The Fakes of The Luxury Goods Industry

Amancay Tapia

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There is a reason why some women who are wealthy remain so for the rest of their lives, instead of spending their money on a $20,000 Fendi bag, they would rather pay a third of that and buy the best fake version available.

In a society where deepfakes are scarily common, faking luxury goods seems harmless in comparison. Reddit has the country's most popular forum for lovers of fake luxury goods, the popular Reddit RepLadies,"a place for discussion about women's replica (and authentic) designer bags, clothing, and accessories".

They claim that the subreddit was formed "in hopes of creating a community where we can all enjoy fashion at any level, share our experiences, reviews, likes, dislikes, and everything in between".

According to their own survey, the majority of the women using the forum (200.000k plus users) earn between $100,000 and $200,000 and are over 35 years of age. 50% of their daily users are white American women, followed by Asian (36%) - including East, Southeast, South and black women (8%).They all come to the forum looking for the best faux version of their favourite luxury brands; Chanel,Louis Vuitton and Hermès.

The forum users share their expertise and compare the imitation goods to the real ones, as well as review their latest purchases or share links to products they found searching the internet. They also share advice to avoid scammers or offer their help to communicate with those Chinese sellers who speak no English.

Paradoxically, many of the buyers of replica products who use the forum, also buy authentic luxury goods including bags and shoes, but same as they love their authentic Chanel bag, they also love and wear a much cheaper Chanel that looks so real only a few would be able to distinguish it from the authentic version.

Majority of the ladies of the forum agree on one thing, saving in designer shoes as they don't last as long as an authentic bag does. They also agree on avoiding fake make-up or beauty products.

The reviews are the most popular feature of the forum and they follow the strict rules of publication which has its own language. The users include information about the buyer (mobile, name, where the buyer lives and the best way to contact the seller), the payment method and the buying process ( from the moment the buyer makes contact with the seller to the special moment the order arrives). The ladies also include pictures of both the fake and authentic version of the product. And finally their own analysis about the quality of the bag.

There is a Sex and The City episode (“Sex and Another City”) when Samantha takes Carrie to buy some fake Fendi bags during a trip to L.A. However, when the seller shows them the bags all crammed together in his car booth, they decide they are really not that special and prefer to go to the store to buy one as the experience is also part of the luxury process. RepLadies users would have definitely written that scene differently.

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