These aren’t the Nikes you’re looking for.
On Thursday, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency announced it worked with the Los Angeles police department to seize a cache of counterfeit goods worth an estimated $32 million. Though the array of products consisted of everything from phony prescription drugs to cosmetics, it also included some lookalikes of choice designer goods. Most notably, it was bursting with batches of high-top sneakers mimicking Air Jordan’s collaboration with Dior and others resembling Yeezy’s 350 V2.
“Criminals are exploiting e-commerce platforms to sell counterfeit and often dangerous goods to unwitting holiday shoppers,” Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles, said in a press statement. According to authorities, the aim of these agencies is to aggressively target the manufacture, sale and distribution of counterfeit merchandise to permanently disrupt these inauthentic supply chains. More than a means of protecting the intellectual property of brands and designers, law enforcement is hoping to cripple the criminal and terrorist organizations which often profit from the distribution of fake goods.
This particular seizure is, sadly, only a drop in the bucket. During fiscal year 2020 alone, CBP seized 26,503 shipments containing counterfeit goods that, had they been genuine, would be worth a staggering $1.3 billion. And sneakers seem to be a particularly popular item to knockoff, especially if they’re by Dior. In August of this year, CBP intercepted a shipment full of fake Dior 1s in Texas valued at $32 million.
While almost every major brand and retailer has done its best to stamp put unauthorized goods, fakes are a persistent problem and one that may only grow worse as luxury brands wade further into the digital realm. Many have been reluctant to do so as selling online––besides making the customer experience more difficult to control––can lead to unforeseen issues with where their goods end up. But if there’s any silver lining to the situation, Dior should be pleased to know the public desire for its burgeoning sneaker collection is officially at a fever pitch.