Posted on November 10 2019
Here is the Thrifted take on the difference between FAKE and BOOTLEG. What we think should become a vintage industry standard, to avoid the sort of problems you see on Depop and elsewhere. Take a watch of our clip and have a read of our editorial on this below.
What is the difference between fake & bootleg?
Bootleg Gucci? Bootleg Chanel? Surely not right? However the aforementioned high-end luxury brands with the ‘bootleg’ label preceding them are some of the most sought after items in the modern day fashionista/Vintage collector/Hybebeasts wardrobe. But bootleg is just a fancy word for fake you say? The line between a bootleg piece & a fake piece is where it gets interesting – so lets get down to it.
A Fake item of clothing is one that has directly copied an authentic product already on the market, marketing itself as an original product in the hopes of duping the consumer. A great example of this would be the case of both Stone Island & Moncler jackets. With both jackets retailing from anywhere between £500 to thousands of pounds the market for faking the jackets is huge.
Both of these brands have an instantly recognizable feature with the iconic stone island patch adorning their jackets sleeve, & the instantly recognizable Moncler rooster taking center stage on the arm of Moncler jackets. With both of these features being a key branding element, producers of fake clothes go to great lengths to copy the iconography as close to the legitimate product as possible – making it increasingly difficult to tell real and fakes apart. To copy either of these could only be fake as there isn’t any room for experimentation in the end product. Fakes of these jackets even go as far as replicating the tags & wash labels, adding further difficulty in identifying a fake to a real piece.
Fake & counterfeit goods production is an enormous market, becoming a 1.2 trillion dollar industry – that could just about pay off my student loan debt, mental. Brands such as Supreme, Louis Vuitton & Off white are all faked on an enormous level. One interesting case regarding Supreme fakes comes in the form of global tech conglomerate Samsung, whom in 2018 announced a collaboration with the street wear juggernaut to the surprise of Supreme who knew nothing of the collab upon its announcement – Embarrassingly for Samsung they had been in negotiations with ‘Supreme Italia’ a fake supreme outlet in Italy, the collaboration was cancelled & supreme proceeded too sue, awkward.
Here’s where things gets interesting, now we have established the grounds for an item being fake, we move onto ‘bootleg’. In stark contrast to an item being fake, a bootleg piece as no intention of marketing itself as the real thing, the aim of a bootleg piece isn’t to copy existing pieces, only to creatively appropriate brands, mimicking the original but making it the designers own, resulting in a unique looking product. Take for example this bootleg Tommy Hilfiger jacket available on our website in comparison to an authentic Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Sports logo. Prior to bootleg tommy sports sweatshirts, t-shirts & jackets coming onto the market in the 90’s, Tommy Hilfiger hadn’t even released clothing with the name tommy sports attached to it, making tommy sports completely unique. Legitimate tommy sports clothing has now been released officially off the back of the popularity of the bootleg pieces (below) & this isn’t the first time brands have taken notice of bootleg culture.
Ventements DHL ‘collaboration’ hit the market in 2016, with yellow t-shirts adorning the humble DHL logo selling for £165. Looks bootleg doesn’t it?
Check the 90s Tommy bootleg here, vs the re-pro 2019 Tommy on the right:
There are significant differences in the design, yet both items are recognizable as Tommy Hilfiger. With bootleg designs intentionally making the item look fake, there is a broader spectrum of creative freedom when using existing branding. Look no further than the king of bootlegging himself, Sports banger, rising to fame with his unique take on Nike, adding the NHS logo to give it a distinctively UK appeal, or by simply flipping the reebok logo upside down, simply bootlegging perfection. It’s the use of the Nike & reebok in a different context to how the brands would usually position themselves that creates something bootleg, which ultimately draws the line between a fake product and a bootleg one.
Bootleg Gucci image - https://sobump.com/products/EmmwAM6dDE-90-S-Purple-Bootleg-Gucci-Sweatshirt-
Ventements tshirt https://shop.labelsfashion.com/vetements-dhl-double-tee-m
NHS Sports banger - https://twitter.com/BangerJonny/status/746294514176901120/photo/2
Upside down reebok - https://www.depop.com/products/sports-banger-reebok-tshirt-large/