Luxury fashion is one of the most lucrative areas in the fashion industry. It’s the industry that allows women and men to look and feel their best by taking looks from the runway and building them into their personal wardrobes.
Every lady (and gentleman) knows that purchasing luxury items from a website other than the brand’s website may cost you the fixings that commonly complement your purchase. You might not be afforded exquisite packaging or a personal shopper when you shop from a third party website, but at the least you do expect that you would receive the authentic item that costed you a considerable amount of time and money searching for. What happens when you unknowingly purchase a counterfeit item? Who should be held accountable? These questions are delicate, especially because they do not take in to account those who knowingly purchase counterfeit pieces, as well as the designer’s point of view. In the fashion industry where ideas are often freely exchanged, there are cases where the work of designers have been passed off as a counterfeit; however is this inspiration or imitation?
The damage that has been done to the luxury fashion industry because of counterfeiting is massive. Sources have estimated that nearly twenty-eight billion dollars have been spent on counterfeit goods in the fashion industry. This crime has not only affected luxury brands, but it has also has affected the consumer who may have unknowingly purchased a Prada bag or a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes without any way to determine its authenticity. Several retailers including the Italian design house Salvatore Ferragamo, have chosen to answer this dilemma by instituting microchips into their apparel. The microchips (also known as RFID chips) have given retailers the opportunity to crackdown on counterfeits, although that has come with some controversy for retailers outside of the U.S. Installing microchips means that some retailers would have to inform their customers of the installation, which would defeat the purpose of installing the chips.
The bigger issue for some retailers is not only the privacy laws that are attached to the possibility of installing microchips, but also rising designers and smaller retailers must contend with the cost of installing such devices, as larger retailers have suggested that it could likely cost a large sum of money (millions of dollars).
Is fashion a free form of expression that does not warrant intellectual property policing? How can rising designers protect their pieces from being reproduced? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below.