Fashion Faux Pas: Counterfeit Masks
Luxury and medical face masks are seen gracing the streets since the coronavirus trended upwards and counterfeiters are keeping a watchful eye, making sure they don’t go out of style.
Surgical masks have become a crucial component in the worldwide battle against the coronavirus. Luxury brands such as Christian Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Givenchy and Prada are among some of the most well-known names gracing the runway this year in true Corona fashion – sporting hand sanitisers and face masks in light of the continued spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also making headlines are counterfeiters copying this fashion trend, turning high-quality products into low and even dangerous buys causing lost profits for brand owners and putting people’s health at risk as well.
- S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized more than 2,000 unapproved face masks bearing counterfeit designer logos such as Burberry, Supreme and Gucci this June at the ports of New Orleans and Shreveport in Louisiana.
- India has also received some fashion clap back as Tommy Hilfiger filed cases in the Delhi High Court against two Tamil Nadu manufacturers for printing its brand name and logos on masks while German sportswear brand Adidas said it has not launched any face masks in the country.
“Criminals will stop at nothing to make a profit,” said Jürgen Stock, Secretary-General of Interpol. “The illicit trade in such counterfeit medical items during a public health crisis shows their total disregard for people’s wellbeing, or their lives.”
Out of Style
The fashion industry isn’t the sole victim of this copycat commodity. Well-known medical supply companies such as 3M have fallen prey as well. In China, the chairman of Chinese pharmacy chain 'Beijing Jinghai Kangbaixin Medicine Co' has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after being found guilty of conspiring in the sale of more than 580,000 fake N95 masks that were falsely advertised as being genuine 3M products.
3M also filed a lawsuit against China-based organisations linked to an Amazon seller named Mao Yu for selling counterfeit N95 masks netting at least $350,000. In late May, a total of 240 3M face masks were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Import specialists noted the face masks were poorly-packaged and of low value and quality.
Unmasking Counterfeit Masks
Anti-counterfeiting and brand protection solutions are core to any company seeking to protect its value, reputation, revenue and profits. Preventive measures are a classic must-have ‘style item’ in ensuring that consumers remain safe especially in a world hit by a global health pandemic.
Brand owners and anti-counterfeiting solution providers need to work together to unmask counterfeit masks – or any products for that matter and win the fight against the illicit trade and counterfeit goods.