I was catching up on my Facebook tonight and noticed an interesting link posted by one of my Friends Selina. It was to an article in Scientific American entitled "Faking It: Why Wearing Designer Knockoffs May Have Hidden Psychological Costs".
I have yet to post about my aversion to fake designer merchandise here, but I have tweeted it on occasion. That's why I was intrigued to find scientific evidence backing up my belief in the inherent dishonesty of wearing inauthentic clothing and accessories.Those who buy fakes seem oblivious to any conflict: "It looks just like the real thing" they'll say. But the wearer knows it's not real and presenting the purse, garment, or other item as though it is authentic is untrue. Besides that, it represents a false sense of style, one that says only outward appearances matter, that what others think is more important than how you feel.
Besides being illegal, counterfeit items are made with inferior materials and their manufacture definitely doesn't support fair trade principles. Three scientists in the States have found that wearing them also compromises the owner's integrity. They gave a sample of women authentic Chloe sunglasses to wear, telling half of them that the pairs were fake. Then they asked the women to perform tasks that gave opportunities for lying and cheating. Guess what? Of the wearers of the "fake" glasses, 70% cheated, while only 30% who knew they were wearing authentic Chloes did.
The psychologists decided to go a step further. Could wearing fakes also affect the way we view others? The participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about "people they knew" and whether those people would do things like take too many items through the express lane at the grocery store or steal supplies from the office. Again, the fake wearers proved to be far more cynical (expect the worst from others) than those who knew they had on the real thing.
The conclusion of the findings? "Wearing counterfeit glasses not only fails to bolster our ego and self-image the way we hope, it actually undermines our internal sense of authenticity." Not only does it make the wearer feel like a cheater and act accordingly, she also assumes those character flaws in the people around her.
Do these findings change your attitude about knockoffs? If you've worn them in the past will you stop? Will you continue wearing them? Or, like me, does it simply confirm what you've suspected all along?