The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Ask BB: Designer-Inspired Handbags Versus Knockoffs

What's the difference between a knockoff and a piece that is inspired by a designer? —Lesley

Top: An authentic "Covered Giant Day" bag by Balenciaga. Bottom: Inspired-by bag at Mimi Boutique.

Here's the short answer: As I understand it, handbags called inspired by or similars are legal.

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!

I photographed these knockoff Coach and Prada bags on the streets of New York City. They're everywhere.

Handbags called replicas or copies suggest counterfeiting and are illegal.

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.

Additional Resources:

Check out this site run by Hearst Magazine's. It explains some shocking numbers and facts about knock-offs. :-)

PS-I hope if anyone out there does buy fakes, they will read this and stop. January 2009's Harper's Bazaar had an article about a group of people using children to make these handbags and the kids wanted to go outside and play, so the people running the factory BROKE the kids legs so they couldn't go outside.
#1 Nicole Michelle on 2009-03-24 13:08 (Reply)
Okay, I forgot to put the link. Sorry about that. Here you go!
#2 Nicole Michelle on 2009-03-24 13:09 (Reply)
Wow, those "numbers you should know" are staggering. Thanks for sharing this link.
#2.1 The Budget Babe on 2009-03-26 15:43 (Reply)
Huh. I was using these terms interchangeably ... glad to know the difference!
#3 Sal (Homepage) on 2009-03-24 13:48 (Reply)
i totally agree!
#4 anh (Homepage) on 2009-03-24 14:58 (Reply)
haha thank you so much for the answer!!! :-)
#5 Lesley on 2009-03-24 15:02 (Reply)
$100 fake coach purses are soo not worth it ... i just bought a coach purse for around $150 (marked down from round 400) at a coach outlet.
#6 Belle on 2009-03-24 19:17 (Reply)
I don't do fakes. It sounds corny, but I can't walk around with a bag I know is a fake. It's just weird to me. I'd rather save up for the real thing, or find a nice, relatively inexpensive bag at Macy's or something.
#7 Joann on 2009-03-24 20:05 (Reply)
There is a website I go to called where I get all of my 'inspired by' handbags. I can't afford the name brands, but I like to look like I can.
#8 Judy (Homepage) on 2009-03-25 00:35 (Reply)
I totally agree. I shop at all the time. They have a great selection of handbags and the quality is also very good. I can buy 8-10 bags for the price of 1 coach.
#8.1 Alex Marie (Homepage) on 2009-12-21 17:37 (Reply)
I agree that buying "fake bag" is not good, unethical, and contributes to very bad working conditions. But seriously, when you buy anything that is very inexpensive or mass-produced from a very poor country, do you think the working conditions are fair? If you are seriously concerned about working conditions/quality of products, then you need to research the companies/countries you are buying from.
#9 Sara on 2009-03-25 17:02 (Reply)
There are some brand name handbag designer that use the same manufacturer that make the 'fake' handbags. Take a trip over to China and you'll see. But to each his own - everyone has their preferences.
#10 Judy (Homepage) on 2009-03-25 17:39 (Reply)
I'm not a big fan of knock-offs, but I've been to a few "purse parties" where my Mom has bought one or two for me. Acutally, I like some of the Designer Inspired purses better! After reading a few articles (including these) I'll never buy knock-offs again. I feel so guilty that I don't even use the two that I have...I just don't know how/where to get rid of them.
#11 Jen on 2009-03-26 09:15 (Reply)
I used to buy fake Chanel, Coach, and Burberry bags until I read the article from Harper's Bazaar. Now I realize it's only contributing to the illegal and unethical treatment of people-children in particular. Jen, I just threw my bags away. I felt too guilty to even look at them much less carry them. But, you could always take them to the Goodwill.
#12 Nicole Michelle on 2009-03-26 15:17 (Reply)
The sad thing is that the companies that are "legit" and the companies that are "fake" may sadly have the same, or only mildly different working conditions. However, boycotting a brand isn't the solution b/c then you'll just work to put these people out of jobs, that while hard, are better than worse situations that may threaten them. So what are people to do?
#13 MizzJ (Homepage) on 2009-03-30 02:48 (Reply)
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