Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A brief rant on "replica" or "knock-off" items

One of the coolest things about having a blog on Blogger is that I have tools to see what other websites have mentioned The Vivienne Files (and boy am I grateful).

But I'm REALLY REALLY angry to see that recently, sites which sell counterfeit merchandise have been a source of traffic to this blog.

Counterfeiting is a crime.  Period.  The people who make and distribute fake fashion accessories are the same unsavory lot who make and distribute fake prescription medications, baby formula, automobile parts and airplane parts.

If you can't afford an expensive handbag, then don't carry one.  In no way is your personal style diminished because you're not wearing a bunch of visible logos - quite the contrary.  But don't kid yourself or anybody else that you can "pass" by carrying a fake, or that in doing so you are clever.  You're a criminal.  There's no other word for it.

I'm dead serious.  If this continues, this blog will close down faster than a strip club with a broken ATM.


  1. Is there anyway to control who can or where you get tagged through your settings? You could make it "private"...I would hate to see you shut down for this reason. I TOTALLY agree with you about fakes and replicas--unfortunately is up to an individual to take a stand against the practice.

    I am confused sometimes by the "referral" sites I see on my dashboard--if I click on them, I don't understand how stepping my way to bliss was even an option for someone to link over.

    Please don't close down shop...xxBliss

  2. someone had actually posted a link to The Vivienne Files, with a quote like "as seen on the Vivienne Files". I had my legal friend contact them, and the link is already gone. But seriously, I was beyond annoyed. I think as long as I monitor my traffic sources it will be okay, but to even faintly imply that I was showing counterfeits was vry upsetting.

  3. No doubt like many of us who enjoy your blog, I sincerely hope that you continue. I enjoy your blog every morning, am looking at it as I pack for a ten day trip this morning, and use it as a portal to other blogs. Please find a way.

    It's possible that all of us (or at least most - you never know) who read your blog have never bought any counterfeit goods. Personally, I've never been interested in the status logos. I see no reason to pay to be a walking advertisement. I don't even know which sites sell counterfeits, except that I've heard it's been a problem on ebay. In that case, people sometimes get counterfeit thinking it's the real thing.

    It's doubtful that anyone who makes or distributes counterfeit goods is going to care whether you continue their blog or not. It's understandable that you would not want to contribute in any way to an illegal trade. But perhaps you could use this as a forum on how to be stylish without spending a lot of money or purchasing the name brands. What you offer is real style, which counterfeit goods or even the name brands in of themselves cannot give. It's not what you buy, but how you put things together that matters. You are so good at that. Most people aren't going to buy Gucci suits or DVF dresses anyway. I'm wondering if it would help if you took the names off the clothes. It's not ideal, but it would be preferable to you shutting down. We'd be so sad. Really, it's sound overly dramatic, but it's true. I should continue packing, but just wanted to let you know how much you are appreciated.

  4. I think about taking the brand names off of the garments and accessories I post, but I'm really uncertain of the obligation I have to the manufacturers to give them credit for their work and their images. I'd love to show less expensive items, but I continually have trouble finding good-quality images of them - they tend to be cluttered, and on weird-colored backgrounds.

    I wrestle with this question a lot - really I do! Any suggestions for sources of better images, or any insights into my legal responsibilities for crediting sources would be VERY welcome.

    And thanks for your feedback. I'm sorry if I sounded overly dramatic (I know in retrospect that I did) but I am still very upset about this. I don't think I'm going anywhere, but that was really my first reaction!

  5. Preach it. Although I would hate to see you go.

  6. Just to clarify, I was worried that I sounded too dramatic for being so sad that you might decide to stop your blog. I didn't think that you were being overly dramatic. I understand your concern and would be upset too in your shoes.

  7. I am adding my voice to the others. Don't let those counterfeiters win. It is a great idea to use your fabulous blog to educate people and be a counter marketer. It is also best to use the high end examples for us as they set an excellent benchmark, especially for those of us who sew. Most of us will ever only be able to have one of these expensive items but they remind us of what true quality is ( at least the examples you choose).


  8. I agree with all the comments above, and I want to add that you have inspired me so much to sew this Fall. I would be very sad to see this blog disappear. I also wanted to add that I wouldn't feel right wearing a counterfeit, knowing that child exploitation is often involved and money often goes to terrorists.

  9. This is my absolute favorite blog of many. I respect and applaud (and share) your stand against counterfeits. As the others said, I hope you find a way to keep your blog alive while keeping your stance against counterfeiting.

    As for your sources of images and crediting the manufacturers, of course you must do what is best for your blog. But I want to say that I very much appreciate the information in your credits and knowing these are real, currently available clothes.

    I haven't bought any of them, and might never, but it has given me a few new ideas for sources, designers to watch and to shop for when the price and time are right. I study the credits not as much as the images, but I do look at them frequently--quite a bit more than on other blogs.

    When you complete your book of wardrobes, I will be one of the first to buy. Such a pleasure and resource to look at the beautiful, creative and wonderfully edited collections.

  10. Perhaps you could check with the clothing manufacturers to find out what they would prefer in terms of credit? You will need to find out if they are mentioned in your book, so it would be a good way to get started on the book project.

  11. I guess I don't understand what you are saying. You show great clothing combinations and wardrobes and always credit the designer. I appreciate that so I Could know where to look for these items if I chose to. How was someone suggesting you were showing counterfit merchandise?

    Please don't shut down, I love love love your ideas and this blog is a joy to look at every day.

  12. Now that I've calmed down (and the link on the heinous offensive website is gone) I can clarify a bit. A website which sells counterfeit handbags had posted a list of "as seen on" links to other websites, and one of the sites on their list was this one. As if I was using THEIR images of THEIR garbage merchandise on this site. And after viewing that horrendous site, people were clicking on the link and coming to The Vivienne Files.

    I'm much better now; they took down the link almost immediately upon notification. Heaven knows there's no way I can put their site out of business, but they're not going to use us to promote their crimes.

    End of rant. unless it happens again.

  13. I agree with you 100%! There is actually a very good book by Dana Thomas called Delux How Luxury Lost Its Luster and it all about conterfeit goods and how factories treat the workers who produce these shoddy goods.
    I have always said that if some company wants me to walk around wearing their logos then they should pay me for the advertising. After reading this book anybody would realize just how the " luxury" brands are for the most part now more about marketing and profit than they are about craftsmanship and quality. There are still a few exceptions (Hermes) but unfortunately not many anymore.

  14. Some thoughts:

    1. Today I spent (too much) time online gazing at Hermes scarves. Put a couple in my cart and then had a moment of sanity: In my small, geeky town, the only reason to buy a Hermes scarf would be so that I could feel the silk and decide if it's worth my $$$. I finally decided, that's not enough reason to spend so much money.

    2. I live in a very casual environment: One of the most respected women I know routinely wears blue jeans and logo t-shirts to work. And the logos aren't designer names -- they're things like "7th Annual Turkey Trot!" If I wear a skirt and hose, I'm better dressed than most of the professional women I see.

    3. When you write, "If you can't afford an expensive handbag, then don't carry one," I assume you mean something like, "A plain leather bag is superior to a counterfeit."

    4. And that's part of why I enjoy your blog: You're combining color and style, without trying to sell us certain designers' products. (unlike magazines). For example, the Vince jacket in your 'Warm Brown' post is lovely. But it's the idea of a warm brown jacket, not that particular jacket, that pulls the pieces together. As some of the other commenters have said, your wardrobe collections offer inspiration -- even for sewing your own pieces!

    5. Finally, I feel that your blog gives the impression that clean+neat will always trump trendy. And what are counterfeits, if not an attempt to buy into trends?

    6. One last comment: "faster than a strip club with a broken ATM." !?!