Counterfeits as a fashion brand building tool

Gomorrah – A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples’ Organized Crime System
By Roberto Saviano

P. 42
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Besides, the clans weren’t ruining the brands’ image, but simply taking advantage of their advertising and symbolic charisma. The garments they turned out were not inferior and didn’t disgrace the brands’ quality or design image. Not only did the clans not create any symbolic competition with the designer labels, they actually helped promote products whose market price made them prohibitive to the general public. In short, the clans were promoting the brand. If hardly anyone wears a label’s clothes, if they’re seen only on live mannequins on the runway, the market. slowly dies and the prestige of the name declines. What’s more, the Neapolitan factories produced counterfeit garments in sizes that the designer labels, for the sake of their image, do not make. But the clans certainly weren’t going to trouble themselves about image when there was a profit to be made. Through the true fake business and income from drug trafficking, the Secondigliano clans acquired stores and shopping centers where genuine articles were increasingly mixed in with the fakes, thus erasing any distinction. In a way the System sustained the legal fashion empire in a moment of crisis; by taking advantage of sharply rising prices, it continued to promote Italian-made goods throughout the world, earning exponential sums.
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