The global streetwear boom is awash with replica clothing, ranging from terrible bootleg Only snapbacks in Camden Market to lavish rip-offs you'd be hard pressed to differentiate from the originals. I, for example, recently bought an extremely comfortable Supreme box logo hoodie – resale price: upwards of £350 – for £35.
In the streetwear world, wearing fakes isn't exactly taboo – but you will be laughed at, online, by people who put far too much importance on a pair of trainers from the 1990s. So does anyone really drip-a-drip themselves head-to-toe in replica clothing? Reddit user Aiden6, the man behind the popular replica streetwear subreddit r/fashionreps, says his wardrobe is 80 percent fake. I spoke to him to get the lowdown on the world of reps.
VICE: How did you get into buying replica clothes?
Aiden6: Oh, man. I was selling Beats by Dre headphones back in middle school. I was buying 'em for ten bucks and selling them for 30. I was making roughly 200 to 300 bucks a week by selling headphones alone, and that’s what really branched me off into buying clothes. I had replica Beats speakers, too – anything and everything. Right now I have close to 30 different shoes.
Where were you getting the stuff from?
A Chinese website. Beats were just coming out at the time – I noticed they were ten dollars and thought, 'Holy shit, there's money to be made.' I initially ordered a pair for myself, then ordered ten. It took off.
What was the first rep you bought for yourself?
I bought two Louis Vuitton polos and the name was spelt wrong. It was Louis Vitton.
How long ago was that?
I was in seventh grade [12 to 13 years old] at the time and I'm 22 now. Shit, I've been dealing with replicas my whole life.
Why do you like buying fakes?
You can really rock what you want to wear without having to completely blow your whole budget. I'm one of those people who changes their outfit two or three times a day and thinks, 'Shit, this don't look right' – so I like to have the maximum amount of options. I really do it for myself, not anyone else. I don't give a fuck what anyone thinks.
Have you ever been called out for wearing fake shit?
Ummm. I want to say no? But I'll even be wearing real shit and people will say, 'Oh, it’s all fake.' There will always be someone that's jealous.
I feel there are certain items you should stay away from when you’re buying replicas. If you’re wearing a Supreme and Louis Vuitton box logo, you’re gonna get called out. But anything else, you’re gonna be fine.
Oh, definitely. One of my favourite pieces, I was 15, and I had a Supreme box logo hat – and Supreme never even made the hat. It didn't exist. But I liked it, so I wore it.
That’s the thing with reps – some items don’t exist even as authentic products, right?
Yeah. They like to make their own designs.
Do you look out for specific brands when you’re buying?
I stopped messing with the really fake designers – Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dior and all that bullshit. I like to mess with [Nike] Jordans [trainers]. There’s a factory in China where, from what I’ve heard, they have the same materials and blueprints as Nike. They’re called unauthorised, but to me they’re technically real.
I’ve seen trainers. The quality looks really legit for fakes.
Yeah. One of the reasons I started getting them is because Jordans can come in really limited runs, or there’s a championship pair where you have to pay 400 to 500 bucks, and I only want one pair of shoes – that’s how I got into buying them.
What’s your favourite item?
A lot of the original Jordans that Michael Jordan used to wear. Or even a box logo Supreme. But the one thing I really like is fake cologne.
Yeah, you won’t have to spend 100 bucks – you spend 35, and you get the exact same ingredients. I started off at flea markets, then started buying them at Wish and iOffer and all these random websites, and was like, 'Damn, they're on point.' I’d go to the perfume store and try them out, then go buy the fake shit, and it’d be exactly what I wanted. I don’t know how they get the ingredients, but they’re so damn good.
Why did you start the Fashionreps subreddit?
There was one for sneakers and I saw a need that people wanted to buy fake clothes. I thought it would be cool if it ended up being big one day. Every morning I’d go on my computer and try to grow it more, post discussions and see what other people want. It took off from there.
Yeah, then one of my moderator friends said I could make some money doing it if I advertised certain sellers. So I started getting paid off it. I was getting about 500 bucks cash every month.
I was buying stupid shit I didn’t need when I was 15, like $300 Counter Strike knives [laughs].
How much of your wardrobe is fake?
I want to be completely honest – probably 80 percent. All my fucking shoes… I have maybe one real pair of SBs and two or three pairs of Jordans. But otherwise 35 pairs are fake.
How much money do you reckon that is?
Oh man, I don’t know. Recently I spent $180 on three pairs of shoes and got a box logo hoodie for 80 bucks. But I was getting about $700 worth of free clothes a month [from sellers on the forum]. I even have a replica Rolex that I took to three different expert watchmen and they told me it was legit [laughs].
Is there a moral issue with buying replica clothing?
I believe as long as you don’t pass it off as authentic… if you’re trying to scam someone by saying what you’re selling is real, that’s really not good at all. From what I’ve heard of the new [fake] Off White belts, there are no flaws, so anyone could make a fake receipt and go on [resell sites] Grailed or StockX and completely mass sell these fake items as legit or real. Morally, to me it’s not wrong, as long as you know what you’re doing.