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Another site allegedly selling fakes is targeting lovers of Zimmermann, Gucci, Dior and more

Words by Bianca O'Neill

Image via Zimmermann

When will it end?

The internet is a dangerous place for lovers of designer goods. I was chatting to someone the other day about a vintage Gucci piece I bought recently from a reseller in Japan, and that no matter how many ‘certificates of authentication’ they send me, I will always worry that it’s a fake. How can you truly tell that you got what you paid for?

(Side note – I asked Gucci to authenticate it, and apparently, they don’t ‘do that’. So I guess I’ll never know…)

On the other hand, there are some sites out there that are so brazen about peddling their imitation goods, that they even declare it on the homepage. Take this one for example.

Then, there are the grey areas.

Last year, we saw a controversy erupt surrounding Borrow My Balmain, a purported ‘designer’ clothing loan service that claimed to own thousands of dollars worth of goods from Dior, Gucci and more. It preyed on the Instagram generation, who spend a lot of time and money attempting to keep up with their Insta-idols.

As we now know, at least some of their goods were fakes. And now, it seems like another site is getting in on the action, albeit by targeting a slightly different market.

Yet another site enters the fray…

I came across ZCrave via a tip-off on Instagram. The site had been targeting ads at fans of Zimmerman on Instagram, using an official Zimmermann product image that appears to have been ripped from Farfetch.com. Although the site never mentioned the brand explicitly in its advertisement, any fan of Zimmermann’s unique dresses would easily be able to identify the image from a recent drop. 

A post shared by ZCRAVE (@zcrave) on

“Floral print dress,” the advertisement says. “Get 10% off your order!” When you click through, unlike the previously mentioned site, this one doesn’t specify that this item is a copy or imitation. However, the price of $145 (slashed from over $300!), and perhaps the note that it is 100% polyester (which a true Zimmermann item would of course never be made from), may give punters a clue.

As may the terrible reviews for the product that eventually arrives, reportedly terribly made and hastily sewn together by-order, direct from China.

You’ll also find other big designer brands on the site, with pictures that appear to be lifted from official channels. Here’s one that looks suspiciously like Dior, illustrated by a cropped Reuters image. Here’s the original image

And here’s an alleged Gucci copy for sale, accompanied by no less than a Marie Claire cover image, featuring Suki Waterhouse. Here’s the original image

Interestingly, Zcrave’s social media sites offer no such bad reviews – strange in itself, seeing as any brand, amazing or otherwise, often has to deal with a complaint or two. Zcrave, on the other hand, has a clean slate of seemingly silent fans.

Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll see that under each Instagram post there is a link for several comments – which appear to have since been deleted. They did miss this one, though:

Don’t miss it! Time to get your wardrobe summer ready☀☀☀ #summer

A post shared by ZCRAVE (@zcrave) on

Similarly, on Facebook Zcrave doesn’t have a single post-to-page – hey, I have a very small blog, and I have at least 100 posts from others to my page… It’s all very suspicious.

But what did the site say about all of this?

After some enquiries were made to the live help chat, site representatives were unhelpful to say the least, telling my tip-off that their products are ‘unbranded’. 

Even the FAQs page is confusing, saying that:

Some of our items comes [sic] without labels and some come with cut or torn labels, the reason for this is these items are from brand name, recognizable manufacturers, the only way these items can be resold in the market is if the original manufacturer label has been cut or removed.

This appears to suggest that the items are not, in fact, replicas – but overrun, or excess stock. A few paragraphs deeper, however, you’ll find the below contradicting paragraph:

“The merchandise we sell is high quality replicas [sic] and 100% brand new items. Our items have never been worn, and are not store returns or damages. We buy our merchandise directly from local manufacturers all around the world…

“ZCRAVE sources only AAA class High Quality Replicas of branded clothes. Our manufacturers are some of the best in the business and take pride in their attention to detail and consistent production of quality products.”

It seems their customers disagree on that point. But what IS concerning to me, is that after Googling the exact Zimmermann dress I have written about in this article, I was served one of their Instagram ads for the same dress. 

It’s deceptive advertising at its best.

I spoke to a representative for Zimmermann about Zcrave, and they confirmed that they are currently undergoing legal action on the site:

“Zimmermann takes many steps to protect its intellectual property, including registering its designs. Zimmermann is aware of the site in question and the matter is currently being investigated by the brand’s legal team.”

Interestingly, Zcrave has a section on its Terms page that appears to welcome such enquiries about copyright infringement – particularly on the images, which I’ve already mentioned are clearly lifted from other sources.

“If you are an intellectual property rights owner and you believe that ZCRAVE.COM sells, offers for sale, or makes available goods and/or services that infringe your intellectual property rights, then send the following information in its entirety to [email protected]…”

As of today, the previously mentioned Zimmermann product is still for sale, with the lifted Farfetch image advertising the dress.

So how is this legal?

Unfortunately, the fashion industry is not subject to copyright law in the same way that art, music and writing are. If the products sold on Zcrave featured a Zimmermann or Gucci label, for instance, they would be termed a ‘counterfeit’, which IS subject to legal accountability. But without explicitly claiming that this is a Zimmermann product, it is instead technically a ‘knockoff’ – which IS allowed.

So it’s technically not illegal – and there’s nothing really that designers can do, unless they’re marked as genuine.

According to Australian copyright law you have to prove it’s an artistic work, which mostly applies to fabric patterns, dressmaking patterns or drawings.

We spoke to Grant McAvaney, CEO and Media and IP Lawyer from the Australian Copyright Council about what designers can do if they feel that their designs have been infringed upon. Grant explained:

“If a designer feels that a design of theirs has been copied, then – again preferably with legal guidance – they should raise a complaint quickly (the sooner the better), and usually informally before heading to Court. Many online platforms, such as Facebook and eBay, also have a copyright complaint scheme that allows copyright complaints to be made online.

“Designers should also give some thought into all of the works they may own – has a photograph showing their clothing designed been copied without permission? Then that’s a breach of copyright. Has a written description on their clothing appearing on the business website also been copied? If so, that could be a breach of copyright in a literary work. Think of all of the kinds of works that have been copied and raise complaints in relation to all of them.

“But always beware running off to Court – be sure to get advice about the amount of time and money (and stress!) that will be involved in trying to seek damages/vindication, and weight that cost carefully against the actual value you think you’ll get from a court case.”

I guess all we have left to do is either call for new copyright law to cover the fashion industry – or follow Diet Prada’s lead and #CallItOut.

Loudly, and often.

Follow Bianca’s fashion journey at @_thesecondrow or listen to her latest podcast at @thefashionpodcast.

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