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Designer vs. Counterfeit Purses: Which are more ethical?

Updated on September 27, 2012

Which are more ethical to make and purchase?

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Perhaps you have preconceived notions concerning this topic, but in writing my hub about how to know if your designer handbag is real or fake, I encountered a few interesting facts about the ethics of purchasing genuine or counterfeit handbags and purses.

One account I found decried the purchase of "real" or "genuine" designer handbags because they are made in sweatshops and sometimes by child labor overseas. I suppose this depends on the designer; I have heard that Louis Vuitton produces both real and fake bags, as well as other designers. It's just a matter of how much effort is put into them and what kind of material.

However, students in fashion design schools learn that fake bags may also be produced in such situations. Others also assert that most designers have their handbags made... well, by hand, thus the price. Some, such as Susan Scafidi, a law professor specializing in counterfeits in the textile industry, go so far as to say that not purchasing a real bag means you support terrorism, since the money for counterfeits means funding for nations who may well be at war against the United States.

According to Kevin Doughty, a private counterfeit expert and founder of CounterTech Investigations, the counterfeit market means that $350 million and 25,000 jobs are lost just in New York City. Designers will go to school, participate in internships or apprenticeships.

Fratelli Prada worked for his reputation, increasing the popularity of his little leathergoods store by striving for accounts with well-known Italian nobleman. His daughter inherited the company and worked on her first line, which met with mediocre success. However, she worked on advertising and pricing sought accounts at high-end stores around the world. She finally opened up her own shops in Europe, and the success of the Prada company built from there.

Now doesn't that sound like a lot of work? It's not like all designers came from money. It often takes them determination, business skills, expertise, and more to develop high-end companies and products.

All in all, counterfeiting is stealing money from people who work hard to produce and sell genuine products, as well as from the people who put their trust in products and pay for what they expect is the real thing.

Additionally, you can get in trouble for not just selling a counterfeit, but owning one as well in certain countries, like France and Italy. It's just not a good idea no matter where you are. You can check United States Code Section 17 for more information.

If you want a cheaper purse, go to Mervyn's or another department store that has nicer purses that don't cost hundreds or thousands. Don't go to Chinatown or another place with brazen knockoffs.

I know that a lot of people can't really afford genuine designer purses. I certainly don't buy any myself. What I do have are little purses I get from teeny-bopper stores in the mall. One of my personal favorite stores is JCPenney. So there.


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      Nikhil Tiwari 4 years ago

      Intresting fact that "counterfeit market means that $350 million and 25,000 jobs are lost just in New York City". you can visit for reliable counterfeit Protection system.

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      kathysmith 8 years ago

      Great info , I really liked your hub on how to know whether your purse is fake or real , Thanks for sharing

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 9 years ago from Northern California

      AC Gaughen, I've never heard of that, but it sounds like a wonderful middle ground if you want a purse for a special occasion! Here's a link about that for more information:

    • AC Gaughen profile image

      AC Gaughen 9 years ago from MA

      I have to say, I go back and forth on this issue a lot! Thankfully there's a middle ground--did you hear about how you can rent designer purses? Appreciate the handiwork without breaking the bank!

      Great info, as per usual!!