Designer ‘names and shames’ counterfeit buyers

German fashion designer Philipp Plein has started to call out people who post images of themselves in counterfeits of his clothing via Instagram in an unusual spin on brand protection.

Plein is using his own Instagram account – which has 1.5m followers – to name and shame individuals wearing knockoffs and online outlets offering them for sale, often with colourful language that in some cases included personal slights, reports

“Trying to look fre$h wearing cheap fake,” goes one post identifying someone supposedly wearing a counterfeit, while another aimed at what seems to be a seller says: “Selling fake FUCK OFF”. The TFL article also refers to a post in which Plein allegedly wrote “When you are too fat to fit in the fake cloth you bought”, once again tagging the Instagram user, but that seems to have since been deleted.

The lead post in a category on Plein’s account tagged as “Fake clown” suggests that the company has seized more than a million counterfeits in the last 12 months, and says “everybody who buys, produces or sells fakes will be targeted.”

Plein’s website – which sells shoes for upwards of £350 and jackets from around £500 to $1,250 – has this to say about the company’s counterfeit problem:

“Counterfeit sellers are present all over the web and unfortunately dominate the search results of major search engines. Many people end up giving their credit card information over to such sites, without realizing to be victims of a scam,” it says, providing a handy search engine to check if a site is an authorised Plein store or reseller.

“As a general rule, consumers must always be vigilant in searching a web site before placing an order online, as a way to safeguard and protect themselves and the brand of interest.”

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