Estimated word count: 2,000 words
The knockoff game has changed. Gone are the days of being locked in a Chinatown back room to pay $150 for a Dior saddlebag with glue stains and a formaldehyde stench; you can now purchase virtually anything for pennies on the dollar, even those niche Japanese Americana overalls, and have it shipped discreetly to your door in a few days. And don’t worry about being called out — it’s so high-quality, it’s fooling professional authenticators.
Which begs the question: When some guy with a work bench in Guangzhou can perfectly recreate an $800 necklace and ship it to your door for $40, why would anyone buy retail?
This fall, I did wardrobe for a film about a fictional boy band. To dress the characters in hype-y streetwear on a shoestring budget, I purchased replicas on the Chinese website Taobao — a complex multi-step process using a shipping agent as a middleman. In an effort to recoup the cost, I offered a few pieces from the film to the swiftly-growing online consignment company, The RealReal, claiming I was uncertain of their authenticity. The RealReal not only authenticated the items but listed them for more than twenty times what I paid and sold them within days.
In this piece, I plan to follow the journey of a replica FW19 cashmere Louis Vuitton sweater from production to its $26.85 purchase to authentication to its $425.00 resale.
My sources will include the man who made the sweater via WeChat (I already have production photos), the shipping agent who did quality control via email and members of the rabid fashion replica community on Reddit. I also plan to reach out to The RealReal and Louis Vuitton for comment, and can get in touch with the consignor who first took the item (no longer with the company). If I run into any issues contacting the seller in China, I have a couple other items from different sellers I can follow through this entire process — a necklace from NYC streetwear brand 1017 Alyx 9SM x Nike and a hoodie from Japanese streetwear brand Ambush.
This piece will, of course, dive into the implications of these readily available, high-quality replicas, the existence of which pokes holes in the bloated visage of high fashion. Who benefits and who suffers? How will this change the streetwear landscape?
10/12/2022 07:56:32 am
Give show begin step interesting. Prevent view surface series on.
10/29/2022 07:50:47 pm
Next enjoy too join someone. If man art pay ok.
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Luke Muyskens lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. His fiction has appeared most recently in West Branch, Third Coast, SAND Berlin, Arts & Letters, the Hopkins Review, and a Pact Press anthology on the opioid epidemic. He earned an MFA in fiction from Queen's University of Charlotte and scholarships from the Tin House Summer Workshop, the Hambidge Center, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, and the New Orleans Writer's Residency.