Fashion with Chan: Dupes vs Counterfeits

Learning the differences between counterfeits and dupes is quite important because you could be promoting an illegal activity.

Understanding the differences between dupes and counterfeit fashion.

Let me start off by saying this is not a post to bash people who buy dupes, real designer or counterfeits.

This post is to discuss the difference between dupes and counterfeits.

Preferably, I try not to crave into designer dupes, counterfeits or anything that’s a replica of another brand. The issue is with todays craze of fast fashion and sites like SHEIN. It’s entirely too hard to not buy a dupe. You easily could be wearing a dupe and may not know it. (It happens to me, and that’s actually fine. It is what it is.) You just make the decision if you still want to wear it or not.

As I pay more attention to fashion and become a guru, I am easily noticing which items in stores are dupes of high end brands or even small designers.

Sometimes when I do find out an outfit is a dupe, it can suck. Only because I don’t want to wear something that’s supposed to be another something…

SHEIN is notorious for dupe culture. Last summer, I brought a two piece off SHEIN and come to find out the outfit was actually a dupe of a Balmain two piece.

I thought I was buying just a pink two piece but it really was a dupe of cheaper material.

Before I get into a rant on SHEIN being Ms.Number One for dupes, let’s talk about what is a dupe and what is a counterfeit.

What is a dupe ?

A item created by a more affordable brand that resembles a higher quality designer product.

Balenciaga’s Le Cagole bag not only has celebrities in a frenzy but it also has many cheaper brands in a frenzy creating dupes.

Dupes are fine because they are trying to be like luxury but not trying to be like luxury. They are more created with the intention to create a look or style that’s more reasonable and accessible.

Steve Madden, H&M, SHEIN, Ego, and more brands, create dupes that resemble many high end designers.

When I worked at H&M, I began to realize that many of their styles were just dupes. Especially their shoes and accessories. I just called out H&M about duping the Von Dutch bowling bag. Check that out in my spring purse guide.

What I realize as well was typically if one style of boot or purse is super popular it most likely will be duped.

For example the Bottega Tire boot, so many fast fashion brands have copied this style of the Chelsea boot. I even brought a shoe dupe from H&M of this style, at the time I just thought it was trendy. It wasn’t exactly the same but you could tell it was inspired by the original Bottega design.

Dupes are hard to avoid in this era of fashion because of the overly saturated world of fast fashion.

You won’t be able to be avoid them unless you shop at stores that have a unique touch or exclusively from the original designer. Sadly, the most unique touch you may get now is from a small designer or the thrift shop.

Otherwise all stores are taking on that dupe approach. Also let’s be real, high end designers aren’t being that unique neither.

“They’re taking inspiration from one another and creating the same kind of products. The sock shoe craze for instance, let me not even start on that.”


Many high end brands like Prada are going back in time and re-releasing old designs, just updated.

For example, the brand released a new edition of the Re-Edition 2005 Re-Nylon bag.

Brands like SHEIN and H&M quickly hopped on those trends and made their own version. Not even re-edition bags are safe.

What is a counterfeit?

Counterfeits are items that are made to replica high end fashion brands or even small designer brands.

These kind of bags or fashion are made to look genuine. Their logos will attempt to be constructed straight on, and their colors will match. The issue is they are using another’s brand logo, identity and trying to sell them as original product which makes them counterfeit. Plus they are cheaply made in fabric and hardware.

Let me just say, it’s 2022. You should not be wearing counterfeits.

I do not want this to be a bashing session but counterfeits is where you find yourself in fashion frenzy.

To me it means you are a desperate for a look that’s not really there but you’re going to force it.

“It’s trying to look rich and like money with little money.”


Dupes is already pushing it because your shoes already will not have a long life time wear.

With counterfeits you’re trying to sell a dream that’s just not there. Plus your shoes probably have a four months life span because they’re so cheaply made.

They’re illegal and normally very bad for the environment and also extremely tacky.

Nowadays there are so many TikTok videos of people expressing their love for sites like DHgate, but you’re literally reporting and supporting theft.

Purses are not the only pieces that are facing counterfeits, many shoes and clothing items are being copied. Take for instance the Essentials collection from Fear of God.

Why am I anti counterfeits?

Dupes are already hard to deal with because as a artist you don’t want your work copied or imitated.

The thought process I put into my posts, ideas, and creations are sacred. They mean a lot and I wouldn’t want someone coming and taking my ideas for a quick buck.

With fashion designing it’s hard to control replicas, and dupes because it’s quite a process to patent a design that can costs thousands.

By the time your design is patent it could be a million remakes. Not saying it’s not worth it because it is but it’s a circus to try to own your own designs.

Sadly so many fashion designers use apps like Alibaba and AliExpress to find a manufacturer because it’s easy. It’s great to have manufacturers close by but some do not protect your creations.

These same apps could start mass producing your item and sell them to other wholesalers or to brands like SHEIN.

That leads you into a frenzy because now your design is being sold to the masses for dirt cheap.

Many small designers are facing this and it’s just not fair.

Example of dupes and designer counterfeits

How do I know if my bag is counterfeit?

We could spend hours talking about this because each designer bag has their own signature touches.

Nowadays it may be harder to tell but here some of the basics to see if your Chanel bag is a fake.

1. Bad stitching

2. Poor quality in structure

3. Made in China tags

4. Cheap hardware

5. Wrong name/ logo

6. Uneven pattern

7. Cheap lining

8. Leather bags smell like leather

9. Zipper quality

10. Check for authentication of bag such as the serial numbers, or brands tags.

If you’re still unsure my biggest advice is to search the bag online, if you can’t find any trace of it online it just might be a counterfeit. Try to find something that resonates with the bag, inspect from there.

Overall be a mindful shopper

People are free to shop wherever they want, just be mindful where you are shopping. If you are interested in some spring fashion check out my latest blog.

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