Counterfeit Culture – Inside South Korea’s Fake Fashion World

| Korean fashion is being dominated by fake designer clothes, bags & accessories. How dangerous is this for the legitimate big designer labels like Chanel, Supreme and Tommy Hilfiger?

In most places, fake or counterfeit branded goods are seen as a total fashion faux pas, but the knock-off economy in Seoul is growing rapidly, as South Korea’s street style cool kids embrace the tacky logo trend.


In recent years, Korea has emerged as one of the world’s fastest-growing fashion markets. Koreans are obsessed with fashion, and the country produces scores of talented designers, many of whom are now breaking out onto the global stage. Beneath the surface, though, there’s an insane market for counterfeit streetwear. Of course, you can find fake clothing all over the globe, but there’s places in Seoul that are selling convincing knock-offs of hyped brands like Raf Simons, Off-White, Balenciaga and Fear Of God.


From Tommy Hilfiger to Supreme, no high fashion or streetwear brand is safe when it comes to Seoul’s sprawling counterfeit fashion market. According to an article featured on Business of Fashion, this is seriously harming the fashion industry, as true branded products cannot be sold for full price, and brands are actually put off from opening stores in Seoul because of this issue.

"Covetable brands like Supreme, Stüssy and Champion are almost impossible to buy in South Korea, a situation that has spawned a tribe of widely available "copycat" brands. Fake Supreme hoodies can be acquired for the equivalent of $25 on the sidewalk, while a shopping mall store carries an exact replica of an embroidered Saint Laurent jacket, recently worn by Justin Bieber….Meanwhile, Off-White and Champion x Vetements grosgrain ribbons can be made to order into belts.

What do you think? Is ‘fake fashion’ killing creativity and profit, or are these creative Korean’s simply smart bargain hunters with a keen eye for trends? Watch the mini documentary below and let us know your view on the subject of counterfeit culture.

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Video by Vice.

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