NY Times | Inside the Knockoff-Tennis-Shoe Factory
This story was published at the end of last week, but incase you missed it, here it is again. Not the first time someone has delved into the problems of counterfeit sneakers, but definately one of the best written examples, and a reminder of how that industry works. Have a read here.
“Lin has spent most of his adult life making sneakers, though he only entered the counterfeit business about five years ago. “What we make depends on the order,” Lin said. “But if someone wants Nikes, we’ll make them Nikes.” Putian, a “nest” for counterfeit-sneaker manufacturing, as one China-based intellectual-property lawyer put it, is in the south eastern Chinese province of Fujian, just across the strait from Taiwan. In the late 1980s, multinational companies from all industries started outsourcing production to factories in the coastal provinces of Fujian, Guangdong and Zhejiang. Industries tended to cluster in specific cities and sub regions. For Putian, it was sneakers. By the mid-1990s, a new brand of factory, specializing in fakes, began copying authentic Nike, Adidas, Puma and Reebok shoes. Counterfeiters played a low-budget game of industrial espionage, bribing employees at the licensed factories to lift samples or copy blueprints. Shoes were even chucked over a factory wall, according to a worker at one of Nike’s Putian factories. It wasn’t unusual for counterfeit models to show up in stores before the real ones did.”