Knock-off merchandise and counterfeit goods have plagued the fashion world for decades. Those of us in New York have simply come to expect the mind-blowing volume of imitation handbags, fragrances and watches that define Canal Street, which tourists flock to it as a status symbol mecca. It's an industry all its own that has thrived on the success of the very brands they imitate, while simultaneously destroying them by dispersing their branding across a mass population. Companies like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Coach and Rolex have all fought what seems to be a losing battle against such practices for years, while labels with new found fame, such as Givenchy and Celine, are just now starting to understand the age-old wisdom of "'mo money, 'mo problems".
While this is a serious issue with endless social and financial implications, it's one that has seldom affected the niche world of #menswear. On one hand, this has remained true because the brands this community flocks to are too small to even be on the radar of counterfeiters. Someone more prideful of his tastes might also argue that counterfeiting has not plagued #menswear because collectively it does not rely on gimmicky logos and branding to move merchandise and rather on "real shit" like quality and construction.
But as certain #menswear brands have gained popularity and begun to pour over into the world of high-fashion and vice versa, knock-off merchandise has started to surface, particularly on the website Fabrixquare. We're not into snitching, but we would like to bring to your attention that this site is producing the widest variety of fashion and #menswear knock-offs we've ever seen. Sure, obvious counterfeits like Hermes belts and Givenchy tees are likely top-sellers, you'll also find "Rick Owens" sneakers, "Thom Browne" wingtips and, yes, even "Isaia" suits for $129 dollars.
Can we knock the hustle if making imitation swag is hardly a hustle and, more or less, objectively wrong? I'd like to believe it undermines the hard work designers and their colleagues do every single day. And if you're major complaint is that the real thing is too expensive for any "average" person to be able to buy, then you need to wake up and realize that's kind of the point. Fashion is not a democracy. Brands like Rick Owens and Thom Browne are covetable not only because of quality, but because their alienating pricepoints allow them to retain exclusivity. Sites like Fabrixquare not only stand to destroy this dynamic, but also undermine everyone who supports their favorite high-end brands by buying the merchandise through the proper channels. Take a look at Fabrixquare's most noteworthy knock-offs above and decide for yourself.
Jake Woolf is a writer living in New York City. You can read his blog here and follow him on Twitter here.