from the we'd-be-crazy-not-to dept
The narrative around counterfeit goods usually ends with their seizure. We rarely get to hear or see what happens to them afterwards unless some token burning or breaking is laid on for the cameras' benefit. That makes the following story doubly noteworthy: we not only find out where fake designer clothes go after they have been seized in the UK, we discover that they are put to an excellent use:
Instead of handing counterfeit designer clothes to customs or trading standards to be destroyed, they are being donated to a charity for redistribution to the homeless and vulnerable.
That charity is called His Church, and in the last six years it has managed to convince 90% of British Trading Standards Authorities, which have the job of dealing with counterfeit goods, to pass on the clothes for patching – can't leave those labels visible – and then for redistribution. That's good for the homeless people that receive them, and it's good for the British government:
Every year customs and trading standards spend a fortune on storing fake clothes while waiting for a court decision, and then once the items have been proved to be fake the authorities have to fork out further for incineration or landfill costs.
This is such an obviously sensible thing to do you have to ask why the same approach isn't more widely adopted. Presumably it's from some residual fear that allowing fake clothes to circulate will "confuse" customers.
His Church has removed all such costs and pass on the high quality goods to some 250 homeless centres and women's shelters across the country.
But as Techdirt has noted before, it's likely that people know exactly what they are getting when they buy counterfeits, and that they are not confused in the slightest. Moreover, there's no evidence that the sales of genuine designer clothes in the UK have suffered over the last six years as a result of all these fakes being allowed on to the streets: were there any, the scheme would certainly have been halted by now. So is there any good reason why other homeless and vulnerable people around the world shouldn't benefit too?