Jess Zaino (Fashion Correspondent, Personal Stylist) gives expert video advice on: What is a 'knockoff'?; Who makes a knockoff?; Is owning a knockoff socially acceptable? and more...
What is a 'knockoff'?
A knockoff is a counterfeit piece. If you see Gucci in the store, generally a company takes that exact look and tries to replicate it to the T, including with the Gucci name.
Is owning a knockoff socially acceptable?
I believe that knockoffs are socially acceptable, but I have met people in the past who although they are carrying the knockoff won't admit to it. People like to say when they spend 1500 dollars on a bag. They are showing it off, they are saying "I can afford this, this is what I am worth". If you got the knockoff and if you are proud of it like I am, say it, I am a knockoff kind of girl. However, if you want to keep it on the hush and spend less money but look wealthier or more in tune to what you are buying, keep it on the hush .
Is there such a thing as a good knockoff and a bad knockoff?
There is certainly a difference between a good knockoff and a bad knockoff. A bad knockoff you can find on the street, instead of Gucci it will say Fucci. A good knockoff will actually say Gucci and you probably have to go behind doors or under a table to get it. A good knockoff you're spend about probably a third of what the bag costs, maybe even upwards to a half, whereas a bad knockoff you can spend like fifty bucks and haggle it down to twenty.
When is it OK to splurge for the real thing?
It's OK to splurge for the real thing when you put the money aside, and that you budgeted out how much you're going to spend on it, and you've done the work on the bag. It shouldn't be a metallic clutch that you'll have for two months. It really needs to be a great, sturdy bag. Maybe that $800 clock that will last five, or ten years. Something that will get better with age and something that will really continue to make you happy and look great with everything that you have in your closet.
What are the most popular knockoff items?
The most popular knockoffs are definitely bags: Louis Vuitton, Coach, Gucci. Then, I would say sunglasses, because sunglasses are easy to make and they'll cost $10 for a knockoff pair of Chenelles. And then even nowadays, they're knocking off clothes. You will find those pieces that are not only inspired by, but have that designer name glued on to the outfit.
Where can I find knockoff items?
You have "knockoffs" and you have "inspired bys". A knockoff will actually say the name of the brand when it's not actually the brand. Those can be found on the street. Again, in the back alleys of major cities like Chinatown or Sand Valley in Los Angeles, and of course the Internet. EBay has a tremendous amount of wares that, be careful, because a lot of them actually are knockoffs that they're selling as the real thing. And then of course you have the "inspired by", which is something that looks like the item, but doesn't have the name Gucci or even the Fucci; it just doesn't have any name. A great place for that is the Home Shopping Network.