Fake bag discourse
The handbag is globally a crucial and fetish accessory for the female. In Malaysia you will be confronted or spoiled with ‘fake’ handbag stalls everywhere you go. The desire to own a real brand bag is omnipresent, to pay designer prices not so much, consequently the presence of many designer stores in posh malls not only serve to satisfy the rich, but largely enhance and inspire the production of replicas. Endless fake bag vendors line markets, shopping arcades, streets and metro halls. I don’t think I have seen as many women with fake bags as in Malaysia, although the tendency to owe what you can’t afford is prevalent in most countries.
The fake bag issue fascinates, as much as the accompanying polarised debate about its right to be. I was wondering about the motivation to buy fake brands and the laws to prohibit it. When walking the fake merchandise isles of Chinatown and the like in Malaysia’s capital, I found it to be a parallel world contrasting with upper class customers at Suria KLCC or Pavilion mall. I cannot see how the female bargaining with the street vendor to get a pretty bad quality replica for about 80 Ringgit (20 Euro) is in any way a threat to the designer industry.
Those bag worlds, by that I mean markets are as separate as it can get. There is no way that the same women would have bought a real Louis Vuitton if it wasn’t available at the fake market. ‘She’ is buying herself status, no different to her uptown counterpart, those women are just walking separate venues. The fake bag is as real as a real brand bag. The fake, additionally a sweet portable bubble dream. The desire to be part of something you are not and then wanting to show it off to the world is an intriguing notion. It mostly doesn’t take more than a closer look to distinguish real from fake. And don’t get me wrong, if you like the fake bag, buy it. I did and I would, although I can’t see myself buying for the sake of the brand.
Gucci in the metro, at the mall.
My fake bag purchase was not committed in Malaysia but fashion conscious Italy, where me and my friend were spoiled with Milan’s parallel designer bag world. At night, black men line the streets with white bed sheets to present their replica handbag variety. In a close, yet tolerated distance to Milan’s designer boutiques. I liked my bag because it didn’t have any letters, nor embossed designer give-aways on the outside, nevertheless the eager seller made sure I learned about its true benefits: ‘it’s a Fendi, very expensive in stores’. Upon closer inspection the inner lining said Fendi. I could live with that and without 25 Euro that would change pockets.
It was just a nice bag and fun to wear for a year and then I changed my wardrobe and it was big and heavy and didn’t fit that great any more. My friend’s bag started to loosen up on the stitches. I bought the bag because I liked the look, not because I was going to engage in pretend play with a designer bag, which, ironically, I don’t think it was in the end – I couldn’t find a Fendi bag like this in Fendi’s whole product range. Turned out to be an original one-of-a-kind replica bag.
A good thing about fake bags, it will not be made out of leather – which is a noble thing considering the suffering of animals and senseless slaughtering for the bag business. In heavily developing countries, the offered items will have hilarious misspellings, which I would consider to be a funny bonus and worth buying for a laugh. I am not sure about the motivation of fake-value clientèle but pretty sure, that in the end, it doesn’t matter. Buy what pleases you, whether you are well-heeled or not.
Fake bags are reality, always will be and no laws, nor sporadic-senseless destructions of replica accessories are going to change that. Authorities and designer corporations should just face that and move on. The input of marketing machinery presenting beautiful women showing off symbolised success, the designer hand bag, has consequences. The need to get an overpriced designer bag (they really are overpriced) has been established. And with it the legend of timelessness, adding to the quality that will make that designer bag last for ever. Except the used ones sold on eBay, parting with the owner after a year or two… because even timeless design and superb quality isn’t immune to seasonal changes.
The Hermes bag. Most original fake I have seen.
How to tell that it is a fake bag: Louis Vuitton would not tolerate to have his holy letters cut, sewn or stitched on. The trim of the handles is unevenly finished in vinyl red. Who cares?
Those Gucci fakes are a best seller. Each bag comes with a ‘certification’. No need for that: the uneven stitching and red vinyl trimmings are a fake bag guarantee.
There are so many beautiful ‘real’ bags from equally (and more) talented designers and a massive range of original bags at most department stores. Some ‘fake’ bags don’t do bad either. It’s when they don’t try to be replicas.
Pink, black and grey stripes, zigzag trim, gold studs, tassel. Wow.
Everywhere you go. This is at the metro. Chanel, Gucci, Coach, No Name, you name it.
Coach is another fake bag hot seller. Big letter imprints and meaningless logos are very popular in our times.
The original Coach store at Pavilion mall in Kuala Lumpur. ‘C’ overflow.
The irony of it, designer’s dominant marketing strategies and the trend-following replica markets, have transformed the notion of luxurious originality into common associations of mass-production goods. Standing in front of a real (I think) MiuMiu at Suria KLCC.
This hand bag is meant to attract and addict little princesses and going to be party girls. The store was made just for under teenage girlie customers.
Gucci and MiuMiu store at Suria KLCC mall. Some bags are just a sad symbol of wasted animal life.
Some bags are pretty cool. A touch of 80s but not over the top. Well done, Gucci. Please make non-leather products and I will buy.
Off to the next obsession of the female gender. These are my favourite Gucci shoes with to-die-for Art Deco design, which amount to about a month’s salary. I could save up or invest in 15 pairs of non-designer shoes instead. Gucci called those ‘Ophelie’ which reminds me of my favourite painting ‘Ophelia’ by John William Waterhouse. They really nailed that for me. Please someone sponsor me a pair! Anyone?