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Italian fashion brands threatened by fake goods
Aug '06
Fakes are hardly new in the world of designer fashion but the problem has reached epidemic proportions in the past couple of years.

Designers have been racking their brains to thwart counterfeiters.

Some are even starting to imbed microchips in products like handbags and blouses, despite their best efforts; however, most haven't been able to outwit the counterfeiters.

Trade in counterfeiting goods has reached US $450 billion globally.

Italy has lost more than 40,000 jobs in the past decade because of lost sales attributed to counterfeits.

Worldwide production of fakes has jumped 1,700 percent since 1993.

Hence Italy is compelled to safeguard its legendary fashion sector, the only industry in which the economically pressed country still has global supremacy.

Initially, designers, unthreatened by the poor-quality imitations, regarded them as minor nuisances; and law enforcement agencies had other priorities besides waging war on behalf of makers of luxury goods.

Lately, however, faced with better fakes, the industry and the Italian authorities are taking the fight more seriously, pursuing criminal charges against counterfeit producers, using customs to monitor illegal shipments, and raiding producers and sellers of fake goods.

In addition, some designers are trying to find creative ways to make their products more difficult to copy.

To win the battle convincingly would require awhole revamping of the obsolete world of Italian high style.

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