Not everyone can afford the Real Deal, so naturally, there are fakes of designer shoes, handbags, and clothing. A stranger might not notice the difference (unless they have a very keen eye), but there’s something bothersome about wearing a fake. You’re really fooling yourself (as well as others), because most are sub-par quality, and don’t even come close to the real thing. Luckily, there’s a way of getting around that: fast fashion.
The best stylists, brand representatives, and other important members of the fashion community make it a point to attend fashion shows for every season for ideas. And because we have great technology these days, as soon as something is presented on the runway, it’s made public and noted as something that might become a trend. It trickles down to contemporary, mid-range, and low-end companies, which then leads to look-a-likes: designs that are almost but not quite the same as the high-end version. I call these shoes “double-takes.” They make it easier for the masses to get the same look but at different price points.
Fake shoes cause bigger problems than a double-take design. Double-takes can’t be mistaken once they’re off the foot because of the label inside, therefore it’s not possible to pass them off as the real thing. However, there are some people lacking ethics who will return fakes to a store and exchange them for the real thing if an associate doesn’t know any better. This is a problem retailers are constantly struggling with, and it bothers me that many places are slow in training their employees to recognize the difference between real and fake. I was once shopping at Off 5th, the outlet store for Saks 5th Avenue, when I found a pair of poorly made fake Jimmy Choos being sold as real Jimmy Choos. I immediately asked an associate if I could speak to the manager, who thanked me for bringing it to his attention. As a previous retail associate at an off-price retailer, I think it’s really important that associates pay really close attention so that this doesn’t happen.
Double-take shoes are usually of better quality than fakes because they’re designed and manufactured for legitimate companies rather than the odd street seller. And they usually get away with having a similar look to a designer item by citing differences such as heel heigh, shape, material, and color. However, some companies do get into sticky situations with the original designer (these cases in particular jump to my mind: Ivanka Trump vs. Derek Lam and Jessica Simpson vs. Louboutin). But in general, it’s always better to look for a contemporary or mid-range option instead of a fake.