Published 23 January 2023

10 min read

The cost-of-living crisis and inflated luxury aspirations among consumers are driving a burgeoning culture of quick-fix and unauthorised alternatives within the fashion industry. Packed with compelling statistics, key case studies and actionable insights, this report helps you navigate the tricky territory that comes with fakes, dupes and bootlegs.

Shifting Perspectives

The High/Low Dilemma

Broaching ‘Brandalism’

Combatting (and Commercialising) Copies

Artistic Licence: Bootlegs & Upcycling

Despite being heralded as extremely sustainably minded and ethically conscious generations, Gen Zers and millennials are the worst culprits when it comes to buying fake goods. Fifty-two per cent of Europeans aged 15-24 (EUIPO, 2022) and 47% of 13- to 39-year-old Americans (YPulse, 2022) admit to intentionally purchasing dupes and fakes. We’ll break down why – and how – they’re doing it.

Despite being heralded as extremely sustainably minded and ethically conscious generations, Gen Zers and millennials are the worst culprits when it comes to buying fake goods. Fifty-two per cent of Europeans aged 15-24 (EUIPO, 2022) and 47% of 13- to 39-year-old Americans (YPulse, 2022) admit to intentionally purchasing dupes and fakes. We’ll break down why – and how – they’re doing it.

Summary

Shifting Perspectives

Despite being heralded as extremely sustainably minded and ethically conscious generations, Gen Zers and millennials are the worst culprits when it comes to buying fake goods. Fifty-two per cent of Europeans aged 15-24 (EUIPO, 2022) and 47% of 13- to 39-year-old Americans (YPulse, 2022) admit to intentionally purchasing dupes and fakes. We’ll break down why – and how – they’re doing it.

The High/Low Dilemma

Central to the conversation about fakes and bootlegs are the intertwined topics of aspiration and luxury. With cost and access being the driving forces behind the growing popularity of counterfeits, it’s crucial to understand how bootlegs act as democratising entry points to luxury spaces for many.

Broaching ‘Brandalism’

Off-kilter partnerships and frenemy brandalism – both authorised and illegitimate – are all the rage in fashion, allowing for increased creative expression beyond staying ‘on-brand’ and widening the scope of what collaboration means in a major way. We unpack the key visual drivers, consumer attitude shifts and polarising moral concerns propelling this trend forward.

Combatting (and Commercialising) Copies

From counteracting viral knockoffs to the coveted aesthetics of low-budget fakes, brands are quickly learning how to capitalise on the counter-cultural whims of young consumers in an ethical yet budget-friendly way. There’s a surprising number of commercial lessons to be learned in this evolving space, with quick wit and acute self-awareness being paramount.

Artistic Licence: Bootlegs & Upcycling

The lockdown-induced and sustainably driven upcycling craze has provided a creative outlet for many designers and consumers alike, opening a Pandora’s box whereby everything from at-home craft projects to sneaker customisation can technically be considered bootlegs. Smart brands are learning to embrace rather than resist innovative outside influences.

Imposter Syndrome: Understanding Bootlegs, Dupes & Fakes

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Topics

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Want to see the full report?

Offering access to over 350 consumer and cross-industry reports annually, Stylus Membership is your window to tomorrow’s most exciting opportunities.

We already arm more than 500 of the world’s most forward-thinking brands and agencies with the creative insights they need to make transformative business decisions.

We’d love to do the same for you.

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