Look, I'll be honest—I've thought about buying cheap before, that's why today's conversation at the Be Original Americas HQ was so interesting. As a student, I know that knock-offs effect the industry. It's pretty easy to point to some of the reasons why this is a bad thing—the designer doesn't get the money they should, or the object might not be designed or manufactured in the exact manner.
Here's the thing: looking at these a little closer there are a HUGE number of reasons why this is a bad thing. Here's a small selection to muse on: Do you like your purchases to be poison free? Counterfeit metal furniture has been found to contain lead and mercury... Do you like your purchases to be environmentally friendly or responsibly sourced? Counterfeit companies focus on the bottom line—material, quality and kindness to humans and the environment aren't their focus... Do you like your purchases to last? Let's be real, its cheap for a reason, the level of effort put into copying the aesthetics of a counterfeit are not applied to the manufacturing quality and processes. Take this as an example...
Anyone who has spent time talking with a professional designer, whether an independent practice, small or large firm knows the amount of time that goes into designing something. From conception, iteration, testing, redesign—the cost of these items repays those costs as well as tooling, manufacturing and responsibility. Few huge companies (let alone small firms) have the time or money to litigate compulsive counterfeiters, and so the only thing we can do to support the designers and principles they stand for is to through the power we have as consumers—this means refusing to buy counterfeits, as much as purchasing originals. At the end of the day, originality isn't just about honesty, its about promoting creativity and freedom for designers and producers by showing them we value these principles.
The knock-off culture that we live in today means we don't respect these ideas quite so much, we're all more interested in having stuff, but not having to pay for it—because only idiots do that. I'm not here to preach, I'm here to learn, and I just hope I can throw some of that up on here and help someone else too.