Fashion Industry Takes a Stand Against Counterfeiters

As Canada's largest anti-counterfeiting damages awards was issued this month (reported here), we are reminded that counterfeit products are rampant in the market.

In addition to pursuing legal protection, as demonstrated by Louis Vuitton and Burberry, it is also interesting to see how the fashion industry is taking matters in to its own hands to combat counterfeiting. 

Here are a couple of anti-counterfeiting campaigns out there that are note-worthy:

1.  Harper's Bazaar's "Fakes are Never in Fashion" Campaign

This powerhouse magazine has turned its mind to educating consumers about the perils of anti-counterfeiting.  There is more at stake when buying a counterfeit purse than shoddy workmanship and cheaper prices.  Although the Fakes are Never in Fashion campaign focuses almost exclusively on the American industry, the impact is astounding.  The global loss of sales to companies is in the hundreds of billions of dollars.  The economic loss is not constrained to businesses, loss of tax revenue is also a significant economic burden, in addition to the loss in employment opportunities.  The impact also extends beyond money.  Anti-counterfeiting revenue helps to fund criminal activities and even terrorism. 

The Fakes are Never in Fashion campaign's website is very comprehensive, providing updates and news that touch upon the counterfeiting world.  Also, the Fakes are Never in Fashion campaign hosts annual anti-counterfeiting conferences.  In its 7th year, the focus was on the impact of the internet on global counterfeiting.

2.  Christian Louboutin's Stop Fake Campaign

Christian Louboutin has has launched its own anti-counterfeiting campaign, which is an interesting comparison to other brands that are happy to have their anti-counterfeiting activities conducted behind closed doors.

At the close of its one year anniversary, Christian Louboutin proudly boasts that it has shut down 180,000 auctions selling counterfeit shoes, conducted numerous successful raids of counterfeiting factories, exploited customs seizures, tackled unauthorized domain names and launched a number of actions protecting its red sole (click here for a summary of Christian Louboutin's attack on Yves Saint Laurent).

Interestingly, Christian Louboutin publicly sets out its plan of attack to execute its zero-tolerance policy against counterfeit products, identifying both collaborators and avenues of legal attack.  Such full disclosure is not often seen outside of corporate and law offices.

3.  CFDA and e-Bay combine forces

The Council of Fashion Designers of America, along with e-Bay, recently launched a joint venture: "You Can't Fake Fashion".

CFDA member designers, such as Diane von Furstenberg, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch, Jason Wu, Kenneth Cole etc., have each designed one-of-a-kind tote bags emblazoned with the slogan "You Can't Fake Fashion", in an effort to raise awareness of the perils that counterfeiting poses to the fashion industry.

It is interesting to see e-Bay so publicly involved as this medium has oftentimes been criticized as being a key vehicle of distribution for counterfeit product.