"I am a visual artist based in San Francisco and have a long interest in issues of piracy and bootlegging as they apply to today's globalized economy, and have created sculptural works and installations based on this topic.
In 2006 I created a website soliciting crocheters to join me in hand-counterfeiting designer handbags: Fendi, Gucci, Chanel, Prada, etc. Participants troll the internet and choose a design that they particularly covet, working off of low-resolution jpgs which they download. The final results may or may not bear resemblance to the originals, which is an interesting part of the translation.
The resulting counterfeits are both homages and lumpy mutations. Crochet is considered a lowly medium, and the limitations imposed by trying to create detail with yarn takes advantage of the individual maker's ingenuity and problem-solving skills.
I am also interested in how this project parallels and diverges from contemporary capitalist factory production and distribution channels.
As a collaboration it parallels the idea of "outsourcing" labor, but also adds a democratic and perhaps anarchic level of creativity--within the basic framework, participants have taken liberties with their translations, changing colors, adding materials (cardboard, hot glue, etc.) to suit their needs.
Makers are encouraged to keep and wear their bags, in an attempt to insert strange variants into the stream of commerce and consumption. I ask for people to send me snapshots of their items to share with others.
This is an ongoing global project, with makers from all over the world...In 2007 the project travelled to Manila, Beijing, and Istanbul for exhibitions and counterfeiting workshops."
There is something of an irony that we're praising this on a blog dedicated to the glossy fashion world which Counterfeit Crochet gently mocks, but we just love the idea and feel there's no point taking everything to do with fashion too seriously. And how much more fun is a knitted logo-ed bag than the ubiquitous real thing?
See more on the project's website, counterfeitchic.org, including crochet patterns and other DIY hints: