When I studied abroad in London, my mom offered to let me borrow her giant Louis Vuitton duffle bag for me to use as luggage. Of course I was stoked--bringing a huge LV bag to London could only boost the look of my outfits with its overly exposed monograms and handles that give your hands blisters after just walking a few blocks. So I used the bag painfully, yet proudly, the entire quarter: freakishly worried that something would scratch the leather or that something would spill on the bag, looking totally crazy when riding the overcrowded tube, protecting the bag from all the tube riders looking to maliciously pull and drag at my overpriced bag. Little did I know that my mom's beautiful LV bag was really a fake. When my mom came to visit me at the end of the program, she said to me "Are you crazy?! Like I'd give you real Louis Vuitton [major laughing and scoffing]!" My heart kind of sank as I realized I pointlessly carried around that totally useless bag for three whole months thinking it was real when in reality it just made traveling around Europe more difficult.
Here's the thing though--the bag looked so real. I noticed it didn't FEEL like leather (but what do I know?), but the monograms and everything looked pretty authentic. And the entire time I never doubted that I wasn't carrying a real LV bag, and I acted as if I had the real thing (probably snobbish and overly protective of scratching the pleather of the damned bag). So that's when I realized, why buy the fake or real thing when you're just looking to attain some form of beauty, status, or decadence? It's a bullshit, temporary feeling of happiness (or just a straight up superiority complex). So at the end of this experience, I realized--knockoffs are full of crap. And while a majority of my songs on iTunes were not downloaded legally, at least I will never buy garments or accessories with the "blind desire to look immaculately fashionable"--at least knockoff-wise. And we could all learn from a reverse authentic bag experiment like my unintended one.
I think Decker's article has a point though and my biggest question is to what point is appropriation not plagiarizing or stealing? All the fashions we see in stores selling ready-to-wear like Forever 21 are selling clothes based off of higher end designs or what is put on the runway.
Anyways, update on the Consumerism Challenge: I haven't bought anything besides a ton of food and drinks at Safeway lately, and the only excess I've had these days is trips to the bars. I've even been avoiding online shopping. Yay me.
"Knockouts of Knockoffs", Decker
Fake LV photo, www.thepiratesdilemma.com