Diving Into the World Of Fake And Faulty Raw Denim

Like Style

With millions of pairs of jeans produced annually, the denim market is a popular and large target for the imitation industry, and no doubt a growing concern for many companies. Simply put, the more successful and well-known a brandname, for example Levi’s, the more likely it will inspire pirated copies.

High prices, shortages of the original product, easy reproducibility, and high customs taxes may all increase the temptation to produce counterfeits as well. On the consumer side, even children as young as twelve years old have begun to demonstrate a high brand awareness and are driven to have the same ‘cool’ stuff as their peers. Thus, if they can’t access it, many are willing to meet this desire by purchasing fake or imitation products.

There is a wide range of fakes for each attempted knockoff – ranging from very poor quality up to legitimately high-end products that are comprised of the original materials, parts and workmanship. Though fake are produced world-wide, the following examples are from Thailand.

This Evisu fake below is a low quality sample, yet it seems to have an original leather patch:

Evisu fake with many pockets all over, 2011

Evisu fake with many pockets all over, 2011

Another way to damage a successful brandname is by “free-loadering”, or setting up a new but similar label, which often ends in a brand war. The lawsuit between Levis and Evis is a classic example.

Evis was legally forced to change its brand name to Evisu, and use a different sea gull icon instead of the arcuate logo. They also had to eliminate the red tab on the right back pocket. A bizarre hybrid between these two iconic brands can be seen below

James Strauss (2007) - A bizarre fake mashup between Levis and Evisu

James Strauss (2007) – A bizarre fake mashup between Levis and Evisu

Fakes are often sold online, in crowded market places, unofficial shops, bazaar’s and through personal contacts. Buyers range from those who can’t afford the originals (or deem them overpriced) to those who don’t care about brands or are in to collecting fakes for curiosities sake. Of course there’s the group who just don’t realize the faulty items are not authentic.

The Wrangler pants below right could be such an example, where the average customer may not recognize them as imitation. The garment is made from a very stiff raw denim fabric with some original parts like the top button and other tags. These pants are professionally constructed with some wrong details (measurements on the back pockets or 2 missing belt loops). They also feature a selvedge in the coin pocket and have a full redline selvedge.

Original Wrangler post-tilted Blue Bell era from 40+ years old ago(left); fake Wrangler tilted Blue Bell selvedge circa 2006 (right)

Original Wrangler post-tilted Blue Bell era from 40+ years old ago(left); fake Wrangler tilted Blue Bell selvedge circa 2006 (right)

The cinch back redline pants below have a strong raw denim fabric, buttons with leaves and plain rivets, though the arcuates are erroneously placed quite low. Including the red flag and the cinch back, they try to appear as a Levis 201 jean without naming them as such.

No name pants, 2007, similar to the original Levis 201 Big E below (LVC Reproduction 2001)

No name pants, 2007, similar to the original Levis 201 Big E below (LVC Reproduction 2001)

No name pants, 2007, similar to the original Levis 201 Big E below (LVC Reproduction 2001)

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This Levis 501 Big E Repro fake has original buttons, but plain rivets. Watch out for the unusual selvedge on the coin pocket and at the back side center belt loop

Levis 501 Big E fake, 2009

Levis 501 Big E fake, 2009

Levis 501 Big E fake, 2009

Some fakes have humorous touches like those visible on the following pants, another fake attributed to the classic Levis 501 Big E. The word JEANS is stamped on the top button and LIKE is printed on the red tab instead of Levis.

On the off-chance this wasn’t quite enough, the horses on the back label have morphed into hippos, and notably the arcuates are completely missing.

Like Style, a Levis 501 imitation, 2006

Like Style - A Levis 501 Imitation (2006)

Like Style - A Levis 501 Imitation (2006)

Like Style – A Levis 501 Imitation (2006)

As arguably the most ubiquitous garment on earth, the fight against denim forgeries and fakes will likely be an endless and difficult battle for brands and consumers alike.

To avoid any fake surprises, consumers should make note of ridiculously cheap prices, poor quality, wrong details, blatantly missing stitching, and missing or strange tags with misspellings. More information is available from the following sources.

Ruedi

Ruedi began collecting raw denim in 1973 and formally opened the Jeansmuseum in Zurich in 2002 to hold his entire collection. When he's not fixated on raw denim, he works as a geographer and is passionate about nature, mountains, jogging, and skiing.

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  • Jun

    I totally support all these fake and pirated jeans…. go pirates!

  • Grazfather x

    Good article. Some huge mall in Bangkok openly sold tons of fake jeans. They sold fake diesel jeans they called ‘Davinci’ with the Diesel ‘D’. Once you bought a pair they would remove the Davinci logo and underneath was a Diesel logo. I bought a few fake pairs of True Religion for like $25 a pop, which they hem for free. Denim was OK and the fit was good, but the hardware started popping off only a few months later.

  • santos

    why they make fake products? because consumers need them! what people should do is trying to distinguish which is proper for them

  • Lubo

    I actually like the “Like” ones

  • Delas Thamrin

    Nudie is now one of the highest fakes out there.
    The funny thing is,these Fake Producers can do all of this manufacturing why not just make their own brand and merket it.

  • Alex DeLarge

    I love those “like style” jeans! They must be even tougher than the originals, since two hippos pack more power than horses.

    I ordered some nudies from an ebay seller four years ago. They were fake; no selvage, and different types of buttons on the fly (four nudies and one unknown,.) It was irritating, as at that time i did not know about the fake denim industry. All went well though, I showed them at nudie flagshipstore, and got a real one for free!

  • Kretek

    I tried a pair of levi 501s a while back (the new ones, not the old ones) and was not even impressed. Faking the new version of these jeans would be an unrewarding endeavor, especially because mine didn’t even have a leather patch as promised. It was a crappy cardboard punch on.

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  • piss on paul in da van

    So how does this difer from japanese repros. I have a guess but dumass hHipsters would flame me to the hell and back