A storm is brewing down under as Australian influencers have been found out to be touting fake designer goods as if they are real. Sacrilege!
In mid-November, an Instagram account called ‘Borrow My Balmain’ (which has since been deactivated) started getting traction. With 10.9K followers, it describes itself as ‘Australia’s leading rental for high-end labels off the runway’. It appeared to show luxury clothing and accessories from the likes of Dior, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana that could be rented from their Melbourne showroom, by email or even DM.
Influencers like Aussie model Steph Claire Smith and singer-actress Natalie Bassingthwaighte were some of the many that affiliated themselves with the company. The latter even wrote a blog post extolling its virtues: “I came across ‘Borrow my Balmain’ on Instagram which is a high-end luxury rental platform. Think, Gucci, Valentino, Dior, you name it. I wore a super hot Balmain dress as seen below and more recently a Gucci dress straight off the runway!”
Aspiring insta-thots, BEWARE! Australian account @borrowmybalmain has been purchasing fake @Dior from @ebay and renting it out as the real thing for profit. Have local Aussie influencers @chloemaggs and @stephclairesmith been duped or have they willingly participated in their endor$ement? We’re thinking the latter. Just look at that janky ass embroidered sun with googly eyes 👀!…not so exemplary of the skilled petit mains of the world’s most storied couture house. BTW @vogueaustralia, you should probably take your post of Chloe in the knockoff down! #dior #christiandior #borrowmybalmain #vogue #vogueaustralia #blogger #influencer #chloemaggs #stephclairesmith #couture #embroidery #knockoff #copycat #dietprada #petitmain #mariagraziachiuri
Some, notably Harper’s Bazaar, were quick to question the legitimacy of Borrow My Balmain. How could a company that sprung up from nowhere afford to invest in runway items that cost tens of thousands of dollars? And, what business model allowed them to loan out such high-value items via Instagram’s direct messaging?
The sleuths at cult social media account @diet_prada did some digging, and it didn’t take long to show that some of the pieces they’ve been touting are fakes. To be fair, they aren’t even good replicas at that. Borrow My Balmain have acknowledged and attempted to bat away the allegations suggesting that this is a one-time incident.
The brand took to Insta to write: “We have a close relationship with a well-known stylist (who we won’t name yet for legal reasons) who a few of our pieces were purchased from and we were obviously under the impression were authentic and have now come to the relation were in fact replicas.”
They continued to add that any accusation that more than this single item is fake is ‘absolute defamation’ and they have ‘receipts’ to prove they’ve purchased authentic items from trusted retailers.
For a company touting designer goods, you’d think, née hope that they would have more rigorous quality and provenance checks. And, you’d hope that an influencer would be more considered before they use their clout.