Prada boss: It’s good to be bad?

While most luxury brands call in the lawyers at the merest whiff of imitation, Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli took a more optimistic view in a recent interview.

‘Fake goods aren’t totally bad,’ Bertelli told Bloomberg during a televised interview.’ ‘[A]t least it created jobs at some counterfeit factories.

‘We don’t want to be a brand that nobody wants to copy.’

Bertelli’s comments echoed the findings of a report from Ledbury Research, a firm specialising in high net worth individuals. Last year, Ledbury said that counterfeiting might have positive effects for the luxury industry, since as many as two out of five consumers who buy knock-offs eventually upgrade to the real thing. ‘The fake acts as a gateway to the brand,’ the firm wrote.

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Prada’s luxury peers tend to take a harder line. In January, Louis Vuitton sued producers of over their knowing use of fake Vuitton luggage. Just this week, Gucci won $4.7m in damages when a Manhattan judge ruled that a number of Guess’s designs were too close to Gucci’s to be legal.

A Prada spokesperson clarified the potentially sensational quote by putting it into context. ‘The quote is part of an extended conversation that underscored how the market of counterfeits is an objective reality for successful brands and how this phenomenon has its own reality, also in terms of manufacturing, that is very structured,’ a Prada representative said.

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