(NEW YORK) — You don’t just find any old fake these days on New York City’s gritty Canal Street. The next-generation counterfeit handbag is popping up.
It’s called the superfake.
“A superfake comes from a factory, either at midnight with it vanished when no one’s looking. It was supposed to be damaged and someone can slip it in their bag and take it home,” Mark Ellwood, author of Bargain Fever, said.
The term “superfake” was coined because essentially this fake is better than you could believe, Ellwood said. Hand a fake handbag to an expert in bags and say, ‘Is this real or not?’ They might not be able to tell.”
In rare cases, experts say some fakes are made with handcrafted leather, genuine handles and hardware. Some may even be produced in the same factories by moonlighting workers.
On Canal Street, one salesman carries a showroom on a smartphone.
“There’s no stores. Everything is in the back,” he told ABC News. “It’s hidden because it’s illegal to sell it.”
A real Chanel bag goes for nearly $5,000. A run-of-the-mill fake might cost $30 or $40, but a superfake can go for around $600.
It may seem like a bargain until you learn where your money is going.
“Certainly we have evidence that it’s gone to fund organized crime, that it’s gone to fund terrorism,” Susan Scafidi, a professor at Fordham University, said. “If you put your name on the label, you are going to be more concerned about your factory standards than if you are putting somebody else’s name on the label and faking it. And that does lead to all kinds of labor abuses, including child labor.”
That’s a lot of bad karma to carry around with your brand-new fake handbag.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Lois M. Collins, Deseret News