By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO
Designer clothing brands like Gucci, Prada, Chanel and DKNY are high-end brands that most women would love to have in their closet. However, the huge price tag that most designer items carry is a huge deterrent for â€œfashionistasâ€ on a budget. Ever since the global economic downturn gripped most nations around the world, many designer labels have suffered a hit to their bottom line. The demand for luxury products has severely dropped around the world as people struggle to feed their families. Having a designer dress or handbag does not seem that important when trying to pay bills on time.
In the Middle East, however, business is booming for knock-offs of famous designer brands. Although most governments pay lip service to enforcing international copyright laws, little is done to police shop owners who import designer knock-offs from China. Countries like Dubai, Bahrain and Kuwait are a feeding ground for the knock-off designer goods market. Just about everywhere you turn someone is wearing a knock off, whether it is a Dolce & Gabbana t-shirt or a Louis Vuitton purse.
Depending on where you shop, designer knock-offs look almost identical to the real thing give or take the misplacement of the odd button. A fake Chanel watch costs less than $100 compared to the thousand-dollar price tag that the original carries. Some shops offer even lower priced knock-offs but the poor craftsmanship makes them easy to spot as a counterfeit a mile away. Most have misspelled logos, cheap zippers or smell like chemicals. Despite the faults, eager shoppers in the region scoop them up as fast as they can get them.
The downside of knock-offs is that not only is it a crime, but also that someone elseâ€™s work is pilfered for profit. What is worse than that is that copyright crimes are being committed in Islamic nations right under the noses of authorities and all for the sake of something as inane as fashion.