The fashion industry has always had a problem with counterfeit goods. Companies like Supreme which only release a limited number of items, collaborations which are notoriously hard to get hold off or bigger fashion houses like Gucci whose products are often too expensive for your average man to own. It makes sense and usually counterfeit goods are aimed to be replicas of the real thing at a knock off price. But what do you do when the knock off goods don’t exist?
The Collaboration Mania
Let’s go back to the beginning with sneakerheads posting up heavily photoshopped images of collabs and limited edition shoes which would never exist in the real world. Think Gucci vs Adidas or Nike vs Balenciaga, these photoshopped images which adorned the pages off sneaker head forums like NikeTalk and Hypebeast moved to Instagram where they began racking up thousands of likes. This only got bigger and bigger as collar-mania took off with real life collaborations becoming increasing popular.
Supreme x LV x Nike?
This has gone even further with people like The Shoe Surgeon, Ceeze, nevertoolavish, Mache275 etc etc. These Instagrammers are customising real life products that you can actually buy to create one of shoes.
The fake sneakers are then remade in factories in China, they get the blueprints or deconstruct an original pair. Then consumers can browse legit looking sites that contain hundreds of one of replicas and fictional designs and order a pair of kicks. Prices can go for over $180USD, with shipping taking a couple of months. It’s weird culture shock to see fake items go for more than their original “real life” product. A definite blurring of the lines between real and fake, high and low, desirable and undesirable.
It's quite interesting to see though and begs the question are these big brands like Nike and Adidas out of touch with current youth culture? The proof is in the pudding, unless it's a collaboration people don't want Nikes or Adidas anymore they want something unique that sets them apart from the crowd. For this is issue is actually being highlighted by the fact we're seeing adverts for Nike & Adidas specifically trying to be more relevant to younger and trendy audiences.Nike's much coveted "Nothing Beat's a Londoner" ad and Adidas's "Calling all creators" ad springs to mind instantly; I'll stick it underneath so you can watch it.
They're using influencers in these adverts that people aspire to be and look up to, this is nothing new. But perhaps the influencers they're getting on board are the wrong ones ? Converses effort to move more "relevant" recently was more inspiring using Instagram influencer Gully Guy Leo,Tove Lo and Mabel McVey. People who are actually on the frontline of fashion counterculture and influencing current trends as opposed to these international superstars in the Adidas spot who are so far removed from anything cutting edge. Fair enough Nike did a little better in nothing beats a Londoner but for us there was so many people in it the focus wasn't on the real influencers like the J Hus's, Jorja Smiths and Santan Daves.
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