I read this article recently on The Fashion Law, and felt it was important to share.
I know how tempting it is to buy that jaw dropping, Gucci bag for the sweet price of $30, but at what cost?
I know a lot of people would just rather not think about it... ignorance is bliss right? But this is something that needs to be brought to attention. This is a billion dollar industry... one of the biggest criminal industries in the world, and we're mindlessly funding it.
A 2004 report stated that the counterfeit goods industry in the United States alone brings in around $287 billion, which would make it one of the highest-grossing criminal trades worldwide. A lot of us buy luxury goods, which cost us hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars. We spend hundreds of billions per year on fake versions of what we think we’re buying, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not. Products labeled as “designer imposters,” or some equivalent are usually safe, because they are overt imitations (though the conditions of the workers who produce them may be objectionable). But when we buy imitation luxury goods, there’s always a chance that we are donating our cash to the continuation of a form of human trafficking.
Buying online is particularly risky because there’s no guarantee that the seller’s photographs of the product are real, or that the product you’ll be sent matches the one advertised.
But above all this, keep in mind that there are real people who suffer from the trade in fake luxury goods. It’s easy to forget that there are complex human costs involved in bringing a product, particularly an illicit one, to the consumer. Just like buying an antiquity that seems to come from Syria or Iraq these days might place cash into the hands of terrorists, the desire for a discount knockoff handbag may encourage a practice that is little removed from indentured servitude, and not a far cry from slavery.