Fake Talk: A Short Guide On Making Legit Purchases
In recent years, the counterfeit market has grown exponentially. It's become imperative to be careful and knowledgeable about who and what you're buying.
So here's how this goes: You get a DM. Someone's hooking up Deadstock Union Jordan 1s for a price well below market.
Now, pause and read on:
Knock –offs and counterfeits are most of the time considered to be the same thing. The difference is that, knock-off items are designed to mimic a particular brand or product, such that the buyer knows that what they are buying is imitation. However, counterfeits are designed to replicate an original product in such a way that the buyer is misled to believe that it's real.
If you are buying knock-offs or counterfeits willingly, it is an informed personal choice and although its still illegal, we don't judge you for it. But, for someone spending thousands or even lacs of rupees, purchasing a fake can be a nightmare.
As the sneaker market has grown, so has the counterfeit market. It's become possible for counterfeit manufacturers to come within 99% accuracy in terms of detailing and materials used in the authentic products. What's become impossible is for an unsuspecting consumer to tell the real and fake apart without knowing what they're looking for.
The resale market has been flooded with hundreds of counterfeit sneakers, apparel and accessories being falsely advertised and sold as genuine branded/designer products to the masses. A large percentage of people are not able to afford the sometimes exorbitant original retail prices of these branded goods and turn to resale markets and portals to try and purchase the goods at slightly marked down figures. However, the pieces they think are legitimate originals are more often than not extremely accurate renditions of the product - but replicas just the same.
Vice ran a story a couple of years ago about the counterfeit sneaker king, Chan(real name unknown), who earned a fortune from selling fake sneakers via Reddit. Chan had sources who would bring him the original shoes from the factories where they were being made and he would then strip the shoes down completely to assess the various features and intricate details and make an exact replica of them.
Buying a pair of fakes, knowingly or unknowingly, isn't the only problem, but selling the in-genuine product to someone else under the pretext of it being an original is fraud.
Here's some measures you can take while buying on the secondary market:
Know your Seller
Make sure you do a thorough research about the person or platform you are making your purchase from. Read previous customer reviews and ratings to get a better idea of the type of service and experience others have had through that source. When buying from resellers (India based or international) it's important that you do a background check and always ask for in-hand pictures, receipt of purchase and other necessary documents certifying authenticity.
If It's Too Good To Be True, Then It Probably is
Instagram has a lot of pages that offer designer clothing, shoes and accessories at surprisingly low prices, don't fall for it. StockX , GOAT, a few other certified platforms comparatively safe options but they're also known to occasionally drop the ball. Shipping to India is another major problem encountered through these platforms.
Pictures & Detailing
When trying to check if the product you are holding is authentic, the best advice is to look at the details of the identifiable brand markers. For instance, when checking a pair of sneakers, examine the box carefully - the font used, size and colour of the box, the information stickers etc. are the biggest giveaways. An important tip to remember is that the serial number on both the sneakers must be different. If they match, chances are that the shoe is probably fake.
The same goes with every other product. Designer accessories like handbags and sunglasses always come with a certificate of authenticity. Another big giveaway is the quality of the product. There is a reason a Louis Vuitton bags can cost upwards of 20 lacs. Authentic products are made with high-quality materials and minute details like the weight of the product and the stitching can help you differentiate between an original and a fake. However, for that, you need to see the product in hand, which isn't always the case with secondary market transactions.
If you're a regular buyer, it might be worth taking the time to educate yourself about the fake industry. There are numerous websites and Youtube channels that provide crash courses on how to recognize fakes. Insider is a youtube channel that constantly puts out content regarding the same and provides insight into some of the major tells while trying to identify genuine pieces. While some products may be replicated to near perfection, there is always something missing. Sneakerheads like Harrison Nevel have also put out videos that can be helpful if you are trying to figure out whether your new sneaker is an original or not!
If you're unsure about something and care enough about the purchase, you can pay an expert to check the product for you. Legit checking as a profession has recently become more prevalent as the market requires it. In India, you can reach out to other people in the community who might have the same pair or piece that you're intending to buy or you can contact a legit checker, who knows exactly what to look for and will do so for a small fee.
Now go back to that DM you got, follow steps 1 through 5 and you'll know exactly what to do.
Also, a general rule of thumb, when in doubt, . You might end up missing a deal or two, but it's better than being stuck with the regret of a counterfeit product that you've overpaid for.