Whilst walking the streets of far out cities like Bangkok and Beijing it becomes difficult not to notice the huge presence of fake clothing that make up the majority of the everyday markets. Fake Yeezys and knock off Ralph Lauren Polos are abundantly clear, as well as cheap imitations of Nike, Jordan Brand and even high end brands such as Gucci and Versace, all of which can be found in vast quantities lining the streets of Asia’s most attractive cities. In similar fashion, sites such as Aliexpress and even to some degree EBAY have been guilty of selling imitation products online. While this does not go on quite as openly as it does in the far East, there is no questioning its undeniable presence. Recently however it seems that the selling of fake or imitative products has come into mainstream retail, at the hands of none other than comfort shoe brand Skechers.
News of Skechers apparent selling of “knock off Yeezys” first came into light on Instagram. A user uploaded a photo showing the supposed fakes being displayed in a glass case in an unnamed Skechers store. The photo (below) clearly depicts Skechers models displaying the signature Yeezy Boost 350 V2 stripe design, with at least one of the shoes featuring the same colour patterns as Yeezy’s “Beluga” V2 model. The news prompted Skechers to be ridiculed online, however it begs the question how can a company such as Skechers so blatantly copy such a popular design from another brand.
The answer is…with ease. Skechers have looked elsewhere for inspiration time and time again during their lifetime, with copycat Stan Smiths (below) and even an imitative attempt at Adidas’s Boost technology attempted by the affordable shoe brand. Little has ever been done to combat Skechers’ blatant plagiarism of the competition’s designs, just like little has ever been done to stop local salesman from selling fake Gucci x Adidas NMD models that never officially released in the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. While at various points in recent years Skechers have caught flak on social media and other outlets, never has a rival brand taken action against them to get the alleged “knock off” products off the shelves. Skechers, it seems, can proceed untouched.
With Skechers being one of the most profitable sneaker brands world wide, it seems remarkable that a portion of this success is due to similar methods employed by local people in Asia meaning to make the most of western tourism. In such areas it is accepted that fake products are part of the culture; perhaps then the same can be said for the western world and its own retail system.