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  • Writer's picturePBMIF


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Every now and then I like to take a walk around my city shopping centre for mainly two reasons: a) to avoid lunchtime interaction with my crush at the office; and b) just because. Anyway, that’s beside the point. Today I passed by a mannequin wearing a dress with “Ye Saint Lo” printed on it. I guess this dress was paying homage to Kanye ‘Ye’ West, Yves Saint Laurent, and Saint-Lô (a commune in France)… maybe? This dress can be termed as a knockoff… But what is a knockoff?

Ye Saint Lo? | A dress spotted in a shopping centre in May 2022. perhaps a mash-up of Kanye West (rapper), Yves Saint Laurent (prominent fashion house of course), and Saint-Lô (a commune in France).

Simply put, knockoffs are typically goods intended to resemble well-known and recognisable goods, but have obvious differences whether it be the name, logo, or the design (e.g., think of NIIIIKE instead of NIKE). Now, things can get a little confusing here. A replica can be classed as a knockoff as well – a replica is literally a really good copy of an authentic good – but with very subtle differences. Knockoffs can be confused with counterfeit goods – goods which are designed to be 100% identical to and perceived as an original and authentic product, often misleading consumers. Compared to counterfeit goods, replicas are generally better quality and acknowledge themselves as merely copies. Moreover, knockoffs are usually legal (under strict circumstances) unlike counterfeit goods. Yes, it’s confusing. So, what makes a consumer want to purchase and wear knockoffs and counterfeit fashion? Well, according to Basu et al. (2015), there are many factors that influence consumers’ purchase intentions including brand loyalty, personal gratification, perception, ethics, social motivation, and value – where social motivation and value are the most influential factors. Remarkably, the functional value of goods are not so important (Rahimnia & Arian, 2021).

There are many factors that influence consumers’ purchase intentions including brand loyalty, personal gratification, perception, ethics, social motivation, and value.

Brand loyalty

Brand loyalty is essentially a consumer’s commitment to a brand. If a consumer is loyal to a brand, it is likely that they will repeat purchases from that brand. But why do we wear the brands we do? Well, consumers want to be associated with a brand because they appreciate its personality – the values and lifestyle that it uniquely conveys. Believe it or not, brands have their own personality characteristics just like humans. There are five types of brand personality: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication, and ruggedness. Can you think of brands that fit under any of these? Furthermore, many consumers buy brands because of their implied ‘genuine quality’ (Basu et al., 2015).

Personal gratification

Personal gratification is the need for a sense of accomplishment, recognition, and the desire to enjoy the best and greatest things in life. It would make sense that a consumer with a high level of personal gratification would be more conscious of their fashion choices because they are inclined to wear genuine goods. These consumers are likely to have negative attitudes towards knockoffs and counterfeits.


Ethics are principles and involves the action of questioning, discovering and defending what is moral – this involves our values, principles and purpose. It can help us separate what is right from what is wrong. If a consumer makes an ethical judgement that counterfeit goods are bad, they would be unlikely to purchase counterfeit goods.

Social motivation

Fashion plays a big role in how we’re perceived and want to be perceived by others. Consumers’ preferences for luxury brands are based on the satisfaction of at least one social goal (Zhang et al., 2019). We can use fashion to express our unique selves to others, but we also dress to fit into the society we live in. Consumers wear brands because brands are perceptible, admirable, and can possibly indicate the wearer’s social status. According to Wang (2021), because luxury fashion is associated with a high price tag and can somewhat be rare, it can be implied that its wearer is maybe of a high status, wealthy, and/or successful. Of course, this may not always be the case. Some consumers wear counterfeit fashion simply for pleasure and assume that other people don’t take notice (Purwanto et al., 2019).


Value refers to the degree of financial or pleasurable service a good can offer a consumer. Why bother to pay a large amount for an item you really like when you could buy a similar one of good quality as well, but for a better price? If a consumer already purchases knockoffs and counterfeit luxury goods, because of the economic and hedonic benefits involved, it is likely that they will purchase more in the future (Yoo & Lee, 2009).


What is more, our personalities can have a large influence towards how we feel about buying counterfeit goods. Babamiri et al. (2020) investigated the relationship between the Big Five personality characteristics (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism), and attitudes towards the purchasing of counterfeit goods. The researchers found that extraversion and agreeableness were associated with a positive attitude towards purchasing counterfeit goods. Extraversion is a trait associated with standing out in a crowd, thriving in social situations, outgoingness, and being the centre of attention. Whereas agreeableness is associated with prosocial behaviours such as helping others, being truthful, empathic, and cooperating. Openness on the other hand, was instead associated with a negative attitude towards purchasing counterfeit goods. Openness is associated with curiosity, an eagerness to learn and explore new experiences, independence, and creativity. Make of that what you will.

Are there consequences?

Research has shown the consequences of wearing counterfeit fashion. Pretending to be luxury owners to maintain social identities can lead to anxiety and risks (Wang et al., 2019). For instance, Gino et al. (2010) found that when a consumer believes that a product they are wearing is not genuine, it can make the consumer feel inauthentic, and increases their likelihood to behave dishonestly! Not only that, those wearing counterfeits saw other people as dishonest! Imagine that.


Babamiri, M., Heidari Moghadam, R., Saeidnia, H., & Zemestani, M. (2020). Relationship between personality characteristics and attitude toward purchase of counterfeit goods in the Iranian population. Cogent Psychology, 7(1). Basu, M., Basu, S. & Lee, J. (2015). Factors Influencing Consumer's Intention to Buy Counterfeit Products. Global Journal of Management and Business Research, 15(6), 23-35. Gino, F., Norton, M. I., & Ariely, D. (2010). The Counterfeit Self: The Deceptive Costs of Faking It. Psychological Science, 21(5), 712-720. Purwanto, P., Margiati, L., Kuswandi, K., & Prasetyo, B. (2019). Consumer motives for purchasing counterfeit luxury products: behind the status signalling behaviour using brand prominence. Business: Theory and Practice, 20, 208-215. Rahimnia, F. & Arian, N. H. (2021). Luxury consumption and the moderating role of attitude toward counterfeits: The case of an emerging market. Journal of General Management, 47(1), 41-55. Wang, Y., Stoner, J. L., & John, D. R. (2019). Counterfeit Luxury Consumption in a Social Context: The Effects on Females’ Moral Disengagement and Behavior. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 29(2), 207-225. Wang, Y. (2021). A conceptual framework of contemporary luxury consumption. International Journal of Research in Marketing. Yoo, B. & Lee. S. (2009). Buy Genuine Luxury Fashion Products Or Counterfeits? Advances in Consumer Research, 36(7), 280-286. Zhang, W., Jin, J., Wang, A., Ma, Q., & Yu, H. (2019). Consumers' Implicit Motivation Of Purchasing Luxury Brands: An EEG Study. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 12, 913-929.


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