Thursday, August 02, 2007

Faked Brands

My mother and I often trade used bags when we visit each other. It is an easy way to alleviate "bag boredom" without having to go shopping for new ones all the time. This time she gave me a fabric and leather one in tan and brown. It is very roomy but chic and ideal for taking to work. A designer knock-off bought for really cheap from some roadside stall in India, it looks like a cross between a Chanel and a Gucci number.

From a distance it is hard to recognize the pattern on the fabric. Up close you can tell that it looks like neither and is a fake that is not even trying too hard to pass for the real thing. There are no brand labels anywhere. This could pass for an inspired by thing rather than a faithful imitation. Its amusing when women stop to ask me if it is a Gucci or a Chanel and then that priceless look on their face when I tell them it is neither. Used to be that reproducing famous brands was difficult and fake could be spotted a mile away, not any more.

J needs a new backpack before school starts and we were looking at the offerings at the store. Since High School Musical is her current most favorite thing she naturally wanted the one with a picture of the cast on the front. I told her firmly that we were going to have to stick with generic stuff and would not pay to endorse any brand, product or a label. She had no idea what I was talking about and was rather crestfallen. It did not help that her friend was with us at the store and vociferously seconded J's choice of the High School Musical backpack.

We ended up picking something really plain and customized it. I showed her how she could use appliqué, beads and paint to make her backpack look completely different from what anyone else has. I think I may have convinced J that she is now the proud owner of her very own designer line. With luck, she will find the idea appealing even as she grows up in a society where name brands and designer label are worshipped like Gods.

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