Where forth art thou?: Furla vs Charles & Keith

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Furla vs Charles & Keith

A reader sent in this mail early this month. With the Great Singapore Sale in full force, I reckon this issue deserves some highlighting. Ladies buy your handbags with care!

The following is an email she sent to Furla:

"Dear Furla,

I have always been a loyal customer of your bags. Last December, I purchased the attached design of bag at one your boutiques in Singapore (Centerpoint Shopping Center) for a price that was more than S$300. I have always taken pride in my Furla bags, as they are of good quality, lasting and excellent design. The fact that they are quite limited in production is another attractive feature too.

However, to my disappointment today, as I was passing by this shop Charles & Keith in Suntec City Singapore, this afternoon, I saw to my horror the exact same design, to the smallest detail (the little holes design, the suede like ribbon), the SAME BAG, selling for a mere S$33. And what was worse, I was carrying my original Furla, the one shown in the pictures attached to this email. Can you imagine the embarrassment and shock? Charles & Keith is basically a shoe shop, known for its affordable range of shoes. By affordable, I mean prices in the range of S$20 - S$60. Definitely not near Furla's status.

Overcoming my initial shock, I took up the Charles & Keith's bag and really, while the material is definitely different (they are using fake leather), it looks IDENTICAL to the one I was carrying! You know that for this bag, there is a Furla initial on the bag. For the Charles & Keith's bag, its initial is of course, Charles & Keith.

Now, tell me. Who copied whose design? And was this design ever copyrighted in the first place? I wouldn't want to be seen carrying an identical bag as someone paid only S$33 for hers while I paid more than S$300.

I must say that this incident has deeply affected my confidence in Furla. While I do understand that imitation happens because of popularity, I'd also understand that counterfeit goods are usually found in not-so reputable shopping centers. This is a Charles & Keith shop in Suntec City Singapore, that I am talking about. A place where luxury shops reside side by side and visited by thousands of shoppers daily.

Do you think I can still carry my Furla bag confidently? I am afraid not. People might think mine is the S$33 bag!

I hope that someone in Furla will take note of this matter and do something about it and do let me know of the necessary steps Furla will take to prevent something like this from happening again. Honestly, I am surprised that no one from Furla or your agents know about it despite the fact that the imitated bag was displayed very prominently in the Charles & Keith shop in Suntec City Singapore.

Alright. I need a cup of tea to calm my nerves from the shock.

Ms Tan

The following is the reply she got from Furla...

"Dear Ms. Tan,

First of all, I would thank you for your patronage of Furla. I am very sorry to hear your concern regarding the copy of the Furla bag you have located in Singapore and I thank you for providing us with this information. I will forward your letter to our Manager Director of the Far East to look into the matter further. Unfortunately, the copying of the designs for major brands is a very difficult problem and not easy to control.

I trully hope your your confidence in Furla is not affected, as this incident is a negative consequence of having a global business of branded products. Please understand we work to maintain the most controlled and limited distribution of our products and it is one of our most strategic assets.

I do hope you contiune to be a loyal Furla customer and we are able to continue to provide you with excellent quality and designed products in an exclusive distribution.

Kind regards,
Clare O'Connell


Button said...


Anonymous said...

oh that sounds so so bimbotic.

pari said...

Moral of the story is to buy expensive looking bags at less the price. Even if there is a so called imitation, the pain will not be as intense. But do go all out for classic designs. Think it'll still be money well spent.

~*Starryluvly*~ said...

omfg....xlx, is that a genuine letter??? It sounds ridiculously petty.

xialanxue said...

hey nadia... yes.. I get all sorts of emails. Some of them do stand out...
But I can understand. Imagine paying 10 times more for a brand just to realize that you can get a similar design for much less.

Foresti said...

Omg that letter is sooooo informal.Anyway it was badly put across to Furla or whatever the name was.And Gucci or channel or those more branded bags have immitation.It so common nowdays its nothing to be agitated about

Anonymous said...

Is Furla really that branded? how can it compare to Gucci and Fendi?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a XX kind of letter :P

~*Starryluvly*~ said...

Yea I can understand her viewpoint as well... but it does make one wonder... has she NEVER seen imitations? It happens to all brands after all, not just her darling Furla!

blah said...

she sounds like such a brat...

more so she end it with calming her nerves with a cup of tea. omg... so drama-mama...

there will always be fakes, might as well say ppl go parsa malam buy for 10 bucks -.-"

the brand makes the difference of the product not the look. that's why people always say you play for the name.

Belly said...

I didn't think much of this issue when I read this post eons ago, until when I walked past Charles and Keith city hall this evening, and a bag on their display caught my eye. it was an imitation of a MiuMiu bag that I was carrying, the style of the bag is exactly the same, except the colour of the denim material and leather straps. I now am quite disgusted and dissapointed with Charles & Keith, whatever happened to originality?

Anonymous said...

this is one of the reason why many ppl are rushing for c&k!!!!

it seems strange to me however, when ppl spend a lot of money on branded bags/shoes and yet are unable to identify it from the imitation or those wif similar design at lower range.

i ve been using branded products for quite a while now. i also see many imitations of those am using at a hundred times cheaper but im not that worried since like me, most real branded buyers know what is fake what's not.

those who cant tell the difference? i dont really care about what they think.