Ever done anything unethical, immoral or even illegal? If you’ve bought a fake designer wedding dress then it might surprise you to find out that you have done all three.
If you haven’t bought one but have been tempted, then here’s the case against buying fake designer wedding gowns.
We all know that replicating designs is against copyright laws and that fake, replica or counterfeit goods are illegal. In these credit crunch times however there are still some brides who have been so seduced by the promise of a wedding gown supposedly designed by a top bridal designer, for a ridiculous price, that they’ve given in to temptation and parted with their hard earned cash – only to realise, too late, that they have been duped.
It is estimated that the market for counterfeit goods could account for as much as 10% of world trade. Counterfeit trade is not a victimless crime and the buyers of often sub‐standard designer copies are not the only victims. The original dress designer is illegally robbed of copyright protected designs and may have its reputation and profits significantly damaged.
For those who have given in to temptation, their saving is, in many cases, their loss as the cheap dress is often very different to the original in terms of material, workmanship and fit. Brides who buy online are unable to see what they’re buying until they’ve parted with the full price of the dress and if the company is not UK based then they’ll need to pay for shipping costs plus insurance, in case it gets lost on its way overseas. Once they receive their dress, assuming they are not horrified by what turns up in the post, the bride is almost certainly going to need to have it altered to fit at a local dressmaker’s, so the £100 price tag that tempted them will have by now probably doubled. The returns policy on some of these sites is questionable too as only some goods are returnable. The bride will have to foot the bill for any returns or exchanges so if it’s not what they were hoping for then they’ll be out of pocket to the tune of a two‐way round the globe shipping cost ‐ with no dress to speak of at the end of it! So their attempt to save money backfires and ends up costing them more in the long run.
Some websites that sell fakes show photos of the dresses straight from the designer’s website but their copy of the dress can look very different. They offer reassurances that the reason their prices are so low is because they are selling directly from the factory and do not have large overheads to pay like many UK bridal stores. The reality is more likely to be that they are using different materials to the high quality materials and workmanship the designer would use. Without this knowledge, when faced with a £1000 designer dress for just £100 – who wouldn’t feel tempted to ‘save’ £900? It’s important to understand that that saving, however, is someone else’s loss and there are better, and certainly more ethical ways to save money.
One bride, who posted her warning on ebay.co.uk, now admits she was naïve for having bought a fake designer dress online. She said:
“Having looked through a lot of websites, at various wedding dresses, I discovered the same photographs reappearing on numerous sites, with the wording ‘direct from my factory’. Being naïve, I decided to purchase a wedding dress online. The price was £24.99 with postage of £70.00 plus £3.00 postage and packing and the photograph which had attracted me showed a very expensive‐looking designer dress. The dress arrived in a small A3 size padded envelope, with a veil and stole. The veil had a paper edging around it as you would find on a paper doily and the dress did not resemble the photo in any way. The finish on the dress was so amateurish I could have wept, the zip was badly put in and the material was substandard…”
She warns fellow brides‐to‐be:
“Girls, please be warned, be careful about buying from some of these companies, you’ll only get your fingers burnt.”
Pete Meads of Bonny Bridal UK Ltd. has worked in the bridal industry for 25 years and knows what he is talking about when it comes to counterfeit dresses. He has also set up two websites which are dedicated to stopping sales of fake designer gowns (www.bridesaware.co.uk, www.bridestv.co.uk).
“I strongly advise brides not to buy one of the most important items in their life, online. Most auction website sellers and some USA internet sellers will send the dress to the brides declared to Customs & Excise that it is a ‘gift’. This is to avoid the bride paying the Import Duty and VAT, therefore the dress will be entering the country illegally. Customs and Excise officers will have the power to gain entry in to the bride’s home and confiscate the dress. Brides just do not know the risk that they are taking. These fake copy dresses are made from far inferior material compared to genuine designer dresses. I have seen some of the dresses myself and I wouldn’t even wash my car with such poor material. They are just very poorly made dresses with no professionalism in design or manufacture.”
Andy Jackson, Manager of Bridal Industry Suppliers Association, an association of wedding dress manufacturers and suppliers, said: “Buying a brand new gown from a professional bridal retailer is by far the best and safest way to look fabulous on your wedding day. Ask any bridal retailer, or look at online discussion forums and you will find horror stories about the quality and feel of a fake designer wedding dress. This is your big day and the one thing that everyone will remember is the dress. Don’t take the risk of the zip breaking, the seams coming apart, or a split in the back of the skirt or bodice.”
If you want to save money on your wedding dress then there are plenty of other ways to do so. By far the best way to get your hands on an amazing designer dress for less is to buy from a designer’s last season collection as these can be snapped up for a lot less at UK designer sample sales. There are also many designers who offer a ‘diffusion range’ at lower prices and, of course, manufactured dresses can be picked up for very reasonable prices too. Confetti.co.uk features a variety of top designers in their wedding dress search and showcase which also features details of the latest designer dress sales, so there are bargains to be had if you know where to look.
Your wedding dress should be the most special outfit you ever wear and there’s a lot of sense in the old adage that you get what you pay for. Just remember, if something seems too good to be true, that’s because it probably is.