How counterfeiting is proving to be detrimental for the fashion industry?

Counterfeiting of top-notch fashion brands has become a common affair. Not just regular clothing and accessories but even luxury items are being duplicated in large numbers. According to EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office), counterfeiting is worth around 10 % of the fashion brands sold in countries like the UK, Spain and Italy. The countries have some of the highly popular designer brands with a global demand which makes them highly susceptible to counterfeiting. The problem of duplication not just leads to monetary loss but also weakens consumer trust and tarnishes the image of the brand.

Of late, fashion brands have increased their measures against counterfeiting and are ensuring ways to protect their intellectual property. There are different types of anti-counterfeiting solutions available in the market to protect clothes, shoes and other kinds of accessories. Authentication products such as security holograms, security labels and hot stamping foils provide a strong anti-counterfeiting quality to the product. In the past few years, RIFD technology is being widely used to provide product authentication for apparels.

One of the biggest fashion brands Gucci recently asked funeral shops in Hong Kong to not sell their paper versions of goods for burning at funerals. Burning paper replicas of things your deceased ones could want in the afterlife is an age-old tradition. This drew criticism from both the shops and customers.

Despite the crackdown on counterfeiting in the fashion industry weak IPR, corruption and red tapism has turned the measures futile. There is a lack of coordination between the countries on counterfeiting and this has led forgers to grow their business with ease.

An EUIPO report states that manufacturing of duplicate goods often takes place very close to the authentic product. Spare parts and raw materials are assembled in the same Chinese factories which manufacture the counterfeits with the same materials at night. Due to the high level of precision involved in manufacturing both original and fakes it becomes difficult to distinguish between them.

Amongst all the fashion products counterfeit footwears are the most seized products. From designer high heels to sports shoes, boots to limited edition trainers and many such products are being widely counterfeited. The cheap grade copies of popular fashion products can cause confusion in customers and a bad name to brand. However, many customers do not bother the authenticity of a product and buy a knock-off just for the sake of buying a product with the logo. Most times low prices of the copied product play the most important role in attracting a customer who cannot pay for the genuine product which comes at a comparatively higher price.

The issue of counterfeiting is so widespread in the luxury goods and fashion sectors that some people feel it’s almost pointless to try to combat it. Coco Channel dismissed imitations of her iconic tweed suits as good publicity and refused to try to control the fast-moving fashion industry by taking measures against copycats.

The issue of duplication is so prevalent in the fashion industry that many experts feel its useless to fight it. Many luxury brands have resorted to not act against counterfeits because it gives them indirect publicity. However, this is not the case with many other brands which think that stern measures against counterfeiting are the only way to save their image and profits in the long run.