They said/We said: Prada’s CEO (aka. Miuccia’s husband) thinks counterfeit goods are not all that bad
After hearing all about the counterfeit lawsuit drama that has been going on lately, it’s almost a shock to the system to have someone say anything positive about the illegal industry. Most shocking of all is that the controversial comments are coming from Patrizio Bertelli, Prada’s CEO and Miuccia Prada’s husband.
Bertelli recently concluded a Bloomberg Television interview by saying the counterfeit industry really isn’t all that bad — in fact, it actually has some positive attributes.
“I always say counterfeits, we’re happier to have them than not have them. Don’t you think it’s sad for a brand that no one wants to copy them?” he said on air.
“Something else about counterfeits is that they provide a source of labor and income for lots of other people. So, maybe they’re not totally bad. So, in other words, we have a dual function. We want to penetrate the markets, we want to become successful and sell a lot in new markets. And we end up creating a lot of jobs and counterfeit factories, so that’s very good.”
Gucci, another famed Italian fashion house, evidently does not prescribe to Bertelli’s views that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, especially after their less-than-anticipated settlement with Guess over a counterfeit lawsuit battle (which we reported on earlier this week).
Bertelli did point out that Prada engages in lawsuits to protect their products, but that the fashion industry “doesn’t lend itself very well to patent protection” like high-tech industries do.
A spokesman for the fashion house seemed to try to do some damage control by telling WWD that Bertelli’s quotes were “part of an extended conversation that underscored how the market of counterfeits is an objective reality for successful brands.”
True enough — counterfeit products seem to be an inevitable reality of having “made it” in the fashion industry. But do Bertelli’s views oversimplify an industry that has its fair share of evils, not to mention the fact that it’s downright illegal?
Hayley Phelan: “Say what? It almost sounds like Bertelli admires counterfeiters.” [Fashionista]
The Icon Concierge: “…Copying is the sincerest form of flattery! If you don’t want people to copy you don’t make great things” [Twitter]
Bernadette Morra, Editor-in-Chief: “Patrizio Bertelli needs to read Dana Thomas’ book Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. Then he needs to visit a factory where children under 10 are sewing counterfeit bags, and speak to the victims of terrorism, human trafficking and gang warfare that counterfeiting supports. Then I hope he would feel differently. But maybe not.”
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