While I strongly believe that this industry must be restricted, I can’t help but marvel at the smarts of the ecosystem that powers this industry. Their speed to market is remarkable. As the world continues to move ahead at a breakneck speed, the world of innovation and patents is just not able to keep pace with the world of fakes. I am told that the production time between the launch of collections on the Parisian catwalks and their ‘inspired versions’ available on the streets of Hongkong, Bangkok and Dubai has shrunk to the extent that the fashion houses have been reduced to despair.
I am reminded of the early eighties in New Delhi when denim was the latest rage. It’s availability was limited to brands like Levi’s, Lee and Wrangler, which were out of reach for most middle class Indians. I was a strapping wannabe fashionable teen and my aspiration to fashion was limited to my meagre means. I found myself heading to a market that was known to make custom made denim jeans (in a few hours), inspired by the latest brands. I found my dream denim cloth and the intrepid tailor was quick to note down my measurements. And then he asked me about my brand preference. I had never owned a Lee or a Wrangler and I was quite torn. I found myself asking his advise on the latest fashion. “Which brand that would make me look the most cool?”, I asked.
He reflected for a minute and extended his wise counsel. I must say that his answer was most unexpected. He recommended to stitch on both the patches, to my astonishment. The one on the right-Wrangler and the one on the left-Lee! I thought he was kidding and I exclaimed; “Thank you sir! The whole world would then know that I am wearing a fake!”.
He looked at me as our teachers would sometimes look at us when we were just not getting it. School teachers have this particular stare which reduces every ounce of confidence and bluster in you to pulp. I felt myself experiencing that stare for a fleeting moment.
In a patronising tone he explained that every alternate day I should loop my belt under one of the patches. That way the world would believe that I owned two pairs of jeans, two pairs for the price of one! That was the day I realised that this industry is here to stay and to deny its existence is just faking it!