Real fashionistas don't do fake. The quality of craftsmanship doesn't escape the editorial eye of the style smart men and women who have taken the stand against the blatant assault the black market has taken on high fashion. Everything from handbags and sunglasses, to shoes and perfume. Designers who have made names for themselves, their labels & their merchandise through hard work and talent have their products replicated with far inferior craftsmanship and quality by second rate merchandisers all over the world. The methods of these mass producers, you've heard tell, include sweat shops and child labor.
In recent years, the economy hasn't been kind to the fashion industry. Many design houses closed down and publications went out of print. Runway shows were dark, sleekly classic, and included more separates than we'd seen in high fashion in a very long time. Separates lending to the idea of a more versatile wardrobe, are easier to sell. More bang for your buck, so to speak. Everyone felt the burn of what rising costs of daily living were taking. All a fashionista had to do was walk through a once bustling shopping district to witness closed doors, for Rent signs, and a depleting stock in the storefronts that did remain.
While high end, quality garments and accessories, where the durability and wearability come with an investment price tag, waned in sales, the rise of the fakes was upon us. Kiosks in ped-malls popped up, and the trend of in-home purse parties raided the suburbs, preying on designer hungry, strapped for cash girls all over the country. It wasn't the same as buying it out of the trunk of a car in an alley. It felt okay, it didn't feel like breaking the law. Suddenly, women everywhere had a quilted black & white Chanel. Louis Vuitton, Prada, Fendi, even the moderately priced Dooney & Bourke's and Coach were ripped off and copied. The more they flooded the market, the more fake they began to look. The quality and construction was never good, but party goers editorial eyes were so focused on the price, that many got swept up in the frenzy of sheer materialism, they forgot to really examine what it was they were purchasing. For the same price of a real Coach, they could walk away with a fake, and frankly, poorly put together copy-cat version. Who did anyone think they were fooling? Suddenly, during the height of the worst economical melt down our country had seen in decades, every seventeen to thirty year old owned a "designer" bag. Real fashionistas began to take offense, as did the designers, and once the dismay got out, charges got pressed, the kiosks gradually went down and the parties were brought to an abrupt closure.
Do not be mistaken, the black market is still in our malls and shopping districts. Handbags may have hit and passed their peak, driving idea-snatchers to recreate inferior versions of other products. Shelves lined with fake designer sunglasses, hair accessories, even Crocs! Beware of perfume kiosks selling "essential oil mixtures" with labels that read designer names. Yves St Laurent doesn't put their scent in a tube with a roll on applicator. These are chemical combinations that are refined and detailed. I cannot stress enough the importance of health and safety when it comes to black market perfumes. If you can't afford authentic designer perfume, at least go to the department store counter and smell it, so you'll recognize the major difference when confronted with a fake. Then, head over to Bath & Body Works, The Body Shop, or Victoria's Secret to pick up an unpretentious, moderately priced scent that will make you feel like a fresh, desirable recessionista.
There are dozens of online sites claiming to have all the hottest Christian Louboutin's, Jimmy Choo's, and Manolo Blahnik's. Don't fall for it. Especially online, where you can't handle and inspect the authenticity of the products originality for yourself. I know you've all heard this logic before; If $200 sounds too good to be true for a pair of $1100 boots, then it probably is. As cliche as that advice may be, it has only become so because it is true, and why would any style savvy, budget conscious fashionista spend $200 on something comparable to what is on the shelves of Walmart?
Real fashionistas don't do fake. They do certified designer, they do really cute off-the-Target-clearance-rack, and they do everything in between with the same amount of dignity, respect, and creativity. The upside to the downed economy, is an influx of affordable, adorable, and glamorous goods, made original themselves, to choose from. Be honest with yourself and the budget within which you live. Keeping it real shows your respect to the designers and authentic labels of the world, as well as to yourself. There is no amount of savings that can account for any amount spent on cheap, replicated fakes.