Name brand B.S.

Tell me, what is this obsession with name brands and knock-offs and the people-who-own-name-brands-that-get-hostile-when-a-knockoff-is-mistaken-for-real?

Seriously, my friend owns a real Kate Spade purse and upon my menioning of a street vendor nearby who sells knockoffs of them for $20 - no shit, they are IDENTICAL - she became hostile… furious… her comment being that a “real” Kate Spade owner would know the difference. The anger grew and grew when I tried to convice her otherwise. We haven’t spoken in a few days.

What the hell is with people???

It’s really quite simple. People pay exorbitant prices for name-brand stuff. Then a knock-off comes along. The mere existence of the knock-off says “You stupid schmuck. You paid eight times what this bag actually should cost.” Most folks wouldn’t like to be reminded of that.

FWIW, a lot of the knock-offs, especially the stuff sold on sidewalk folding tables in New York City, are inferior goods. The fake Rolexes have cheap timepieces with second hands that tick instead of sweep. The fake North Face backpacks have seams that rip. The fake FUBU sweatshirts have dye that runs in the wash and gets all over your other clothes. The $5 movie cassettes are simply dubbed from camcorders that people illegally sneak into movie theatres. The vast majority of “too good to be true” knock-offs are just that.

That said, I wouldn’t trade my knock-off Swiss Army Knife for anything. $2 and it’s still as sharp as the day I bought it. Sometimes you just get lucky, I guess…

well, heres what i see in the industry i’m in:

the knock-off are damn near identical! what you are not paying for is dealer, distributor, saleman, shipping and five or six other scab middlemen’s markup. the fancy little gizmo you just spent $1500 on really cost about $249 buck to come into existance. but the dealer wants to make 50 points after they pay the salesman his commission, the distributor wants a piece of the action and on and on and on…

when you really look at the product under a microscope, same damn thing (or at least performs the same). some dude in the phillipines or china made both of them.

not always, but pretty damn often. plus, im a royal cheap-screw and alway take the cheap way out…

gatopescado, one thing I would highly recommend that you spring for the more expensive model is keyboards. Some of the pricier ones have a <Shift> key.

Designer handbag knockoffs used to be incredibly shoddy but they’re getting more and more sophisticated. Fake Prada and LV bags are now coming with fake authenticity cards and dust bags (or real ones are sold with fake bags). But really good “no difference from the original” bags will probably be in the minority simply because the attention to detail required eats into profits. There have been reports of fakes so good that people at the designer house are fooled.

However, it’s probably unlikely that the street vendor had one of these bags since he’d be charging a lot more than $20 for it - I’ve seen an article on the internet which claimed that one impeccable fake was selling for $600. There are numerous ways of telling the crappy fakes from the real thing. So your friend was probably right in that respect sub[/sub].

I have to admit, I’m one of the labelwhores that you’re talking about - you could probably tell from the above two paragraphs. :wink: I want a real Louis Vuitton (IMO, one of the harder bags to duplicate) because I want the satisfaction of knowing I have the real thing. Is it hype? Yes. Snobbery? Yes. Overpriced label baloney? Hell yeah! Designer handbags are one of those things that signify the “right things” (moneymoneymoney and good taste - even if the item itself is ugly) to the “right people” (people with enough moneymoneymoney and good taste to recognise that you spent a fortune on something you’re going to use for one season). Even though I try to convince myself that it’s simply the quality of the bag that draws me, I know it’s largely the snob factor. ::hangs head::

Have I made sense at all or is it just rambling?

Well, I’m confused. How does owning something ugly prove you have good taste?


Yes - you make sense. Maybe I’m the one with bad taste… I carry a $20 Liz Claiborne purse for crying out loud. I get tons of compliments on the darn thing though and I have money to spare for other things. I guess it’s just a matter of preference… taunting my friend about her designer labels is kind of a fun pasttime (I know, I know, mean person alert) but it’s kind of amusing to see her get bent out of shape about a label. Oh well… movin’ on…

As a Mac user, I always wonder the same thing about folks who choose to use Windows PCs… :wink:

I don’t mean to be insulting- really I don’t. I disagree.

Will all due respect, no they don’t. Neither do horribly Versace shirts or other “bizzaro designer” items.

The right people? Right for what? Right for whom?

For what it’s worth to you, my ex sister in law had the same attitude. She wore garish clothing (and we are in a small town here), carried designer bags, and rambled on about all her money. People did not like her, felt she was shoving her money in their faces by constantly talking about her designer stuff, and snickered behind her back when she wore outlandish outfits that looked awful on her because it was “designer”.

I don’t know you, but I do believe one thing. If you focus that hard on having the “right stuff” to impress the “right people”, you are in for a serious disappointment in life.


If it’s not clear from my previous post, Zette, I don’t actually buy into the whole argument. I actually wrote that with a whole lotta tongue in my cheek. :slight_smile: While I was writing, I had this image of am acquaintance of mine (possibly similar to your ex sister-in-law) who would buy the ugliest bags simply because they were Kate Spade or Prada. Whenever you were talking with her, she would somehow manage to either:

a) bring her bag into conversation (“do you think this Ferragamo matches my belt?”)
b) find a way to make you notice her bag (“do you mind holding my Kate Spade while I tie my shoelace?”)

So what I was trying to do was channel what she would say (in all seriousness) and turn it into a mini parody of her views. [sub]Looks like I didn’t succeed. Back to my English workshopping classes![/sub]

However, even while I’m typing this, I know that I still do buy into the hype. Not to the extent that my friend or your ESIL does, but I react the same way to a nice designer handbag that someone wild about cars reacts to a Ferrari or a wine lover reacts to <insert nice label because I know nothing about wine>. There’s always going to be good stuff and overpriced crap, as well as people who obsess about both like it makes them a better person.

Btw, Zette, no offence was taken at all. :slight_smile:

Good- none was meant. I am glad to hear you don’t really think those things. The scary part is that some people do.

Do you think this fake Kate Spade bag makes my ass look big? :wink:


What I don’t understand is why you would pay someone to advertise their product in the first place.

I try not to wear clothing with visible logos if I can avoid it; I think it looks ridiculous.

You advertise their name because it conveys to others that you have class. That’s the idea anyway. Now, can you have class without having to wear name brand clothing? Of course. And, by the same token, can you wear name brand clothing, and not have class? Absolutely. I don’t think anyone is going to dispute that.

When I say class, I mean being able to “fit in.” Take for instance FUBU. This is a brand predominantly worn by the younger black generation, say < 23. Wearing this brand projects to others, “Hey, I belong to this group.” Likewise, brands like Quiksilver and Hurley are predominantly worn by the younger white generation.

It’s all about feeling a sense of belonging.

Real men wear clothes with the labels on the inside.

Conspicuous consumption is its own punishment.

Long ago, my Asian girlfriend’s cousins bought a BMW. Her other cousins were so put off by this ostentatious display that they just had to go out and buy a Mercedes. Nevermind that it was a bottom-of-the-line Mercedes. Nevermind that they had to eat candy bar lunches for a year afterwards. They now had a (cheap) Mercedes.

It was all I could do not to laugh in their faces whenever I saw them.

I’m not exactly sure why I avoid designer clothing. It’s because:

A) I’m a cheap bastard.
B) Designers don’t deserve such a huge markup for putting their name on an article of clothing.
C) I almost instinctively avoid anything that’s overly trendy or popular.
D) Designer clothing is actually often low-quality clothing with a special label (light-weight cloth, etc.).
E) I don’t wear labels or designs of any kind on my clothing.

…I lost my train of thought. What was I talking about? Oh, yeah; desinger clothing sucks!

I used to think that expensive designer clothes were the utmost in foolishness, that the only reason they cost more was because of the label and their only benefit was the snob appeal.

I’ve changed. I own a few Pierre Cardin shirts and some other designer clothes. I can tell the quality difference between them and my Faded Glory clothes from Wal-Mart - it’s small, but it’s there. They fit a bit differently, look better, and don’t seem to wear out as fast.

I never pay full price for designer clothes, though. My wife shops at discount designer outlet stores like Ross and my Pierre Cardin costs no more than a similar shirt from Wal-Mart. It may be last years or the year before’s fashion, or maybe have some tiny imperfections that I don’t know about, but I don’t care, and I STILL buy cheap clothes from Wal-Mart as well.

But there’s a difference here. A Ferrari isn’t just a regular car with an expensive label. If you want a car that goes 200 mph, it’s gotta be a Ferrari or something similarly priced. Not that most people who buy one ever get anywhere near that speed, but there’s a reason it costs that much. They’re built largely by hand by a small group of people who care about their product. The same goes for an expensive bottle of wine. Sure, you’re going to get just as intoxicated by a $2 gallon, but it won’t be as enjoyable to drink, and the next morning is likely to be very unpleasant.

Now, the kid who spends $30 so he can get a big blue and red “TH” on his plain white cotton t-shirt is a label-whore.

By the way, I wasn’t refering to spending a little more for better quality clothing- I like some expensive clothes. I’m talking about buying a “Kate Spade” handbag just to have a Kate Spade. They run into the hundreds of dollars- for a purse!

Or an Armani plain, white dress shirt for several hundreds of dollars.

If you (collective) are buying that sort of stuff just to “fit in” or “be in the crowd”, I think a rude awakening is in store.


I just do not understand how it is cool to spend $2000 on something that you can get for $20, that serves your purposes just as well.

How is it cool to be ripped off? How?! How?!!!

Why would you want to fit in with other ripped-off people?

Buying for quality is a different matter. If an item is significantly better quality, and you actually require that, then it’s worth paying more.

But not for a name. No!! SHEEP!!!

If the shirt is no different from something that you could buy at Target, then I agree with you. Although I must add that Target makes some very nice clothes - my boyfriend bought a microfibre shirt there and people are always asking him where he got it. :slight_smile:

** I can tell cars apart from their logo and basic shape, but that’s about it. So for me, a Ferrari isn’t worth the price tag while it may be worth every cent to someone who knows about cars. Similarly, although I could probably taste the difference between a $500 bottle of wine and a $2 cask, my taste buds aren’t sophisticated enough to fully appreciate the difference. What I can appreciate (to some extent) is the difference between a poorly made handbag/garment and one that is well made with quality materials and a classic design that will last a lifetime. For me, that’s a difference that I can discern and one that I am willing to pay for.

Oh crap. Just previewed and saw that my “I’m willing to pay for quality” guns have been spiked good. :slight_smile: What I love doing is browsing vintage markets and getting some exquisitely made vintage clothes on the cheap. I paid $5 the other day for an angora and lambswool cardigan with hundreds and hundreds of handsewn beads - the modern equivalent would cost a fortune for the craftsmanship alone. No designer house could beat that - cheap, gorgeous, well-made and very unique.