Fake handbags, fake designer clothing, fake jewellery ... fake fabric?  

Yes, along with just about every other conceivable (fashion) item, fabric and textile counterfeiting is commonplace. It starts right up on the High Street, and goes right the way down to Satwa and Karama.

Counterfeit fabrics

Lilly Pulitzer successfully sued Old Navy for copy write infringement.

Counterfeiting is a form of theft as you well know and thus ILLEGAL.  

Valuable goods are copied to con unsuspecting people into buying inferior imitations, which cannot be made with the same care or offer comparable quality to the real thing.  So, the originators of fine designs have their creativity compromised and customers are cheated.  But who else do we affect by purchasing fakes?

But it's cheap!  Why not buy imitation fabric?

Well besides being illegal (everyone can be a little naughty sometimes, right?) what about these to kill the mood:

1. The quality of the fabric, dying and printing (see those blurry edges) are mostly awful.  The toxic nature of the growing pesticides, printing and dying of cheap fabrics means these often carcenogenic chemicals end up in the environment and ultimately on your skin.   And that is why you can buy "Liberty" print fabrics in Satwa for a fraction of the AED105/m it sells for in London.

2. Child labour is very commonly used to work in these illegal factories so that you can have your fabric for a quarter of the price.  A recent report (pdf) by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) revealed that recruiters in southern India convince parents in impoverished rural areas to send their daughters to spinning mills with promises of a well-paid job, comfortable accommodation, three nutritious meals a day and opportunities for training and schooling, as well as a lump sum payment at the end of three years. Their field research shows that “in reality, they are working under appalling conditions that amount to modern day slavery and the worst forms of child labour”.

Child labor textile mills

3. The FBI claims that organised crime now runs the world of counterfeit products.  Jeffrey Unger, president of brand protection for OpSec Security confirms this: “Profits from counterfeiting have been linked to underground crime syndicates that use this illegal business to fund drug trafficking and terrorist activity,” he says. “When you purchase a fake, your money becomes a part of this illegal business cycle. In turn, you are supporting activities you would never want to fund. Counterfeiters are masters of fraud who seek to exploit consumers.”    Do you want to contribute to weapons-trading or the next terrorist plot?  

4.  Less tax revenue for the government.  That means in the long run, less money to spend on services for you and I.   One New York City advertisement stated “The sale of counterfeit goods costs New Yorkers $1 billion in lost tax dollars each year,” it reads. “Less money to improve schools, staff hospitals and make our streets safer.”

5. Legitimate businesses are being robbed.  That means profits, hardworking employees are losing their jobs, millions of dollars are being spent trying to catch the bad guys when they just shouldn't have to.   Tiffany Jewellery tried to sue Ebay for allowing the sale of counterfeit items, Louis Vitton reportedly spends AED70million a year organising raids, and now Alibaba is in big trouble for allowing mass quanitity sales of counterfeit items from China.

According to a report published some months ago by Europe’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the counterfeit of apparel and accessories cost European brands €26.3 billion yearly (that is, the 9.7% of their total sales). And, if we translate this into jobs, we learn that approximately 363.000 jobs have been lost across the retail, manufacturing and wholesale sectors of Europe’s fashion industries.

Counterfeit Liberty and Missoni prints Dubai

Counterfeit Missoni and Liberty prints found in Satwa, Dubai.

We have all done it or at least thought about it.    Just one handbag, a fake iphone, perfume copy, counterfeit medicine even?  

Just don't cheat - for the sake of a few more hard-earned dollars, you know you can stand tall and have kept the money in the right side of the economy, in a law abiding and tax paying business.  And no harm can come to little kids over the world.