashion clothing retailers such as Inditex (e.g., their brand Zara) or ASOS are long known to sell the knockoffs of the other brand’s products.

Knockoffs are visibly fake inexpensive versions of products big brands popularize each season.

Knockoff fashion is inspired by high fashion stores and normalized by fast fashion companies. However, as the creators of counterfeit fashion aim to sell the exact imitation of the product, it can lead to legal issues.

Status Symbols No More


Counterfeit fashion products can cause significant damage to a designer brand’s reputation.

What types of items are most likely to be counterfeited? The most popular counterfeit items are also the same fashion brands associated with luxury and high status.

It is not coincidental that big fashion houses, including Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, Supreme and Rolex, are frequently targeted by counterfeiters.

Brands such as Hermes or Supreme often have long waiting lists for their products, and to get their products is considered a privilege.

The allure of such brands is that you will be one of few to own the limited product.

Dupes of these prestigious brands are often hard to detect. It can be hard to differentiate between a counterfeit fashion product imitated to the finest detail and the real thing.

Many people want to reflect the image of the high earning elite with status symbols such as Hermes Birkin bags. However, as they cannot afford the price, they sometimes resort to buying counterfeit versions.

With many available websites for the counterfeit clothing masquerading as originals, financial losses of the original brands seem inevitable. A Financial report from 2018-2020 estimated that luxury brands suffer losses of more than $30 billion. 

The Real Price of the Cheap Counterfeits


When it comes to counterfeit clothing, one pattern is clear; it is almost always cheap quality. High fashion brands such as Hermes make their products scarcely, using only high-quality materials (often rare leathers and gold) in combination with honed craftsmanship.

Counterfeit clothing embodies all of the issues of unsustainable fast fashion.

Namely, because of the sweatshops used to make these items, cheap materials, and frequently changing trends, the real cost is not only environmental but ethical as well.

Make-up dupes are also popular and can even be dangerous for consumers.

This is because beauty products imitations replace the ingredients in the high-end products to make a cheaper copy, often using harmful and toxic components instead.

Fighting Against Counterfeit Fashion


Considering that counterfeit manufacturers steal a renowned brand’s designs affecting their profits and reputation, brands have every right to pursue them legally. Moreover, buying and selling counterfeit items is illegal.

Regardless, not all brands decide to press legal charges.

Some brands don’t fight against counterfeit fashion but instead use it to make it work for them, possibly encouraging the further advancement of the counterfeit market.

Diesel managed to make a profit off of counterfeit clothing. Fashion Week in 2018 is well-known for Diesel’s stunt of selling the original clothing under the pretence that it was forged.   

Gucci also figured out how to turn the existing counterfeit narrative in fashion, playing it to their advantage. They hired the Gucci Ghost, a street artist who painted their logo all over New York City, to work on their haute couture collection in 2015.


Final Word

The internet is flooded with various knockouts and counterfeit products of famous fashion brands such as Nike, Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, etc. Because of the enormous demand for such a market, they won’t be going anywhere soon - if ever.

So, the question remains, is the solution to keep fighting legally, or should brands take counterfeit manufacturing in their stride, and possibly suffer the consequences of a damaged reputation?

About me

Combining my love for fashion and writing, I completed a masters in journalism and public relations all whilst working in the fashion industry.


I could go on and on about why I would make the perfect copywriter for you, but that would take months, years even.


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