Sneakers
From the ground up

Sneaker culture has been plagued with counterfeits since its introduction, and with particular styles such as the adidas Yeezy line that is heavily sought after produced in low quantities, it comes as no surprise that knockoff variants are dominating the black market — where they are re-created expertly in China, marketed on social media, and sold over reputable e-commerce sites that is delivered discreetly by international couriers.

The LA Times recently interviewed a 22-year-old Riverside resident named Kevin and explained how he decided to purchase the “Pirate Black” Yeezy Boost 350 that initially released in 2015, in addition to speaking with other figures that contribute to the sneaker black market, as well as those who are oppose to it.

Here’s a few takeaways that we learned from the conversation.

…to satisfy Kevin’s Yeezy fix and deciding not to pay resell prices (upward of $1,500 USD)

Kevin, “If I could readily buy a pair of Yeezys at the store right now I wouldn’t buy fake ones. Why pay over $1,000 for Yeezys when you can get a pair that looks the same for $120?”

…on the forum called Repsneakers that sells fake kicks.

Repsneakers subscriber named Spencelord, “The sneaker world in its current state is being controlled by people who [use] bots. These people aren’t buying to wear, they’re buying to make profit, which then drives the price up for people who genuinely want to buy to wear. I appreciate people are making a living from doing this, but I don’t want to support it.”

…on moles that obtain samples of new styles directly from adidas’ two factories in China.

Singaporean national and replica seller Chan, “There are unofficial working relationships between these two factories and counterfeiters, I have heard a factory boss brag that he has a team of workers … on his payroll to leak information or parts whenever they can.”

…on intermittent crackdowns in Putian, China.

Singaporean national and replica seller Chan, “When there’s a crackdown, the whole industry will stop for a couple days or just stay low key,” Chan said. “After a while, business resumes as normal.”

…on contraband shipped in small, inconspicuous packages.

Bob Barchiesi, President of the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition, “Counterfeiters are following the same patterns as consumers who are shopping online and displacing brick and mortar. The Internet is a very big challenge, to say the least. The ease of purchasing something that’s shipped directly to your house is a significant problem for rights holders and customs. It’s a dramatic shift that’s very difficult to stop.”

Additionally, sneaker experts suggest that there is little incentive for adidas to crack down on fake Yeezys since it has little impact on sales, as legitimate Yeezys sell out almost instantly regardless, and the replicas are helping drive the popularity even more.

For more, read the in-depth coverage directly at the LA Times.

Also, in case you missed it, the adidas YEEZY Boost 350 V2 “Beluga 2.0” rumors yet another release date.

Now, is counterfeiting actually good for Fashion? Read here and find out.

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