Is Counterfeiting Actually Good For Fashion?

by MR Magazine Staff

The battle against counterfeiting is an un-winnable war that’s further perpetuated by participating in it. Indeed, it is the fashion industry itself, with its manufacturing of desire and prestige, that creates a market for knock-offs. Until the very basis of the industry model changes, counterfeiting will endure. This is a touchy subject within both the clothing business and the wider fashion community. The general consensus among brands and consumers alike is that counterfeiting is at best immoral and at worst downright evil. If you try to argue otherwise, like I did a couple of months ago, you risk being accused of being an “eighth grade Marxist” by a disgruntled commenter. But just because the consensus leans towards condemnation, that doesn’t make it universal. When Highsnobiety went to check out OFF-WHITE’s new Hong Kong store, Virgil Abloh professed that “you can’t counterfeit something that’s not wanted, that’s the highest achievement that you can get: to make an idea and then someone want to make a copy of it.” I’ve already presented my own argument, and there’s actually substantial evidence that counterfeiting can actually be good for brands, some of which is outlined in The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation. Read more at Highsnobiety.