is it bad to buy fake designer brands is it illegal to buy replica luxury products

Is it bad to wear fake designer brands?

If you’ve ever contemplated buying or wearing fake designer clothing or accessories but you’re wondering whether it’s worth it or not, then you’re asking the right questions and you’re in the right place. I can speak from experience on this as I have bought replicas from one of the most popular online marketplaces thanks to social media pressures and I’m going to give you my honest thoughts on whether fake goods are worth it and in terms of style but also from a financial and legal perspective. After learning for myself, the truth behind the fake luxury goods industry, it’s not something that I am proud of and I want to prevent you from making the same mistake that I did.

Is it bad to wear fake designer goods

Yes, it’s bad to wear fake designer goods because there are a lot more negative consequences of wearing fake items than there are positive consequences. Even though you might think buying fake goods doesn’t cause any harm and saves you money, the truth is fake goods can harm you and your community.

These fake goods are made with the sole purpose of displaying recognizable logos with the cheapest manufacturing costs possible. They are made from unsustainable synthetic materials that perform like plastic and will never be able to mimic the high quality leather used in genuine products whether they are high-end luxury or more affordable. So even though the visual branding may look somewhat similar, that is where the similarity ends.

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Chloé Woody Flat Mule Sandal
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Fake Chloé Woody Sandals

You may be tempted to accept low quality just to bring a bit of opulence to your style with something that looks like the real thing. But unfortunately these fake goods are so notorious for being fake that they end up detracting from your style instead. Their materials are also unable to mimic the look and performance of genuine materials like leather for example. Below are some sandals from brands that are not so well known but have a similar flat mule style to the Chloé sandal. Sandals like these that are so well made with high quality materials add elegance and authenticity to your style without the big logos or big price tags. 

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is it bad to buy fake designer brands chloe woody flat mule sandal dupes authentic alternatives ayede anna sandals nappa leather
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If you want to learn more about these particular sandals, watch my TikTok on them.

If you truly want to enhance your personal style then fake goods are not the best way to go. There are much better premium and affordable luxury alternatives that are stylish, high-quality and authentic and can actually make your money go a lot further because they’re more long lasting and versatile. Learning how to find these high quality, versatile pieces is a great way to maximize diversity and longevity in your wardrobe without relying on “trendy” or loud luxury items. 

Related: The most versatile accessories for the whole year

Is it illegal to wear fake brands

In some countries such as France, Italy and Switzerland, buying or wearing counterfeit goods is illegal and could result in huge fines. In the United States, federal law does not prohibit you from buying or wearing a counterfeit product for personal use, even if you do so knowingly. 

However, whether or not wearing fake designer brands is a punishable offence where you live, purchasing these goods online, on social media or from local vendors still funds criminal activity and supports the creation of other types of fake goods.

Groups who are involved in making fake designer bags or sunglasses for example could also very well be in the business of selling fake medical goods, vehicle parts or children’s toys. So even though fake fashion items may not cause direct harm to you, supporting the criminal groups who make them can lead to other more hazardous goods on the market that do cause direct harm to others.

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Online marketplaces like Aliexpress and DhGate are some of the most popular sites that you should avoid when buying branded items. If you’re purchasing an item on second hand marketplaces like eBay and Dpop, then be sure to use an authenticity filter or check for the authenticity icon to know that what you are buying has been verified.

If you are ordering from an independent website then it’s important to carry out some basic checks to protect yourself from fraudsters. Here are some of the checks you can carry out:

  • Check the domain name does not have any strange words
  • Check how to contact customer service. If there is only a generic contact form and no other methods like an email address or phone number then this is a bad sign.
  • Check for a physical business address or business registration number that you can verify at the registry office.
  • If you do get to the checkout page, check that the url has a locked padlock symbol beside and that it starts with https://. If these are not present, leave the site immediately and do not type in any personal information.

Why do people buy fake designer brands

There are many different motivations that people have for purchasing and wearing fake designer items. One of the most popular reasons is that fake designer items appeal to people who want to demonstrate their status or style but do not have the funds to do so with genuine designer products. 

Other reasons include; little regard for the law or intellectual property rights, having a negative attitude towards big business, feeling that genuine brands charge unfair prices, having a desire to wear trendy designer items while they’re still popular but do not want to invest in the real product and a love branded products whether they’re fake or not.

However, if you have bought fake designer goods before, this does not mean that you’re a criminal or a bad person. Sometimes people are misguided by social media and peer pressure to look a certain way or own certain things and they should not feel judged for that. We all have the ability to learn and grow from our mistakes.

Related: How to have expensive taste (authentically)
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Why you should not buy fake designer goods

The extent of the danger of buying counterfeit products isn’t always obvious but there are many important factors that you should consider before you purchase or wear fake designer goods. Least of which is the fact that there are so many better quality and authentic products that can be purchased at a similar price point from brands that have strong brand identity and integrity.

Research suggests that wearing counterfeit products not only fails to boost your self-image the way you hope it would, but it actually undermines your internal sense of authenticity. By wearing things that you know are fake, you are more likely to feel like a cheater on the inside and therefore alienate yourself more on the outside.

The fake luxury goods trade is not a victimless crime either. Every time you buy a counterfeit good, a legitimate company loses revenue and you are funding organized criminals instead. Funding real businesses benefits your community and economy and it’s highly unlikely that these fake businesses are paying any taxes which means less money is going toward essential infrastructure like roads, education and healthcare.

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Unlike legitimate companies with genuine products, counterfeits aren’t inspected or regulated by government agencies. This means even though they may look “put together” fake goods are made as cheaply as possible with little regard for the customer and are in some cases just unsafe. 

If you’re shopping online, you should also take note that there is no customer protection for you and there is no guarantee that you will even receive your item. Because you have no way of knowing for sure what they will send, your parcel could get stopped and inspected at customs which will lead the authorities straight to you as it’s your name and address on the parcel.

Related: What are considered luxury handbags – The luxury hierarchy


There are so many reasons why you should never buy or wear fake designer goods. The most unfortunate is that they do nothing for your personal style and distract you from developing a sense of your own taste. I believe that you can deserve better for your hard earned money than cheap synthetic lookalikes with loud luxury logos and “fake it till you make it” doesn’t really apply when you are doing harm to yourself and others.

By raising your standards and learning how to recognize authenticity and quality, you can find quality items at a price point that you are comfortable with from real brands that align with your style. This is such an enjoyable part of develop your own style and much more rewarding than relying on fake designer goods to elevate your outfits. I hope you found this post helpful and if you have any questions about finding authentic alternatives from more affordable luxury and premium brands, then don’t hesitate to let me know! Tag me on Instagram, Tiktok or Pinterest or you can or send me a message! 

About the author 

Mish has a Masters in Fine Art and she has an interest in classical design, history and culture. She loves to analyze fashion and style through this lens to help people develop authentic personal style.