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Fixing Fakes

What happens to counterfeit merchandise after it has been stopped at customs?  Some is destroyed, some is redistributed (a controversial practice), and some is altered and made legitimate by Barry Forman.

The middle column of today's Wall Street Journal reports that "Mr. Fix-It," a rag trade veteran, has established a business that corrects errors made in overseas garment factories but not discovered until the merchandise reaches the U.S.  From sleeve lengths to weak seams, mistakes that would otherwise result in rejection of the goods can be corrected by Santa Fe Finishing.

Among the problems that call for Forman's expertise are counterfeit goods that have been confiscated by customs.  While some are presumably beyond repair, others can be salvaged with minor alterations that remove the offending trademarks.  As the WSJ reports:

In late August, for instance, 17,000 denim pants made in a Chinese factory were confiscated at the port of Long Beach, after U.S. customs officials determined that the zippers on the garments were counterfeits of a Japanese fastening brand called YKK.

To get out of the jam, a representative for the brand called on Mr. Forman.  Fifteen employees headed to the warehouse and set up a makeshift factory, complete with lamps, tables, and tools.  They spent the next five days grinding off the fake YKK marks with handheld drills.  Because the pants now had generic zippers -- rather than counterfeit YKK's -- U.S. customs officials approved the change and let the jeans enter the country, just one week late.

If that's all it takes to fix a fake, then let 'er zip!

Blouse zipper with counterfeit YKK erased