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Diesel Fashion Week stunt pokes fun at knock-off artists

© AFP | People wait to enter the "Deisel" boutique in New York, where the real thing masquerades as knock-off

NEW YORK (AFP) - 

Diesel is ditching the catwalk to masquerade as knock-off merchants this Fashion Week, purporting to be a New York fake goods store only to flog customers the real thing.

It's a clever gimmick for the 40-year-old Italian label, which is using the fall/winter 2018 edition of New York's twice-yearly style fest to open a pop-up shop on Canal Street in Chinatown, the heart of knock-off city in the US financial capital.

Sweatshirts and T-shirts are stamped "Deisel" -- making the ruse believable. Hoodies cost $60, jeans $70 -- again believably fake. Except these clothes are limited-range, designer goods.

"We have so many counterfeit products all over the world I thought, 'Why can't we play with this problem that we have?'" Diesel founder Renzo Rosso told AFP, saying he believes that more than a million counterfeit Diesel goods are sold annually around the world.

"We created a fake product, a fake name, and we came to the counterfeit district."

The store opened under the radar last week and hundreds of customers have already browsed and purchased, with most of the initial buyers blissfully unaware that the joke's on them.

"People come and they think it is a fake product. When they discover it's not a fake product, they can sell it for three or four times the value!" said Rosso, 62.

Given the queue to get in, it's paying off. The store is scheduled to close on Monday, possibly even earlier if it runs out of stock.

Otherwise, customers can go down the street to buy fake Louis Vuitton bags or imitation Rolex watches.

© 2018 AFP