Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Potentially Dangerous Bag Obsession

Sharon Lin 
Blog #2

Being slightly obsessed with bags, I love collecting designer bags. Beginning with my first Coach sling cross body bag at fifteen I was hooked. When I was young, I did not understand why people chose to buy fake bags. “Why not just save up for the real one?” I naively thought. As I got older and the bags I wanted became more expensive, however, I grew into understanding the logic behind counterfeits. One year, when I went to Hong Kong for vacation, I saw more counterfeit bags that I had ever seen, all great knock-offs, and all conveniently on one street. I was amazed and tempted. As a student, I knew that I would not be able to afford that Marc Jacobs or that Mulberry bag for many years. As I reckoned with my conscience, I would give myself excuses like the real bags are too expensive or that this fake was just a temporary bag to hold me until I could buy the real deal a few years later. At the time, there seemed to be nothing wrong with buying a counterfeit. (I will not disclose whether or not I bought the counterfeits).
After reading “‘Knockout of Knockoffs.’ The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy” by Melissa A. Decker, however, I was shocked at the facts that Melissa A. Decker presented regarding the impact of purchasing a counterfeit bag. Little did I understand how my buying a counterfeit could be feeding larger, black market crimes such as “drug trafficking, gambling, and loan sharking” (Decker 17) or was a slippery slope to “dodgy airplane parts and counterfeit pharmaceuticals” that could kill. I also never imagined that “the strength of [brands could] be diluted due to the increasing close resemblance the counterfeits appear to have to actual goods” (Decker 12); however, I already see this problem occurring. Once when I asked my mother why she did not like the Burberry bags, she responded that there were too many fakes. When I when to Taiwan, this was evident; every grandmother, college student, and homeless man something with a Burberry-style print on it. In Taiwan counterfeits are especially rampant. In Taiwan, there are so many that there are even varying “degrees” of fakes.
“The factory sources of these counter-feit products are various, including Taiwan, South Korea, and China, and they are usually categorized into super A, AA, A, B and C of five different grades in terms of quality. The similarity of the super A grade product can reach 95% of the original and is thus virtually indistinguishable; it even has the fake product series number concealed within its inner layer” (Chang 228-229). With how indistinguishable a fake product is, it is not only bad for the brands but also for the consumer. As Decker also addressed, the consumer could easy be duped into paying full price for a counterfeit product. The effects of counterfeiting is far more wide-reaching than most average consumers understand, and this could be fatal to the industry of designer brands.

Feelings about the Be Green Challenge:
            This weekend is Veterans’ Day Weekend, which means lots and lots of sales. I’m dying. Especially since I tend to turn to shopping for therapy. This week was not all that smooth and retail therapy would have helped. As the winter finally creeps up on Davis, I also desperately want to buy new stockings, leggings and winter knits to keep out the cold. Week two has been difficult, but I have prevailed. Instead of online shopping, I’ve turned to browsing fashion blogs to see how I can put together the pieces I already have in my closet differently. It has actually been a pretty refreshing experience and some of my clothes have renewed purpose. 

Inside Source:
Decker, Melissa A. “‘Knockouts of Knockoffs:’ The Global Implication of Fashion Piracy.” Reader.

Outside Source:
Chang (Translated by Yung-chao Liao, Hsiaohung. "Fake Logos, Fake Theory, Fake Globalization." Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 5.2 (2004): 222-36. Print.

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