The desire to have luxury goods is strong regardless of the inability to afford such a lifestyle. Currently, America is supposed to be the second-largest consumer of counterfeit goods in the world behind South Africa. Handbags aren’t the only faux items on the market. Currency, software, medicines and music are among the most frequently faked products. But fashion accessories are very popular with counterfeiters. Counterfeit handbags, for example, can vary greatly in quality, depending on where they’re made (most often in China and India) and how they are priced. Like the genuine articles, some fake bags sell for hundreds of dollars. “In some counterfeit goods, the quality is so good that it really takes a forensic expert to tell if it’s fake or not,” said Michelle Moore, a spokeswoman for the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition.
Knockoffs have been regularly spotted in reputable secondhand stores, flea markets and accessories stores. The top 10 counterfeited brands according to a Canadian firm specializing in counterfeit-intelligence analysis, in 2005 are 1) Microsoft 2) Nike 3) Adidas 4) Burberry 5) Louis Vuitton 6) Sony 7) Lacoste 8) Reebok 9) Viagra 10) Benson & Hedges. Carrying a fake handbag supports an illegal industry that encompasses sweatshop factories and theft of intellectual property. The zips, handles, buckles and other trimmings are often what lets down a fake. Often Monograms are not clearly printed and stitches are usually clumsy and gaudy. When paying big bucks for a designer bag you’re definitely paying for the name, but also the craftsmanship. Authorized dealers are the safest bet for authentic purchases. The bottom line is: if you have any doubts, don’t buy.