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Have you ever bought a fashion wear with a brand name on it only to reveal that it was a cheap knockoff? Well, then you are not alone and it's not your fault. Counterfeit goods are a growing problem in the fashion industry, as more and more fake products make their way onto the market. While these counterfeits can look very similar to their authentic counterparts, they often contain low-quality materials and go through substandard manufacturing processes. As a result, fashion companies have had to take drastic measures to combat the production and sale of counterfeit goods. The apparel industry lost over $50 billion in 2020 due to the sale of counterfeits. To combat this growing problem, the fashion industry is taking a stand and implementing measures to protect its products from being copied. (Click here to learn more on how to fight counterfeit products)

The global market for counterfeit goods is booming

Counterfeiting has been around for centuries, but the pandemic has given counterfeiters a major boost. With the global economy in disarray, counterfeiters have been able to take advantage of people’s desperation and the lack of safety regulations. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), global trade in counterfeit goods was estimated at over half a trillion US dollars in 2020, with countries like China and India seeing surges in production.

Designer goods are easy to replicate but difficult to distinguish. Gucci, Supreme, Louis Vuitton and Rolex are the most counterfeited products in the luxury market. Such industries lose out on profits when people opt for buying fake products instead of real ones.

Counterfeiting also affects the environment, as they often use low-quality materials and cut corners when it comes to safety regulations, which means that consumers are exposed to hazardous products. Furthermore, it reduces wages and job opportunities as it takes away potential profits from legitimate businesses.

Why the fashion industry is vulnerable to counterfeiting

The fashion industry is particularly attractive to counterfeiters because of the high margins they can achieve, as well as the fact that luxury fashion items can be more difficult to authenticate than other products. The global counterfeiting market is estimated to be worth $1.2 trillion, with clothing and accessories accounting for around 11% of that figure. The rapid growth in counterfeit products has been fueled by an increase in online shopping during the pandemic, as counterfeiters have been able to take advantage of global supply chains and e-commerce sites.

Counterfeit fashion items are often of lower quality than genuine items, meaning that consumers are not getting what they paid for and the value of the brand is reduced. These affect the reputation of brands, as customers may be disappointed with the quality of their purchase and choose not to purchase from that brand again. Moreover, counterfeiters do not pay taxes or royalties, meaning that the fashion industry is losing out on potential revenue. It also poses risks to consumers who may not be aware of the quality of materials used in fake items or of their lack of protection from the law if a counterfeit product does not meet the standard of care expected.

Counterfeiting can have an even greater effect on the environment, as counterfeit items often use cheap materials that are not environmentally friendly. These materials can harm ecosystems, releasing toxins into the atmosphere and water supply.

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How is the fashion industry fighting counterfeits?

The fashion industry is facing a growing challenge from counterfeiters, particularly in India, where the government has made several efforts to crack down on the sale of fake goods. To counter the threat of counterfeiting, the fashion industry has adopted a range of strategies to fight back.

In India, for example, the Ministry of Textiles and Indian Customs are working together to tackle counterfeiting by implementing stricter regulations on imports and exports of fashion products. They are also increasing enforcement efforts to ensure that only legitimate products are being sold in the country.

At the same time, fashion companies are taking steps to protect their own brands. Many luxury brands such as Moncler are investing in anti-counterfeiting technology like RFID tagging and hologram stickers to ensure that their products can be easily identified as genuine. Some are even developing digital authentication platforms to verify the authenticity of their items.

And some fashion companies are collaborating with non-profit organizations and law enforcement agencies to increase public awareness about counterfeiting and its negative impacts on the economy. They are also encouraging consumers to buy only from authorized retailers and report any suspicious products to the authorities. 

As the market for counterfeit goods continues to grow due to economic instability caused by the pandemic, the pressure on fashion companies to take decisive action against these illegal activities has never been greater. In India, for instance, there has been a significant drop in counterfeiting cases due to increased enforcement and improved anti-counterfeiting technology. It’s estimated that counterfeiting has been reduced by more than 25% in India since 2015. These promising figures suggest that the fashion industry’s efforts to fight to counterfeit are having a positive impact and could help protect brands and customers from fake products in the future.

You can do your part.

It’s essential that consumers take measures to ensure they’re purchasing authentic products when shopping for fashion items. Here are some of the steps they can take:

1. Buy from reputable sellers. To ensure that you’re getting a genuine product, try to buy only from established, trusted retailers and online stores. Check reviews and do your research before making a purchase.

2. Avoid deep discounts. While it’s tempting to snag a good deal, prices that seem too good to be true often are. If you see a deal that seems too good, it’s likely that the item is fake.

3. Look for signs of authenticity. Many brands have authentication systems in place, so look for official tags or holograms on clothing, bags, or other items. Make sure the product matches the description of the genuine article provided by the manufacturer.

4. Be wary of counterfeits on social media. Fake items are often peddled on social media sites such as Instagram or Facebook, so don’t be tempted to buy something just because it’s cheap or looks good. Make sure you check the seller’s credentials before buying.

5. Report fake goods. If you think you may have bought counterfeit goods, contact the brand directly and report the issue. It’s important to do this in order to protect other consumers and help fight to counterfeit.

And by tracking, tracing and reporting counterfeit products, Acviss offers a solution to fight the fake market and safeguard the brand and its customers.