All photos by Angga Pratama

Where to Find the World's Cheapest Supreme Gear, Authenticity Not Guaranteed

A trip inside the heart of Indonesia's knock-off fashion industry.

May 18 2018, 7:24am

All photos by Angga Pratama

The Supreme x Louis Vuitton collab. is still so hot, one year after the line's release, that the red duffle bag is up to $8,500 USD on resale markets. That's a ridiculous $5,000 more than the original sticker price. So, when I saw a woman carrying what appeared to be the eye-catching bright red bag on her arm in a Jakarta mall, I was sure I had just come across one of the most-coveted bags around out there in the wild.

But, then I saw the "Supeime" on the side.

Jakarta's malls are so full of knock-offs of luxury and streetwear lines that's it's easy to see how bootlegs are a slice of the fashion market unto themselves. Estimates in the European Union found that as much as 10 percent of the goods sold in the EU were counterfeit—a figure that totaled $28 million USD in lost profits for fashion labels. I have no idea high high that number would climb if the study was done in, say ASEAN instead of the EU, but, judging by the stuff that's for sale in some Jakarta malls, I bet you it's waaaay higher.

But while brands like Supreme, Vetements, and Off-White get away with selling t-shirts for hundreds of USD, counterfeit markets are full of affordable knock-offs that, in their own way, are just as cool as their legit cousins. I mean, where else can you find a ridiculous Supreme cellphone cover or knockoffs of sneakers that don't even exist in the real world yet?

The bootleg fashion industry is so big that even established brands like Vetements tried to get a piece of the market with their "Official Fake" collection back in 2016—which, ironically, were all still way to expensive for any average person to be able to afford.

If you want to see how big the bootleg fashion industry is here in Indonesia, there's really only one place to go—the ITC chain of malls. ITC malls are where Jakartans go to get everything for cheap. You need a pair of Speed Trainers, a Supreme hoodie, and a copy of that new Avengers movie? The ITC probably has you covered.

Arif Saputra, who works at one of these knock-off stores in ITC, offered to tell us what was trending in Jakarta right now, explaining that "people mostly look for Supreme and Off-White. We don’t know why they like it. Maybe those two brands are popular right now."

So I wandered around a couple ITC malls with photographer Angga Pratama to see how much fake lux. and street wear brands we could find. Turns out I could grab my own Supreme x Louis Vuitton red duffle and red wallet for less than Rp 500,000 ($35 USD). We also found a lot of people proud to sport these knock-offs, regardless of their dodgy origins. Who says fashion needs to be expensive?

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