Gert Johan Coetzee discusses counterfeit goods

Gert Johan Coetzee discusses counterfeit goods

Gert Johan Coetzee is definitely one of the biggest designers in South Africa right now. In fact, Gert’s work has become so popular that he has dressed a number of international stars – most recently US singer Lizzo.

Unfortunately, as the young designer rose to fame, he became a victim of counterfeit products that can be found almost anywhere in South Africa.

Speaking to Gert in an exclusive interview, he shared how counterfeit Gert clothing impacts his mental health and empire.

Q. So I was casually shopping, and I spotted some counterfeit Gert dresses in a local boutique!  As this is something you have spoken about before, how does this affect you?

A. “It is incredibly disheartening to see something you have invested so much in, getting copied so carelessly. We tried to pull all the counterfeits from the market and we managed to get most of them removed however it is not ideal or great for me as a young designer, especially coming out of covid this is the last thing we need.

“Also, I would also just like to thank all of my loyal supporters for highlighting this and continuing to show their support by buying local. Lastly, I would like to say to my supporters that should they have questions about the authenticity of their Gert garment, they are more than welcome to send us an email or DM and we will gladly verify their garment.”

Q. What kind of action do you think should be taken?

A. “This is a tricky one because as much as there is a lot that you can do, there aren’t that many avenues that be of aid. Major design houses like Gucci or Louis Vuitton get copied all the time and at first, it was a compliment, but I saw the adverse effect it had on my business and on my clients and I did not like that.

“The only way you can combat this is to constantly stay innovative and creative and think of what’s next. I am working on my next collection now, and I feel that it is so different and copy-proof that it could be something that stands out. There is no use crying over spilled milk but more about asking yourself what else is possible and how to overcome it, that way ideas just keep coming and you stay at the front end of fashion.”

Q. What is your message to people who actually go out and purchase “fake Gert”

“Wearing a Gert Johan Coetzee original is supposed to be special because I take so much time and effort creating them, so wearing a fake really takes away the novelty of a Gert garment.

“I have seen the counterfeits and they are terrible. Instead of bringing unpleasant attention to yourself, rather class up your wardrobe in a tasteful way that not only won’t break your bank but will also spare you the embarrassment.”

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