A Celebration of Desire: How Knockoff Handbags Signify Status, Mariza Scotch

As consumption becomes a pivotal topic in the context of growing environmental concerns, this
study examines the roles of “status,” “branding,” and “quality” and their effects on evolving consumer preferences. By asking the question, “Why do consumers purchase knockoff handbags?” it’s possible to confront the complex systems of power and influence that fuel the luxury accessories industry and shape social behavior. Beginning with a review of conceptual criticism relating to fashion, and then by establishing a framework for understanding the trajectory and impacts of the knockoff handbag market, this exploration addresses the idea of the knockoff from a variety of perspectives: brand, legal, enforcement, consumer, and aesthetic. Based on a qualitative synthesis of in-depth interviews with experts, three design workshops served as a test of consumers’ ability to distinguish between authentic and knockoff handbags in a controlled setting. In researching the feedback loop of customer desire and corporate fashion marketing, this study proposes further appraisal of their inherent duopoly — and the forces which might transform it.

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