It is ok if you don’t mind carrying or wearing a replica item, but it’s not okay when you’re taken advantage of by someone selling a clever knock off at the price of the real. I have seen many instances where clients come in after they have been duped in buying a replica. One incident that I can narrate is of a bride who came to us 3 weeks before her wedding in tears. She had purchased a Sabyasachi lehenga from a store claiming they would get her the piece at half the price. Now that is a deal very few would want to miss. But to her horror when she received the outfit it was nothing like the original. A color mismatch was just a beginning of the ordeal. The lehenga was poorly constructed, material was cheap, and we could go on… we finally got her the original piece but in the end she actually paid for 2 dresses where she could have easily gotten the original in the first place.
It is hard to believe but knock-off fashion is a $600 billion industry. Knockoffs are products that are designed to look like they have a high-fashion brand, but are actually cheap, low quality fakes.
We decided to do to article more than ever now because of the increase in online shopping during the Pandemic. The problem is that when you buy any item be it a saree, lehenga or accessory online, you do not actually get to handle the item and assess the quality prior to making your payment. Hence, we want to enable you with the right knowledge and “detective skills” that will help you make the right decision.
1. Authorized Retailers
Always buy your items from the designer’s official website /store or the authorized retailer as listed by the designer. All well known fashion houses have a list of flagship stores, tertiary stores and authorized retailer names and address published on their websites where their products can be purchased from. These addresses are the safest bet for you to shop the brand without any worries.
2. The Price
The most commonsense way to spot a replica is to consider the price. Designer items cost for a reason. Luxury items require time to be manufactured and time is luxury in today’s fast paced world. A Sabyasachi lehenga can take up to 3 months in the least and a team of artists who meticulously use various age-old techniques and hand embroidery on the finest of materials, and hence they come at a price. So, if a similar looking piece is screaming deal, it’s probably not real.
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3. Read fine print when buying online
It is extremely easy for any one to take a screen shot of an Instagram picture of s designer product and post it on their website as a product image. Always read the product description carefully. Many a times I have seen sellers put SABYASACHI in block and then will write “inspired “next to the brand name. Buyers often miss the word “inspired” written next to the designer name and take the product to be the real thing.
4. No luxury brand shares its craftsman with a local store.
I can write a book on stories about fake fashion. One such story is of a client of mine from Canada. A local store promised her a runway piece from Sabyasachi at 1/3 of the price claiming that they used the same craftsman that Sabyasachi uses so she was getting the same piece from them at a great price. My client unfortunately happened to be a design school graduate herself and in fact landed reporting the store to the Brand. Such claims are never real and please do not fall for it. Every design house has their own employees and strict NDAs, copy rights and patents in place.
5. The Logo
For those making in person purchases please make sure that the logo is printed correctly. If an item is missing the brand tag, then it is not real. If the brand tag looks different then the item is not real. Always remember high end brands never stamp but engrave their logos or have labels stitched into their garments. Always check for the correct spelling of the brand on the tag. A Sabyasachi with a missing Y from its name should be an indication for you.
6. The Feel
Feel the item – As I said earlier you pay top dollars for designer brands not just for their uniqueness but also for the make and finish. A Sabyasachi saree for example is made of the highest quality material. The finish, inlay work, embroidery etc. all are above par. If you find a saree where the touch and feel is not right, where the finishing is questionable then it is a fake.
7. The Documentation
Designers want to assure you that you’re buying the real thing. Their products always come in the right boxes with identification cards, and other info that ensures authenticity. If your designer item arrives in a plastic bag with tags affixed – and without any documentation – it is most likely a fake.
If you’re budget-conscious about fashion, it can be tempting to buy a product that might look same but is at half the price. But when you buy an item thinking it is real then you need to know the finer points that will help you identify the right product.
A couturier / fashion designer not only puts in his or her vision but their years of hard work in painstakingly crafting a piece. It is only fair that we give the designers their due credit by buying the originals.