The counterfeit market in China has entered a highly sophisticated digital age following if not surpassing its genuine counterpart. Products of both mega brands and up-and-coming labels are knocked-off at the speed of fast fashion and distributed through a multi-layered network enabled by e-Commerce and social media.
The spread of high quality replicas further blurs the boundary between the real and fake, creating a unique consumer segment who are willing to pay $800 for a super A quality knocked-off limited edition Boy bag or $150 for a Fendi Karlito Monster Charm "re-issue".
From online to offline, from Chanel brick clutch to Céline box bag, replica sellers are moving towards a more curated, highly covetable offering.
Counterfeiters are increasingly good at trend forecasting and I have seen a vast quantity of Le Petite Malle and Pochette Metis knock-offs in the secondary markets and the counterfeiters are definitely betting on the right products.
Moreover, they are refining their techniques and craftsmanship. I was in awe when I saw a counterfeit seller posted the pattern making process of replica Valentino 1975 print rockstud pumps and I doubt I would be able to tell the difference.
Last but not least, the distribution of counterfeits has become increasingly discreet. On public e-Commerce platforms such as taobao.com, sellers use coded language and images with logo blurred out to avoid crack-down and allegations as seen below; many of them would disclose wechat accounts that are private, invitation only where all details of the replica products are revealed.
The evolving scene of the counterfeit market always makes me disheartened. This booming illegal industry is a manifestation that the counterfeiters have all the capacity and resources needed in making high quality luxury goods, why can’t they become creators instead of imitators?