What Lies Beneath

Alex Fassam

To make myself somewhat remotely grown up I sign my name Alexander, but most refer to me as Alex. A blogger, retail enthusiast and, for my sins, a student studying at London College of Fashion.In between studying and working you may find me in Oxford street doing what I like to call "extreme shopping".

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As I step off the Victoria line into the animal jungle that is Oxford street, three things engulf me. Crowds, pollution and fashion.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 50 years you will know that Oxford street is one of London’s crowning jewels with its Fashion district. Home to shops such as Mulberry, Louis Vuitton and Chanel, these strips of road have been transformed into a luxury shopper’s destination retreat. It’s no wonder that people dress to impress when shopping here.

Forcing my head down and trying not to get into a battle of ‘who can strut the hardest’, I find shelter in a nearby coffee shop and order my usual. Taking my seat and finding solace in the precious quiet I have found myself, I spot it.

What Lies Beneath

As a beacon of fashion iconography, my eyes are drawn to it like a magnet. A Louis Vuitton A/W 12 bag. With a flash, my memory quickly takes me back to the Louis Vuitton A/W 12 catwalk and the ingenious idea of having porters carry the model’s handbag to compliment their chic L/V train taking centre stage.

The owner of this bag is in earshot and dressed fabulously head to toe. I couldn’t fault her. I overhear discussions about dinner plans and what she’s got for dinner, but then my ears start to bleed. I hear her friend compliment this fashionista on her bag and without skipping a heartbeat she says

“Thanks! It’s a fake”

My stomach sinks. The look of disappointment in my eyes could be seen from Westminster. As if the gorgeous illusion of this girl I have in my head has been shattered into pieces, and in some ways it kind of has.

Don’t get me wrong. You won’t find a less snobby person than me. I can’t stand bullshit and I don’t have time for people’s delusions of grandeur. In actual fact I don’t blame this girl for having a fake. We are in a recession after all, but nonetheless my fashion crush has disappeared completely.

The only way I can describe it is to imagine you’ve invited friends over for dinner. You’ve decided to cook, from scratch, a hearty freshly made burger. You’ve sourced the meat from the butcher’s shop, carefully selected the flavouring, spices and bun to surround the meat. The cheese you’ve selected cost you what could have been a good night out drinks-wise and even the plate you serve it on has had a good spin in the dishwasher. Now imagine as you serve these God-like burgers your ‘friends’ pull out a McDonalds’ big mac and chow on down. Disappointing isn’t it.

The problem I have with fakes is the disregard and loss of appreciation that goes with the cheap way they are made. No blood sweat or tears went into this fake, nor did anyone making it have sleepless nights worrying about the final outcome or how it would fit into a certain collection. It’s just insanely wrong.

Anyone who is anyone in fashion can really tell the difference between a fake and a real. Certain ways these pieces of merchandise are made can really tell them apart at a moment’s glance. After researching into how to spot a fake I’ve realised just how easy it is. The cut, colour, stitching and actual smell of a product can easily tell you. But who has time to really sniff your best friend’s new Marc Jacobs? An ingenious way to see if a fake is in fact a fake is to do some research. Discover where the designer had the originals made and in what country and then look to see if this is printed on the ticket stitched into the seam of most pieces. If it’s different to your research I give you full permission to disown your friend. Really, you can.

A loss of fashion buzz and sense of pride comes hand in hand with a fake. I’m not going to give financial advice on how to afford the real deal but just think to yourself whether or not it’s truly worth the fashion crime.

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