Why do people make fake Yeezys?
Fake, replica, counterfeit, fugazi, bootleg, imitation, copy. The list goes on. There are just as many words for it as there are attempts at is. A forgery is intended to deceive. The definition of which being; ‘deliberately cause (someone) to believe something that is not true, especially for personal gain.’ Every industry that involves a product inevitably has some interaction with counterfeits. You hear of fake tickets, imitation pharmaceuticals, replica jewellery, but the most common of all exists within the fashion industry. Specifically in the world of footwear. As while the trainer industry booms. It only allows Fake Yeezys and the like to become more profitable for those willing to be involved.
It is pretty easy to understand why the counterfeit market exists. Trainers in 2019 aren’t just consumer products, they are tradeable commodities. With the vast majority of footwear releases now limited, it means once they are all sold out in retailers. They fetch way over their initial retail on the secondary market. The issue, of course, is with a limited number of products available. There is less opportunity to profit from the industries dynamic. So if you are able to load the dice in your favour by producing counterfeits. You are able to replicate the profit you would receive from a genuine item, again and again. Without having to worry about the finite nature of the available product.
Who buys fake trainers?
Very few people willingly. The whole idea of the copycat industry is to deceive, so therefore they aren’t advertised as being replicas. Instead, customers who are naive, or ill-informed think they are getting a steal. Ultimately although spotting a fake is at the top level getting more difficult, in response the checks to identify counterfeits are getting more sophisticated. For the most part, fakes are prominent in unregulated markets such as eBay. Whereas almost every resale platform I can think of employs their own version of an authentication service to almost guarantee the legitimacy of the products that pass through their doors.
For a small minority of people, however, they are very much of the view that if the fake is a “good fake” then why would you pay through the nose. When you can get something that looks the same for a fraction of the price. The counter to that, of course, is that the quality might be jeopardised as a result. As well as I think fair criticism being leveled at someone willing to wear fakes as being disrespectful to the culture by wearing knock offs of the real thing. In China where they have a more liberal stance on counterfeit products, on the other hand, argue that allowing cheaper copies to be available actually adds to the culture as more people are able to celebrate and enjoy the products (even if they are replicas of).
Why are fake trainers damaging to the industry?
The counterfeit trade of all consumer products is valued at a massive £365 Billion. With its prominence only ever trending upwards. For every factor that is shut down, another spawns. Big brands like Nike and Adidas since the turn of the century have worked closely with law enforcement all over the world in an attempt to tackle the biggest threat to their brand. Only recently were 15,000 pairs of counterfeit Nike and Jordan products were seized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency in Los Angeles arriving from China. If the pairs were genuine they would be valued at £1,779,488.
The biggest issue that makes fakes bad for business is that they damage the genuine brands they are attempting to imitate. For example, a fake product can easily be mistaken for poor workmanship from a brand like Adidas. If a customer gets there hand on a pair of fake Yeezys which are poorly made and are unaware of the counterfeit nature of the product. Adidas and Yeezy could receive negative PR as a result. Not to mention the fact that brands like Nike and Adidas as mentioned previously make there most high profile releases available in limited qualities. So when the market is then diluted with fakes, it damages not only the exclusive marketing buzz they are trying to creating. It also damages the resale value of each pair on the secondary market.
How are Fakes being tackled?
There are two factors that as explained allow the counterfeit market to flourish. A lack of consumer awareness, and an absence of suitable tools made available for companies to combat the problem. Companies are in a constant battle with intellectual property leakage which results in copycat rip-offs of established brands to surface almost unchallenged with only a slight modification to a brand name or logo. One way that is being developed to tackle the fake industry is through on-demand manufacturing.
In this solution, the machines creating the product are automated and run on a blockchain network. Designs are sent to the machines, as well as a specific number of units to be made. The contract executes, the machine is unlocked for that exact number and the goods are produced. The machine then is then locked until it receives another secure order from the company. Essentially what Blockchain technology allows someone to do, is track the journey of the product through the supply chain by recording transactions along each step. Meaning that each product’s point of origin is unfakeably traceable to a source.
So in layman’s terms, if you suspect you have purchased a pair of Fake Yeezys. You will be able to request a blockchain that allows you to look back at where each product has been, from the factory to supplier to retailer and will be either validated by Adidas or deemed to be counterfeit.