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This topic has been on my mind since a friend revealed she had decided to purchase a couple of Eames chair copies for her house. Her attitude: just chairs and well, they cheap

Some may say this is the Eames spirit alive and well design is for everyone and for making people lives better both functionally and aesthetically. But the thing is, when someone buys a copy, it is sending a message to the designer that their time and creative investment is worthless.

The thing is, we probably all been guilty at some point or another. I sure most of us have looked at a bill from a mechanic or carpenter and pondered the figure. But the truth is, they trained professionals and you couldn have done it in the same amount of time or produced an end result of the same quality.

Think about it this way, how would you feel if I came down to your work, took whatever you were working on, cut and pasted it into my work and start selling it without you knowing? I could probably undercut you too because I wouldn need to do any research. I might as well cash in on your reputation as well, right?

But I wouldn do this, and you shouldn too.

How about we start paying some respect to the designers and creators that make our world go Without them, there be nothing to copy in the first place.

When it comes to copies and fakes are some things more sacrosanct than others? Have you ever unknowingly bought a fake? What did you think when you found out?

Well this is a very pertinent subject to me at the moment as I ponder whether to part with $4.5k for a genuine Omega watch or make do with an internet replica. Same goes for a Breitling watch can I really justify $22k for a man’s wrist watch? Would I be institutionalised if I went and took out a personal loan for something that 99% of the population could not tell the difference between fake and real. I suppose at the end of the day it depends on your social circle. Elite designers are not aiming for the mass maket that’s like saying Bugatti make Veyrons for everybody’s garage no they do not. Let elite designers design knowing full well that they will hit their target audience and leave the crumbs for the copycats and the masses. In the end, it would be the only way we poorer folk can show we have some taste.

Intellectual property issues aside, many branded items are just too expensive because of the name on it. If we feel more secure in ourselves because we are wearing a particular brand name, I think we may need to reassess the way we measure our worth in the world. A Hugo Boss suit (Rolex watch/Citron car) does not make me a better person, a more influential person, a more desirable person, or even a more stylish person.

On the question of replicas, comedian Flip Wilson once said, “A lie’s as good as the truth if you can get somebody to believe it”.

If no one can tell its fake and its built just about aswell as the original, you would have to be a very generous person,
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a very rich person or a person of impecable principles to buy the authentic version at say 10x the price.

Me? I think im none of the above. That said i dont skimp on quality. ie a quality pair of leather shoes are usually expensive because of the workmanship not because of the label. Bulgari cufflinks, on the other hand? Im happy to go fake. Seriosly, its just a bit of contoured metal holding shirt flaps together.

People buy things for different reasons. Branded clothing can be used to improve cultural capital, quite separate to the quality. Buying fake items has an equivalent, opposite impact. This may dictate some consumers.

I’m much like Byrne I consider the price per wear factor and the convenience of knowing the item will last. That is what dictates my purchases.

If the brand does not deliver any differentiation with the fakes (other than the dubious value of being “genuine”), then they’re on their own. A designer can pursue the manufacturers legally, or charge a ridiculous margin to their customers, or they can drop their prices and make it off the volume sales.

If they’ve made a choice in failing to differentiate, so too will I make mine. BUT there comes a point when craftsmanship, unique design, scarce materials and creative ‘blah’ meshes with overpriced bullshit and your friend is right, JC, it IS just a bloody chair, Le Corbusier and Eames designed SPECIFICALLY for the masses so my view on materialism works along this simplistic continuum: if theres more than one in existence its not bloody bespoke and if its too precious for the rough and tumble of its purpose donate the money to a truly deserving cause

I don’t buy fakes. whats the point really? If I can’t justify/afford the real thing then I should shift my expectations and find an original within my price range.

I think that is the key for me. originality. I want to know that what I have bought has had some thought put into it, from a bottle of juice through to buying a new suit.

I believe everything we buy, wear and display as ours says something about us. The world judges us by the facade we present not the real person, so to be genuine the facade should represent me well.

Two things I found interesting when I lived in Asia (late 90’s) was that

1. only certain brands were faked in watches there were fake Rolexes and Tags but no Omegas, in jeans there were fake Guess and Versace but no Armani. Is this because certain companies pursue counterfieters more than others?

2. There were two levels of fakes you could buy a fake rolex that was either equal to a $2 watch and might last the week or you could get one that was an ok watch made up to look like a fake and would last several years the difference was picking them apart.

Personally I go for the genuine item the only fakes i bought was a set of reeboks when I was in Indonesia because I wanted some $20 sneakers for getting around in the mud, I couldn’t find any Dunlop Volleys and fakes were the only option at that price.

I simpathise with LV over the issue of having genuines mistaken for fakes, I bought two genuine Mont Blanc pens a few years ago when overseas but because they were a model that was sold in Europe and Asia but not in Australia many people think they are fakes, but to me it doesn’t matter because I know what I have is genuine but for those who are just out to impress others do your research
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