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Counterfeiting, fashion and the civil society

Laura Meraviglia (Department of International Economics, Institutions and Development (DISEIS, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano, Italy.)

Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management

ISSN: 1361-2026

Article publication date: 13 July 2015




The paper deals with counterfeiting, its problems and its effects, analyzing the case of Italy in particular. The purpose of this paper is to underline the scale of the phenomenon and its economic and social impact on the fashion industry and civil society, concentrating on the involvement of organized crime. Lastly, it offers some possible counter-strategies for detecting continual violations and ensuring it spreads no further.


The author uses a multidisciplinary approach to the issue of counterfeiting in the fashion industry; beginning with an economic analysis of the phenomenon and examines its social implications, going deeper into the role of the consumer from a sociological point of view and, from a forensic one, the role of organized crime.


Three things emerge from the analysis of the main features of the connection between counterfeiting, the fashion industry and the consequences for civil society: the size of the phenomenon, the low level of awareness in government and civil society about the seriousness of the problem, and the link with organized crime (and resulting social implications).

Social implications

The main social implications of this work concern first the role of consumers, who may vary greatly in the degree of awareness they exercise when buying, and second the close connections between organized crime and the counterfeiting supply chain.


Counterfeiting has become a global business. In Italy it has reached huge dimensions and has developed some peculiar aspects, particularly in the fashion industry: this paper brings out these economic, social and criminal aspects. In order to effectively tackle this problem, therefore, it is essential to work out both supply side and demand-side strategies and to strengthen co-operation across national borders, taking steps to control the whole supply chain as well as working to educate consumers.



Meraviglia, L. (2015), "Counterfeiting, fashion and the civil society", Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 230-248.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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