Reader Jane Jetson emailed me with this fascinating question:
I am wondering about knock offs. I am not referring to counterfeit or “replicas”. Those are illegal and look terrible anyway. My friend bought a huge “Prada” bag downtown and I cannot imagine people think it is real. There is no way she or anyone I know can purchase bags in the thousands of dollars.
I was looking for a tote bag for a long flight. I bought this bag and liked it very much.
I later read a reviewer say she liked it better than the “original.” The original is a Longchamp bag which costs over $100 more. I just cannot see paying that much for a nylon bag. I was vaguely aware of the Longchamp bag and was not looking for something similar at a lower price. I just wanted an attractive bag. I do not like wearing labels and realize that many designers simply license their names to lower quality products and do not have much involvement with the actual production. I am OK with that too but something about showy labels rubs me the wrong way. I have labeled goods such as ray ban and northface so I am not completely opposed. My question is, what about knock offs? Will someone see my bag and presume I bought a lower grade (and perfectly legal) Longchamp copy or that I have a nice bag? I don’t know where this begins and ends. I am not seeking out copies but I am not that familiar with all the handbags in the expensive, fashionable handbag universe. I also think that certain styles just become popular and are part of the general look and not necessarily a knock off.