Here's the short answer: As I understand it, handbags called inspired by or similars are legal.
Top: An authentic "Covered Giant Day" bag by Balenciaga. Bottom: Inspired-by bag at Mimi Boutique.
They're fun, inexpensive handbags that have similar design elements as their designer counterparts, but no one's going to confuse your inspired-by bag for the real thing (and if you think they will, you're just fooling yourself.)
Personally, I think designer-inspired bags are thrifty and fab-u-lous!
Handbags called replicas or copies suggest counterfeiting and are illegal.
I photographed these knockoff Coach and Prada bags on the streets of New York City. They're everywhere.
The people who sell these bags are trying to pass them off as the "real deal." Knockoffs, replicas or fakes will have fake name brand tags, logos, labels, etc. Inspired handbags will NOT.
Personally, I don't see the point of buying a fake. There is way too much credible information linking the sale of fake designer handbags with terrorist organizations, child labor, etc. Not to mention, a $100 fake Coach purse ain't a great deal. They're also considered tacky by many, and are often poorly constructed.
- Handbag guides on Ebay
- Counterfeit Chic for a lawyer's perspective
- My Poupette on how to identify a fake bag