It's surprisingly common for designers to steal from one another -- especially when it comes to big retailers ripping off smaller, independent labels. But some Chinese hackers are taking this kind of theft to an entirely new level, by hacking into the computers of Western companies.
By stealing fashion concepts, they can make cheap knock-offs before the originals even hit the streets.
Chinese counterfeiters have long been selling what appeared to be designer clothing and accessories for ridiculously low prices, but before they actually had to travel to the West and photograph the items they intended to copy. Not only does this innovation make the process cheaper, it's more accurate.
While both companies and police are working to stop the hackers, some feel it's practically justified because of the absurdly high prices some high-end Italian and French designers charge for their clothing. The Washington Times quotes Miss Pisa, a European fashion observer, as saying: "Of course Italy needs to take steps to neutralize the hackers. But some of the companies have encouraged copying by charging as much 1,500 euros [$1,800] for a simple bag or a scarf. What is happening is not quite poetic justice but almost."
So, is this is a real problem, or should we rejoice in getting cheaper, better-copied fakes?
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