Most of the women on the RepLadies forum buy imitation bags while being able to buy authentic bags: it’s a matter of pride and practicality. If they spent their fortune on original bags, they wouldn’t have that fortune.
They are primarily American women and half visit the forum daily. Most of them are white (50%), followed by Asians (36%). They are typically over 35 years old and have an annual income of between $100,000 and $200,000. Many of them own authentic bags, but they love imitations just as much and are not ashamed to own them. On the contrary, they feel a pang of pride knowing that they have bought at a bargain price an item that is barely distinguishable from an original that costs several thousand dollars. His favorite brands are Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermès.
These are the data produced by an internal survey carried out by the administrator of the Reddit RepLadies subforum , a digital space with more than 200,000 users created in 2016 that is, today, the largest forum for lovers of counterfeits that can be found in Internet. Within the forum, women compare good imitations with authentic products, review their recent purchases, post links to interesting products they have found while browsing the Internet, give each other purchase advice so as not to fall for scams, or even help each other to being able to communicate with Chinese sellers who don’t speak English.
Reviews are the most particular subgenre within this forum, since they have acquired their own language and are written following meticulous publication standards: they include information about the seller (name, telephone number or contact method and place where find), available payment method and timeline of the order (from when one of the buyers contacts the seller until they receive their purchase). The review also includes photos of the imitation bag and the original. And, finally, a brief analysis on the quality of the bag, the precision in the imitation and the satisfaction with the purchase. RepLadies is so popular that some sellers give them a discount: « I introduced myself, I mentioned RepLadiesand I received a 10% discount”, commented a user in a review about a fake Chanel. RepLadies also have their own glossary and acronym guide, where AE stands for AliExpress, ISO stands for In Search Of or MIF stands for Made In France, and of course Rep stands for Replica.
However, the women of the replicas not only use the forum in a practical way, but also share anecdotes and confessions. “What would you always (and never) buy authentic?” one user asked in a thread : “ I prefer authentic Celine bags because I think the quality of the leather is super luxurious compared to the imitations and I like to give myself a treat. whim from time to time, “explained the user. Celine’s cheapest bag costs around €2,000 while the most expensive, a crocodile skin bag with a gold chain, costs €18,000. «But cI think I will buy more imitation shoes in the future, since I have been very impressed with the ones I bought recently”, continues the same user, “I tend to wear out shoes very quickly, it is not worth spending money on authentic ones”. Another user responds that she would never buy imitations of “makeup, cosmetics or electronic products.” Many users agree on the topic of shoes: “I can’t keep my shoes in pristine condition, I’m not going to spend $700 on shoes.”
Perhaps the most intimate part of this subforum is found in RL Confessional, the space where the women of the replicas tell their life journey and the experiences that led them to the forum. Interestingly, the deeper reveals are also subject to the forum’s meticulous posting rules, so numerous user demographics are also found in each confessional post. A 25-year-old New York tech worker with an annual salary of $135,000 confesses that for her, handbags are like personal achievements: “I recognize that handbags are symbols of status and wealth, and nothing of these are healthy goals to pursue. But I would like to think that my bags are more than that: they represent a deeply personal journey that marks events in my own life. The user, who bought an authentic Yves Saint Laurent bag to celebrate a recent pay raise, now has a collection that combines real bags with imitation ones and recognizes that since she has been wearing those branded bags, people around her treat her a lot better. “I buy fake bags before dinner because they fill me up more,” confesses a 44-year-old woman from Illinois who earns $70,000 a year, in a household where they put together a total salary of $250,000. The woman accumulates more than a hundred imitation bags, she also has some authentic pieces. She admits spending more than $15,000 on fake bags. “I collect bags and husbands”,says an unemployed 30-year-old woman whose husband earns about $300,000 a year. She spends about $6,000 a year on fakes and has more than 20 at home. She doesn’t need to have real bags, she just loves to spend money on fakes of hers that she’s been able to buy thanks to a successful divorce. A woman in her 30s from New York, an engineer, who earns $200,000 a year is presented as “well dressed and depressed.” She says that, since she was little, she never paid much attention to original products: “I think my first replicas were pirate versions of Digimon.” She now has more than 47 bags, she neither knows nor wants to know which of them are true or false.
Most of the women on the RepLadies forum buy imitation bags even though they can buy authentic bags. There are very few confessions of women who cannot afford original bags. They simply like their imitations and most of them consider the price that an original bag can cost to be excessive. In a recent article published in the American outlet The Cut , they chatted with some of these women about their motivation for buying imitation bags. The responses could be divided into different types: arousal (“It is about the atavistic emotion of hunting: the feeling of getting a bargain”, commented a former real estate agent who had managed to retire at the age of 30, “I don’t just want one thing, I want to feel like I got it on sale”). economics (“The friends I have who spend a fortune on authentic handbags either haven’t worked in their entire lives or are married to rich men, but if you work hard for your own money you don’t want to waste it on nonsense,” confesses another) , even practicality (“Imagine if we spent all our money on authentic bags, we couldn’t be rich in the same way, right?”, says a third).
RepLadies is one of those Internet rarities that you can’t stop looking at: a forum for privileged women who, deep down, are flouting the strict norms of their own social class and doing so with a certain pride. A place where, through shopping, women create a secure network where they intimate, confess and support each other. A space from which to clearly observe that everyone lies for appearances, although not everyone does it for the same reasons.
Post time: Jun-03-2019