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Is It OK To Buy Fake Designer Products? It's More Complicated Than You Think

To buy fake or not to buy fake — that is the question.

Sure, most of us would love to own a Chanel bag, or maybe a Louis Vuitton purse, but those designer labels can cost thousands of dollars.

For most of us, that's just out of the question.
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For most of us, that's just out of the question.

But...a lot of shoppers who can't resist the urge to own something that has *the* label may succumb to purchasing counterfeit designer products.

Maybe the stitching is crooked or the logo is a little off, so what? I mean, you can't really tell it's not the real thing from a distance.
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Maybe the stitching is crooked or the logo is a little off, so what? I mean, you can't really tell it's not the real thing from a distance.

While doing a little research, we discovered a ton of people discussing this very issue...with a lot of passion.

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So, we went around asking some folks what they thought of purchasing fake designer goods.

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"I think designer apparel is great. I think the knock-off ones are sometimes dope, too."

Jazzmyne said people definitely buy that stuff, and it's another source of making money. But it's stealing, right?
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Jazzmyne said people definitely buy that stuff, and it's another source of making money. But it's stealing, right?

"At the end of the day, I guess copying someone else's work is an immoral thing."

As a consumer, Selorm didn't really care as much.
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As a consumer, Selorm didn't really care as much.

"You don't know where you're getting them from. Like, you don't know who's making them, you don't know if the people who are making them are getting paid enough?"

Chloe thought buying fake designer goods was a little dodgy.
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Chloe thought buying fake designer goods was a little dodgy.

"It does make these high-end brands accessible to people who wouldn't be able to afford a $4,000 handbag."

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"From a consumer standpoint, it doesn't matter to me whether you have a fake designer good or not, but I think ethically, it's probably wrong.

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"Where I'm from, that's frowned upon. You don't have to pretend."

Then there are places where you straight up got roasted at school if you wore fake designer goods.
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Then there are places where you straight up got roasted at school if you wore fake designer goods.

So, it appears the most common argument against buying fake designer goods is that it's stealing.

Some argue that fashion is art and copying said fashion is theft.
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Some argue that fashion is art and copying said fashion is theft.

Those more in favor of purchasing fake designer goods argue that the markets are not the same.

The argument is that whoever is knowingly buying the knockoffs would never buy the high-end versions to begin with. That means they're not taking any potential business from the namebrands.
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The argument is that whoever is knowingly buying the knockoffs would never buy the high-end versions to begin with. That means they're not taking any potential business from the namebrands.

The question remains: Does purchasing counterfeit goods actually hurt anybody? Well, it turns out counterfeit goods are often intertwined with more illicit crimes.

According to a fact sheet published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the business of counterfeit goods has been linked to illicit drugs, corruption, and money laundering.
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According to a fact sheet published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the business of counterfeit goods has been linked to illicit drugs, corruption, and money laundering.

In fact, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, estimated that imported fake goods around the world were worth $461 billion (in 2013).

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Footwear is the most copied type of item, but medicine, auto parts and electronics are also commonly counterfeited.

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And, once again, the money used to purchase these fake goods can be used to support criminal activity.

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A counterfeit investigator also said during a TED Talk that there's also a significant link between the purchasing of counterfeit goods and terrorism.

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And what about when big-name fast fashion retailers copy designs?

Forever 21 has faced numerous lawsuits from big names like GUCCI, Diane von Fürstenberg, Puma, and Adidas for selling eerily similar designs.
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Forever 21 has faced numerous lawsuits from big names like GUCCI, Diane von Fürstenberg, Puma, and Adidas for selling eerily similar designs.

It turns out that, by nature, fashion items serve a purpose, making them exempt from copyright laws.

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That's why something that is utilitarian and functional can't be copyrighted.

After all, the basic purpose of clothes is to prevent people from being naked and to keep us warm.
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After all, the basic purpose of clothes is to prevent people from being naked and to keep us warm.

While most people we spoke to thought it was okay to buy copied designs from a big company, they did not feel the same way about a less established artist or brand.

But isn't a creation a creation?
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But isn't a creation a creation?

We don't always look at fashion the same way we do art, although for a lot of people their clothing is an expression of who they are.

That means designers are actually selling their art.
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That means designers are actually selling their art.

No matter where you stand on this issue, it's important to make decisions with your money and your life with a little information.

We recommend doing a little research on what you're buying, who you're buying it from, and where your money will go. Because what we all do has an effect on the world, so maybe we should take that seriously.
BuzzFeed

We recommend doing a little research on what you're buying, who you're buying it from, and where your money will go. Because what we all do has an effect on the world, so maybe we should take that seriously.

You can watch the full video on this discussion here:

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