The danger of fakes in luxury clothing

In Turkey, the imitation market cannot be avoided in areas such as luxury shoes, bags and clothing. While imitation manufacturers raise the bar to a higher level day by day, they carry out their business with such comfort that they say, ‘Our products are even sold in the showcase of X luxury brands’. According to the news of Özge Yavuz from the World, the number of sellers opening stands and shops in luxury districts, 5-star hotels, neighborhood markets, especially in the Historic Peninsula region, is constantly increasing. Interestingly, these products are not that cheap either… Bags worth 40-50 thousand TL find buyers for 5-6 thousand TL, shoes worth 15-20 thousand TL find buyers for 3-4 thousand TL. Among the buyers are especially Arab tourists. While Turkey is known as the paradise of imitation abroad, foreign brands hesitate to open stores in Turkey. There is talk that they say, ‘There is no mechanism to defend our rights in Turkey’.

I would like to tell you about an incident that happened to a store selling luxury brands recently. The subject shows how high the quality of counterfeit products has reached in Turkey. A scammer buys shoes of a world-famous brand from this luxury store. Then he wants to return the product under an excuse, but replaces the original product with a fake. Store employees take back the fake product unknowingly, and that product goes on sale again. In the second round of circulation, if the new consumer does not realize that the product is fake, he is deceived.


There are two relevant results. Of course, these events are heard by foreign brands abroad and there is a distrust of this situation in Turkey. The second issue is the problem of finding qualified personnel to work in luxury consumption. We talked to Selçuk Güzenge, who was the chairman of the Registered Trademarks Association for many years and attached great importance to the fight against counterfeiting during his presidency, and is still the Honorary President of the Registered Trademarks Association. Guzenge is of the opinion that a platform should be established in Turkey or a lobbying effort should be started as soon as possible to combat imitation. Guzenge explains: “This is an event that defames our nation. It’s over the top now. The fake thing has grown so much that I’m surprised. Unfortunately, there are those who give 5 thousand TL for a 60-70 thousand TL bag. I am in constant contact with luxury brands. They feel that the control mechanism against counterfeit products in Turkey is lost. We have to speed up the efforts to combat counterfeiting. Neither the judiciary can make a decision, nor a raid, everyone is in trouble. The trust of foreign brands is also decreasing. They say, ‘Tomorrow the day after tomorrow, it may be dangerous for us, besides, there are few employees to work in luxury brands’. Güzenge says that they opened a retail and merchandising department at a state university for a while, but the department was closed over the years. Emphasizing the need for such an initiative again, Güzenge said, “Some sales consultants are given so little training on luxury products that they cannot distinguish between a fake product and an original product. There is a need for expertise. Imitators now even make the original codes of the products exactly. This situation put the lawyers in a difficult situation. Foreign groups can’t trust lawyers too much,” he says. While even the seller cannot distinguish whether the product is real or fake, how will the consumer who thinks he/she buys the original product make this distinction? Guzenge emphasizes that all responsibility in this regard is on the HR side of the business.


Mehmet Güzenge, the founder of the consultancy office, says that the number of qualified personnel to work in the field of luxury consumption is low. Güzenge said, “When the luxury consumer enters the store, the standards in the store environment must be met by the manager. Training managers and mentors in luxury consumption will solve some problems. Currently, the circulation of employees in the sector is quite high. There isn’t even an online tutorial on selling luxury. There should be online trainings and they should be combined with field trainings,” he says. Emphasizing that foreign brands’ fear of encountering counterfeit products is at the forefront rather than the staffing problem in Turkey, Güzenge said, “In summary, there is a shortage of education and management in the industry. Training on how to distinguish counterfeit products should be done. I think these works should be outsourced.”

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