How a fake bag dispute between a Hermès collector and an influencer escalated into a bomb threat

How a fake bag dispute between a Hermès collector and an influencer escalated into a bomb threat

Counterfeit handbags have existed for decades, but the latest generation of so-called “superfakes” can so closely resemble their luxury counterparts that the differences are almost imperceptible to the human eye.

You might be carrying a Hermès Kelly bag worth $100,000. Or it could be a hyper-realistic rip-off worth a fraction of the price. 

Either way, only you are likely to know the truth about your handbag’s origins. 

The superfake revolution has sparked a debate about the ethics of counterfeit goods, as well as raising questions about what exactly we’re paying for when we spend thousands on a scrap of leather. 

But in South-East Asia’s largest marketplace, their booming popularity has had some unintended consequences for fashionistas and authorities alike. 

Meanwhile, amid a debate about the luxurious lifestyles of Indonesian political figures, some public servants have started insisting their bags are just really good fakes procured from a giant market in Jakarta.

“People here call those superfake bags 1-to-1 replicas,” said Uci Flowdea, a businesswoman who collects real Hermès handbags. 

“They’re so close, the untrained eye won’t know,” she said. 

Superfake doesn’t mean super cheap

Superfakes are often handmade, use more expensive materials and are difficult to tell apart from the pricey originals. 

And at Jakarta’s Mangga Dua market, dubbed “Hong Kong Alley” by some locals, the top superfakes bags come with real luxury prices. 

At Jakarta’s Mangga Dua market, the top “superfakes” can cost thousands of dollars. (ABC News: Mitch Woolnough)

Copies of the luxury industry’s most sought-after handbags from French fashion house Hermès start above $1,000 and stretch up to $10,000 for a replica of a Kelly crocodile-skin bag. 

The superfakes might be a serious investment, but they still cost 10 per cent of their genuine counterpart. 

A crocodile skin Kelly — the most coveted and rarest of all Kelly bags — can easily cost $100,000.

And that’s only if you’re invited by the brand to make the purchase.


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