Outfit Post: Oooh, Prado!

(If you can guess the movie this post title came from, you win...nada. Sorry. But I'll still think you're  amazing. And that counts for something, right?)

I am a born a raised New York City girl. I took my first subway ride as a toddler, know the best place to get a kosher sour garlic pickle, learned to drive on the Grand Central Expressway (also known as the North American Autobahn) and can hale a cab like no one's business. As a result, I have planned many a NYC getaway for friends. There are certain activities that are simply non-negotiable, such as eating a bagel with lox and a schmear, walking through Central Park, visiting Ground Zero and seeing the latest exhibits at the MOMA and Met. However, another activity often falls high on the list: Taking in the knock-off's on Canal Street.

The whole Canal Street experience is slightly surreal and completely sinister. Imagine an overcrowded city neighborhood, bustling almost to suffocation with pedestrians, businessmen, tourists and schoolchildren. Approximately 96% of these people are Chinese. The air is perfumed with the scent of urine, moo shu pork, and body odor. Streets are crammed with teeny tiny little shops covered with iron gates, seemingly out of business. Then, suddenly, a signal is given, and the gates swing open to reveal enormous displays of fake bags, knock-off jeans, rows of watches, and logo-ed scarves. It's an orgy of Gucci, Chanel, and Burberry. Oh my!

Personally, I've found trips to Canal Street a kind of depressing experience. It's hard not to feel sad for those fake bags, pretending to be something they're not. And, even worse, there's the fear that some are authentic, and might have "fallen" off the back of a truck. The last thing anyone needs is a midnight visit from the Chinese mafia. And yet, I kind of get the allure of a Canal Street trip. It's the possibility of what you might see. Maybe you'll spy a mirror knockoff of the Louis Vuitton Neverfull you've been lusting for since 2006. Perhaps a shiny "Rolex" watch will beckon. Maybe a scrawny Chinese fellow will lead you to a secret-y secret underground shop filled with enough Marc Jacobs to induce swooning.You never know.

Though I don't carry knockoffs, I always thought a fake Vuitton or Chanel bag was an easy way to stick it to those yachting, champagne-swilling LVMH moneymen (aside from being totally and completely illegal. Which they are.) However, Scientific American's study regarding faux bags makes me reconsider. Researchers at UNC Chapel Hill, Harvard Business School, and Duke conducted a series of experiments that showed that people who wear (or believe they are wearing) counterfeit goods are also significantly more likely to cheat and lie.

In one study, a large sample of women were given ChloƩ sunglasses. The glasses were real, but half the women were told they were fake. Researchers asked them to take a math quiz and grade themselves on the honor principle. The results?
The women who thought they were wearing the fake ChloƩ shades cheated more - considerably more. Fully 70 percent inflated their performance when they thought nobody was checking on them-and, in effect, stole cash from the coffer.
The scientists concluded that "faking it makes us feel like phonies and cheaters on the inside, and this alienated, counterfeit 'self' leads to cheating and cynicism in the real world." What I would take from this study is this - if you give women doing studies trash, they will act like trash. Ouch. Then again, maybe it's that they were forced to take a test wearing sunglasses and couldn't see what they were doing.

So here I am, with my completely authentic, ridiculously overpriced (and thankfully gifted) Louis Vuitton Speedy. And I don't have to worry about being a victim of the Chinese mafia, or my conscience.

How do you feel about knock-off merchandise? Be honest - would you ever carry a fake bag?

Loft cardigan; J Crew Outlet silk blouse; thrifted Seven For All Mankind jeans; Stuart Weitzman ballet flats; Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 bag


  1. Cute cardigan. And I had no idea that just carrying something fake could have such an impact on someone.


  2. I am totally and 100% opposed to fakes. I want a Chanel 2.55 bad enough that I occasionally Google fakes. But I could never buy one. Not even a really good leather one. Because even if every one else believed it was the real thing, I'd know it was a fake.

    I don't mind a bag that LOOKS like the original but doesn't claim to be, like what they do at Lush Fashions. I'm sure even that is a grey area.

  3. Yay Sara - nice job! I love that movie.


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