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ISLAMABAD: The sale of replicas of clothing and accessories of top brands in the country has put a dent in their business by introducing similar products at lower prices.

Where a few years ago people could be seen heading to brand outlets ahead of traditional festivals to buy clothes, shoes, jewellery, bags and watches, the brands’ sales have gone down alarmingly. At the same time, replicas of leading brands’ products see a hefty turnover on the eve of various festivals.

Speaking to this agency on Monday, the public relations officer for a well-known brand, Ahmed Sultan Khawaja, said international brands were mainly focused on special attire or bridal outfits, as well as large ranges of seasonal unstitched and ready-to-wear clothing.

Unfortunately, he said, big names are making fewer items than before.

He added that replica manufacturers reproduce the same designs with the best locally-available fabrics and bring them to the market in the same packaging at lower prices.

Sheikh Rizwan, the owner of a large clothing and bags store in Saddar, Rawalpindi, noticed that the demand for original brands in the market had shrunk due to their soaring prices, adding that master-copies were just like original items.

If an original outfit is priced at Rs10,000, he said, its master-copy will be available for just Rs5,000. Who would like to waste hard-earned cash, he remarked.

Replicas are in greater demand because original brand manufacturers have reduced the number of items; the replica industry duplicates in bulk, another storekeeper, Shahid Qureshi said.

He added that it could not be said that replicas had damaged all the original brands and industries because some customers still want real products no matter how expensive they are.

Samreena, a housewife, said she could not afford to buy pricey outfits, but replicas were as good as originals and within her reach.

Private schoolteacher Sadia Amjad said she prefers replicas because of their reasonable pricing and good quality fabric, as she needs a good number of clothing for day-to-day.

Master-copies are as good as originals, she said, adding that she buys master-copies because they are Rs1,000 to Rs2,000 cheaper than originals.

Marketing official Christina said she never buys mocked-up items online or from low-standard shops because they rob naive people in the name of leading brands.

Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2018