TikTok fakes have made fake designer products acceptable

“DHgate is super notorious – either you love it or you hate it,” said Jeffrey Huang, a 28-year-old luxury travel and lifestyle influencer from Boston. “It ruins the luxury for influencers because we work hard to be able to buy these items and there are people who buy dupes or fakes and claim them as authentic.”

But is it maybe good if the luxury is ruin? Influencer culture has supercharged consumerism and promoted the idea of ​​having a personal brand for presenting online, with expensive high-end label items often being part of the desired look. But the counterfeit products basically look the same in the photos.

From “black girl luxury” to “old money” aesthetics, looking rich is an aspiration — and influencers are navigating the trend using counterfeit products.

Today, the world of knockoffs has risen beyond Rolex or Ralph Lauren polo shirts with a donkey logo – they’re much more sophisticated and have a cleaner finish that rivals the real deal.

The taboo of wearing counterfeit designer clothes still carries a certain weight of shame in some cultures, like Song Ji-a, an influencer and star of Netflix’s Korean dating show Bachelor’s Hell learned, after a few fake Chanel and Dior pieces sparked outrage to which Ji-a responded with a handwritten note of apology.

But the volume of the counterfeit creator industry is estimated at $400 billion to $600 billion by the United States Office of Intellectual Property and Counterfeit Goods. This has resulted in the need for an authentication industry to distinguish between what is real and what is fake.

For defenders, who proudly display their counterfeits, buying a counterfeit is all about financial savvy, especially in times of economic uncertainty.

Just a year before becoming famous in season 5 of the island of loveMolly-Mae Hague was another YouTube influencer telling her subscribers where to find designer knockoffs and watch”boujee on a budget.”

Young consumers want to take advantage of the credibility of these brands but avoid delving into debt try to keep up appearances.

For some consumers of high-end counterfeit designer clothes, their purchases are seen as a small act of defiance against an industry that has thrived on scarcity and the exclusion of specific demographics.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for people to use it as activism and say, ‘You know what? You don’t make clothes for me, but I still want to wear your stuff,” said model and sustainable fashion designer Brett Staniland. “‘I don’t care if it’s fake because I deserve to wear clothes that look good and make me feel good and celebrated whether they’re real or not.'”

The normalization of counterfeit items is a point of contention for traditional luxury lifestyle influencers like Huang, whose videos include shopping for $17,000 at Louis Vuitton. Unsurprisingly, he views this counterfeit trend as harmful because, he said, these fake items are now entering the second-hand retail space. A virality ICT Tac alleges the problem also extends to department store stores.

“It hurts people who can’t afford to buy authentic new luxury goods,” Huang said. “So they buy second-hand, and these fakes eventually seep into the second-hand market. So people are unknowingly spending their hard-earned money on fakes thinking it’s real.