Twenty-THOUSAND pairs of 'very good' fake Christian Louboutin heels seized by U.S. Border officers in shipments from China
22:28 GMT, 16 August 2012
Federal customs officials have stopped more than 20,000 pairs of counterfeit luxury shoes from tip-toeing into the U.S. from China.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says four shipments of fake Christian Louboutin shoes were seized on Tuesday at the Los Angeles-Long Beach seaport complex, and another shipment was seized July 27.
Spokesman Jaime Ruiz says the shoes have a value of $57,490, but could have sold on the U.S. market for $18million.
Seeing red: U.S. border officials have seized 20,000 pairs of fake Christian Louboutin shoes from shipments from China. The most recent (pictured) was on Tuesday at the Los Angeles-Long Beach seaport complex
Faking it: The shoes seized came in an array of styles and colorways, and were likely destined for sale though counterfeit websites
Todd C. Owen CBP Director of Field
Operations in Los Angeles said in a press release: 'This seizure
illustrates the outstanding level of commodity expertise
and vigilance of CBP import specialists and officers at our nation’s
'CBP maintains an aggressive and proactive posture on
intercepting shipments containing counterfeit and pirated items.'
The vaunted French designer's shoes
come in an array of colors and styles, often commanding thousands of
dollars per pair from well-heeled customers.
Countless A-list celebrities
regularly wear Christian Louboutin, which are famed for their
distinctive red lacquered soles. They typically sell for upwards of
$800, and can exceed will into four figures.
Sole traders: Four shipments of fake Christian Louboutin shoes were seized on Tuesday at the Los Angeles-Long Beach seaport complex, and another shipment was seized July 27
The knock-off shoes were likely destined for swap meets or sale through websites.
Typically buyers are unaware that counterfeit items are fake, and often believe that they
are buying an original product at a significant discount.
In the 2011 fiscal year, there were 1,020 trade seizures with a domestic
value exceeding $37million at Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex alone.
This represents an 18per cent increase in the number of seizures from
fiscal year 2010.
Ruiz says the shoes in this case were very good counterfeits and will likely be destroyed.
Busted: An official at U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex unpacks a box of fake Christian Louboutins from a recent seizure of five shipments from China
Counterfeit: A spokesman said the shoes could have sold for a total of $18million, had they made it into the U.S. market, but will likely be destroyed instead
Christian Louboutin has been fiercely defending his right to be the sole label with red soles over the past year.
designer has faced two unsuccessful court battles with Yves Saint
Laurent and Zara, both of which argued that they too have the right to
sell shoes with red soles.
So coveted are the shoes that in recent months, women have started creating DIY versions, painting the soles of their shoes red to mimic the look.
It is not too far removed from the way in which Mr Louboutin came up with the idea for his red sole in the first place: by painting the sole of a high heel with red nail polish.
SO, CAN YOU SPOT FAKE CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTINS
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Coveted: Christian Louboutin shoes sell for hundreds of dollars in designer boutiques around the world
U.S. Customs and Border Protection may have deemed the Chinese Christian Louboutin fakes 'very good counterfeits', but any fashionista worth their front row cred might beg to differ.
Anyone who has even longed for a pair for long enough knows the designer's signature shapes and styles inside-out and can spot a Prive from a Pigalle at 50 paces.
Fashion writer Olivia Fleming, who herself owns a pair, admits that at first glance some of the fakes did indeed look convincing.
On closer inspection, however, even the best copies exposed themselves as counterfeit.
'The authentic red soles have a bright red color with a nice high gloss finish,' she explained. 'The fakes will have more of a dark deeper red color with more of a low gloss matte looking finish.
'An authentic pair will have “Chrisitan Louboutin” “Made in Italy” on the soles with the size in EUR on the bottom. Fake Louboutins will have “Christian Louboutin” also with “Made in Italy” and the EUR size, but most of the time it is written 'madeinitaly' (all one word).'
She added that some of the counterfeit shoes had white glue seeping out from the edges of the sole, and the seam on the heel of another pair was not straight. Such imperfections would never exist in a real pair, she said.