Confessions of a brand fighting counterfeits:‘We’d easily win in court, but it’s not always worth it
In early December, Elliot Hans, founder of California streetwear brand Stoned Immaculate, stumbled on something he’d seen before: a cheap knockoff of one of his brand’s styles. This time, it was a sweater, on a site called Lecastar.
Lecastar had a minimal social media presence, no phone number listed on its site and multiple images plucked from other brands’ e-commerce sites, and based on the About section of its Facebook page, it appeared to be owned by Shenzhen Ningyi Electronics. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
Hans said he’d seen thousands of ripoffs of his brand over the years, but usually they allow for plausible deniability. But on this site, he found not just a sweater that looked like the brand’s, but also photographs from Stoned Immaculate photoshoots of models he had hired and paid for. Hans sent an email to the company demanding they take down the listing and, when he got no response, he began talking with his legal team on how to proceed. Ultimately, Shopify, which was Lecastar’s hosting platform, took the site down after Glossy reached out for comment. When asked about its policy around sites selling counterfeit products, a spokesperson for Shopify said in an email: “We take concerns around the goods and services made available by merchants on our platform very seriously. We have multiple teams who handle potential violations of Shopify’s Acceptable Use Policy, notices of alleged copyright and trademark infringement, as well as fraud complaints. Shopify’s Acceptable Use Policy clearly outlines the activities that are not permitted on our platform, and we don’t hesitate to action stores when found in violation.”
Counterfeiting has always been a problem for fashion brands. It’s one of the main reasons luxury brands are hesitant to engage with Amazon. And counterfeiting has only gotten worse with the rise of e-commerce. While we’ve covered the issue of counterfeits numerous times in a broader sense, Glossy spoke with Hans to walk through, step-by-step, how counterfeiters harm a brand’s business and what can be done to stop them.