• Ghada Slim

Fast Fashion and Counterfeit

During a recent trip to Turkey I was surprised, or rather shocked by the quantity of merchandise – namely leather goods and watches – on offer in the bazaars of the main cities that we traveled to.

My surprise was 2 pronged: One - the open offer of counterfeit goods shamelessly exposed for sale, and Two - the absolutely huge quantities of these goods filling hundreds of side to side stores and street corners in the markets.

And then there is the disturbing sameness of products that jumps out to you. The same handbags, shoes, watches, sneakers, etc…. are on offer on and on and on, to the point that you wonder what is the financial outtake for these shops’ owners? How do they manage to attract customers and make a living if all of them are selling the same product and how much waste is generated from the unsold and the leftovers?

At the age where the focus is on the negative environmental impact of fast fashion, shouldn’t we be more concerned about the mass production of counterfeits which not only impacts our planet but also our economy and our safety?

My disgust for mass production grew even bigger when later on we traveled to Italy and stayed in a small town by Lake Garda where we were longing for an authentic Italian experience of nature, food, arts, style and living quality. I quickly discovered as I stopped in the city center after my morning jogging by the lake that there was a new breed of shops that have popped up over the last 2 years: identical shops selling identical low end, unstylish garments, produced in masses and sold at extremely cheap prices.

There were hundreds and hundreds of the same t-shirt, same jumper, same track pants, … sold by Asian salespersons in low-end looking shops.

This was such an experience spoiler. I was disappointed by how these small towns are losing their charm and identity in favor of globalization dominance and economic supremacy.

To be honest this was such an eye-opener on the nuisance of fast fashion not only from the ecological point of view but also from an economic and aesthetic aspect.

To be clear, I am not at all a snobbish out of touch person who looks down at affordable fashion, however, I think that relevance is one of the main requisites in the retail business. Relevance is to have the right product at the right place for the right customer.

None of these aspects were met in this context. That I think is the main reason why I was so shocked and appalled as I truly felt that these offers were out of place in both their quality as much as their quantity.

For the first time, I understood the harm that fast fashion can do to the environment. For the first time, I felt actively responsible. For the first time, I was not attracted to browse through the racks in search of a good bargain.

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