[From the Scene] South Korea’s counterfeit market is very much alive
Yellow tents are clustered alongside one another at Dongdaemun Saebit Industry on Wednesday night time. (The Korea Herald/Asia Information Network)


SEOUL — Dongdaemun Current market is the middle of the Korean clothing and fashion market. In the vicinity of the sector is an additional “secret” spot for shoppers who want luxury manner merchandise but are unable to manage them. This area is known as Dongdaemun Saebit Marketplace, the nation’s biggest fake designer products sector.

In the vicinity of Dongdaemun Structure Plaza Station Exits 2 and 3, about 80 modest yellow tents are clustered alongside one another, advertising counterfeit luxury style items that glance rather much like substantial-priced brands this sort of as Moncler, Thom Browne, Cartier and Rolex. The goods on give contain nearly each style of trend item, from bags and apparel to jogging shoes and watches.

Despite deepening fears above the quickly spreading omicron variant and sub-zero temperatures, the fake designer market was crowded with eager consumers. Although the place only operates at night time from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., a lot more and more men and women flocked to the venue as time passed later on into the night.

Replicas of Moncler outerwears are displayed at Dongdaemun Saebit Market
Replicas of Moncler outerwears are exhibited at Dongdaemun Saebit Market place. (The Korea Herald/Asia Information Community)

“This is Moncler’s recently released long down jacket. (The real item) is priced at some 2.8 million gained ($2,330) but I’ll give it to you for 220,000 won. No much more discounts! I was providing it at 280,000 received past 7 days,” a vendor who looked about 40 stated when The Korea Herald reporter glanced at the item.

While there are quite a few “grades” of counterfeit merchandise, ranging from the definitely bogus to the nearly identical, a different seller attracted customers by marketing her products and solutions as “Ultra A” quality — tremendous substantial-excellent bogus merchandise. The prices had been much less than 10 per cent of the legitimate merchandise. Her shoppers seemed largely in their 20s to 40s.

“I have brought some very good nearby things. Substantial top quality products are created in Korea, but the the vast majority of dresses are imported from overseas, like China … Considering that it requires so extensive to deliver in (apparel) wholesale, specifically throughout the pandemic, I would like I could carry more regional products and solutions. But factories are out there to stay clear of crackdowns. I cannot support it,” the seller whispered to the reporter.

Shoppers at Dongdaemun Saebit Market look at counterfeit luxury items on Wednesday night
Customers at Dongdaemun Saebit Marketplace search at counterfeit luxurious items on Wednesday evening. (The Korea Herald/Asia News Community)

In the meantime, some sellers warned customers that “photos and recordings are not authorized.” Considering that it is illegal to promote and import phony products, they compensated keen attention to visitors’ smartphones. Shoppers and consumers only dealt items in dollars and financial institution account transfers. Offered objects had been handed around in black plastic bags. Sellers’ vans have been parked ideal upcoming to their yellow tents, evidently prepared to flee in situation police appear for random inspections, which can take place at any time.

Two woman purchasers in their early 30s ended up on their way property, their hands entire of black procuring baggage. Though it was their 3rd stop by to the industry, they had expended about 800,000 received that working day for a small puffer jacket, two mini crossbody bags and a pair of athletics sneakers. They appeared pretty contented with their purchases, stating, “Although we spent funds, we sense like we’ve saved a good deal.”

A shopper looks at a fake Prada shoulder bag at Dongdaemun Saebit Market on Wednesday night
A shopper seems at a bogus Prada shoulder bag at Dongdaemun Saebit Current market on Wednesday night time. (The Korea Herald/Asia Information Network)

All those who violate the country’s trademark regulation can be despatched to jail for up to seven years or pay back up to 100 million received in fines. Nearby authorities are clamping down on this sort of circumstances, but an growing range of illegal dealings are having spot these days. In some European countries, counterfeit product customers can also be punished with up to 3 years in prison or up to 300,000 euros ($336,800) in fines. However, in Korea there is no legislation to penalize all those who acquire counterfeit products.

According to the info compiled by the Korea Customs Services, about 467.9 billion gained worthy of of counterfeit bags, or 1,866 conditions, were being seized from January 2017 to August final year. Louis Vuitton was the most regular sufferer of counterfeiting, followed by Chanel, Gucci and Hermes. The nearby style industry also predicts that the number of knockoffs has enhanced through the pandemic, considering that men and women selected to secretly invest in and sell the copies by social media platforms.

Industry experts be aware that Koreans are obsessed with fake designer items. The country’s collectivism and people’s conspicuous intake tendencies raise their unwholesome wish, in accordance to Kwak Geum-joo, a professor of psychology at Seoul Countrywide College.

Counterfeit watches that resemble high-priced brands are displayed at Dongdaemun Saebit Market
Counterfeit watches that resemble superior-priced makes are displayed at Dongdaemun Saebit Sector. (The Korea Herald/Asia Information Network)

“Korean society is quite delicate to developments and folks treatment a whole lot about others. To really feel a perception of belonging, men and women pick to observe some others to be associated in a group. Also, to attain superiority above some others, they have a tendency to dress in expensive items to present off,” the qualified explained to The Korea Herald.

“But given that they expense as well much, some select to obtain pretend things. They could even feel a feeling of joy in deceiving other individuals. Their tendency, on the other hand, is unlikely to modify considering the fact that buying counterfeit things is also a intake pattern.”

Buyer research professor Lee Eun-hee of Inha College attributed the fake item consumers’ getting behavior to a sturdy feeling of rivalry. Lee made use of the expression “Turning eco-friendly with envy” as an case in point. At the same time, the pro highlighted the relevance of increasing recognition of intellectual residence rights.

“Not only offering but purchasing counterfeit products is stealing. The country’s law need to be strengthened to stop this kind of illegal steps, but related authorities have to actively notify the general public that it is wrong. Buyer instruction can acquire position by different strategies as perfectly.”

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