I’ve known for a long time that high-end designer bags weren’t all they were said to be. Have you ever wondered how some knock-offs are so close to the real thing that they could fool anyone? A good friend in the fashion business once told me that several luxury brands outsource their goods to China for production. I was informed that the shell of a designer bag is produced in China; the excess fabric is usually taken, or stolen, to produce the knock-offs. The produced shell is then exported to Italy, or France where a label, a handle, or a zipper is affixed, thus allowing said label to be touted as “Made in Italy”, etc. So when you take a look at the knock-off, what you see isn’t completely fake; it’s the details, like cheap man-made material, as opposed to leather handles that give a fake bag away.
Now, a new book is coming out that threatens to expose the high-end fashion business. “Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster,” is written by Dana Thomas, a veteran fixture of the fashion and retail industry. In it, she goes undercover in Chinese factories, and speaks to production insiders as well as officials at top brands to get to the bottom of the controversy.
“Burberry’s chief financial officer, Stacey Cartwright, told me at a luxury conference in Hong Kong in December 2004 that the company produced ‘a small bit of luggage in China.’ A day later, a source who worked with Burberry at the time told me, ‘Burberry’s production in China is more than experimental. It is big quantities.’ “
I would never encourage the purchase of knock-offs, especially since the trade helps finance child labor, violence, and terrorism. But when these illegitimate goods are coming from the same place as the high-priced legitimate ones do, where am I to hold my faith?