A couple of days ago I made a post about fake jeans based on high end Japanese brands being sold in Malaysia and Thailand mainly ( https://denimhq.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/denim-hq-denim-pirates/ ), since this post there has been a lot of discussion around this subject on forums and social media so I thought that it is worth clarifying a couple of points.
I do not dislike the denim scene in South East Asia
I have heard this said and it is just crazy. I love the denim scene everywhere and I have seen and handled denim from Malaysia and Thailand, not to mention that I am involved in retailing some Indonesian brands. In particular in Malaysia I was impressed with the denim from Cheese and Ceremony, Cheese have a great humour, quality denim and some innovative thinking whereas Ceremony make a very nice detailed pair of jeans in some great cuts.
The pirates and their customers are a minority of the scene
Nobody should get the impression that the denim scene in ANY country is dominated by pirates selling crap quality, fake jeans. The pirates stealing other peoples hard work and their deluded customers are a minority, I personally know a lot of real denim heads from South East Asia who work hard and save hard to afford the real thing, and I have nothing but love and respect for these guys. Their dedication to their denim in such a hot climate is impressive.
The jeans are probably not made in Malaysia
From what I am told the jeans are actually produced in sweat shops in China for export to the South East Asian market. The pirates have identified a consumer need in the market there and have spotted that some of the consumers cannot afford the market price, this is where the demand is created for fakes, but there are other ways….
There are other ways…..
Apart from the obvious ways of saving money and waiting for longer to buy the real thing there are also alternative ways to get great denim. Most western online forums have “Buying and selling” sections where some nice denim can be bought for sometimes not a great deal of money, keep checking these sections out on places like the Iron Heart forum and Superfuture, links below..
Also, there are some great brands who are local to South East Asia, many of them using locally produced denim of high quality, some of them even sourcing Japanese denim. Why not invest into local brands and then spread the word about how good the denim scene is in your country/ region by joining in the global denim community on forums like the ones I mention above, and showing off your jeans. Trust me, you will find nothing but respect coming from the majority of the wider denim scene for supporting your local brands. In the HWDC2 we had a lot of guys from Indonesia and Malaysia wearing local brands with some incredible results. I know that some people worry about the ethics of local brands and how their jeans are produced but just do your research, ask questions, and visit the brands if you can, there are some good guys out there.
By buying the fakes you are missing the whole point of denim
The point being that we buy from brands like Samurai, Iron Heart, Evisu and Momotaro for their great denim, quality and cuts. By buying these fake jeans you are buying cheap mass produced denim, often chemical treated in cuts that the real brands don’t make and at sweatshop level quality, not sewn by small businesses in Kojima with generations of experience. The thing you buy might say Samurai on it, but that is the only similarity.
The denim scene in South East Asia is one of the biggest in the world, it is a customer base which brands cannot afford to ignore but unfortunately neither can the pirates and criminals making these terrible fakes. The responsibility for stopping this does rest with the consumer unfortunately, because without demand there is no business for these thieves. All that needs to happen is for people to make a simple choice, stop buying this rubbish and either save your money, buy used jeans or invest in local brands.
As always, your feedback is welcomed.