The world of luxury for many of us seems like a magical experience that can somehow be captured by purchasing high-end fashion items. Whether it is a Louis Vuitton wallet, a Cartier watch or the most sought after Celine bag. I know, I know, it's just calling your name, but it's not in the budget. Somehow you begin to think, I will just buy a fake Gucci bag. No one will know, unless they're an expert and I sure as heck not going to tell them! It's just like buying the real thing without paying the real price. Besides, those brands are making a fortune off of this stuff anyway so, why the heck should I care?! What you don't know is that buying that counterfeit bag is a bad idea for many reasons. Here's why:
"Orange Will Be The New Black"
You could be fined and arrested. Yes, you read that correctly. In France & Italy, purchasing, carrying or even WEARING fake designer is a crime! Unlike the United States, this offense is taken VERY seriously. France set a campaign in place to deter tourists from buying them. Its usage of clever tag lines under product photos adds a bit of humor to a serious crime. These posters are visible in airports all over the country. French customs agents have a keen eye for fakes. Therefore, you can be busted wearing your fake bag as you walk up to the customs area. If caught, you can be sentenced to 3 years in jail and fined up to #325,000 US dollars.
Seized items are later destroyed. There are several countries that have anti-counterfeit laws, including Kenya and Myanmar, but France is the most strict. It has been indiscriminately punishing citizens and tourists for counterfeit goods since 1994 in the amount of 8.9 million. However, the law's reach does not stop there, LVMH has sued sites like eBay. They received a judgement against them to pay the brand almost 40 million euros.
* A side note, if you think American jails are scary, you definitely don't want to get "Locked Up Abroad". Many of the prison overseas make US jails look like country clubs!
It Funds A Percentage Of Terrorism Among Other Things:
Oh yes! Proceeds from these fake designer goods go to fund terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. The attacks on 9/11 happened in part due to sales of counterfeit goods. Unfortunately, the funds generated from counterfeit goods help to strengthen these organized criminal organizations.
In addition, the production of these goods occurs in factories with poor work conditions using child labor. Many of these children make no more than 10-15 cents per day. Local militia men with origins in North Africa and the Middle East spend the profits from your purchases to buy weapons for civil wars. Another related side effect of counterfeit goods is loss of jobs.
Taking Ownership - We Have A Responsibility
It is easy for us to think that this is not our issue, but I have learned that nothing happens in a vacuum. We must be aware that our little actions can have severe consequences in the future and sometimes immediately. Purchasing designer fakes in essence, is not much different than buying "conflict" diamonds. People are hurt physically and economically, but least of all, the artist’s work is devalued. It is important for us to respect artistry, but even more crucial to sympathize with global issues and become part of the solution rather than the problem. Therefore, the next time you think about buying fake designer. Remember, you are indirectly an accomplice to crimes that are funded by your purchase.
What do you think about counterfeit luxury goods?