"If it's working to the point where someone else can profit off of it, that means it's really working. You're not taking anything away from me; you're actually just advertising more." ~ Virgil Abloh
While counterfeits may seem harmless to some, their implications run deeper than meets the eye. There's an intricate web of deception woven by counterfeit products and influencers, that boosts business and increases dishonesty for those using them as a status cheat code.
A Culture of Deception
Counterfeit products and the rise of social media have created a dangerous alliance, where the desire to deceive and project an idealized image collide. Just as individuals on social media amplify their lives to appear more glamorous, counterfeit products serve as props to construct a façade of luxury and exclusivity. However, this raises an unsettling question: If people are willing to go to great lengths to deceive through their possessions, what else are they capable of falsifying?
It's Bad Business but Good For Business
While counterfeit products may momentarily satisfy the desire for status and recognition, their impact on personal authenticity is alarming. Studies, such as the research conducted by Gino, Norton, and Ariely (2010), reveal that wearing counterfeit items leaves individuals feeling less genuine and more inclined to engage in dishonest behavior. The very act of donning a fake item erodes one's sense of self and integrity, blurring the lines between reality and deception.
If we're willing to deceive in exchange for a perceived boost in status, where is the line drawn?
The effects of counterfeit products extend beyond personal authenticity, the same study found that individuals wearing counterfeits are more likely to judge others' behavior as unethical. This suggests that the counterfeit self, borne out of the inauthenticity associated with wearing counterfeit items, taints perceptions of morality and ethical standards. It becomes a cycle of deception, where individuals project their own insecurities onto others, further eroding trust and genuine connections.
The costs of counterfeit products extend beyond their monetary value. The counterfeit self, engendered by the lack of authenticity, influences behavior and decision-making, leading to increased likelihoods of unethical actions. Counterfeit products, once perceived as harmless imitations, reveal their hidden costs, deceiving individuals into compromising their own integrity, with the desperation driving the prices and exclusivity of coveted products through the roof.
Counterfeits drive hype, companies control the supply
If you believe the lies that the counterfeit markets are somehow taking sales away from companies, you've obviously never tried and failed repeatedly to get a pair of shoes on SNKRS. Companies drive the hype, fuel the frenzy, and restrict demand to ensure that their products are never attainable by everybody.
Enjoy your favorite shoe copies, because just like the Mona Lisa, and art prints the closest you'll ever get to enjoying it is a copy, but at least we can all dream and admire.
While this article discusses the influence of counterfeits on sneaker hype, it is important to note that the purchase, sale, or possession of counterfeit sneakers is illegal and against intellectual property laws. The content provided is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as encouragement or support for engaging in counterfeit activities. We strongly advise against participating in any unlawful activities and encourage readers to respect and uphold the rights of original brand owners.