Sometimes knock offs are close enough to the real thing that you don't have to shell out hundreds just to get the style you want.
This is not one of those times.
I'm here to break your heart and tell you that the infamous ebay "celebrity studded" "focco" knock off of Alexander Wang's Rocco does NOT match up to the original. Not at all. Did I need to though? I mean, duh.
I bought this "Focco" a little over a year ago after stumbling upon Laura's post (Buy Now, Blog Later) about her recent purchase of one. At that time, I had seen a lot of UK girls discussing this bag (most notably, the smell -- more to come on that later) and felt confident that it could be a pretty good knock off. I was apprehensive though -- I've never bought a knock off bag before and don't tend to buy much of anything off ebay. Since I had never seen any posts on a version of this knock off sold in the US, I went with the UK seller. I knew exactly what I would be getting from them and I didn't want to risk losing money on a terrible knock off from the US and then go back and get the UK one later. Because of that, it came out to be about $70 after conversion to USD (the only shipping option was $25 overnight British Royal Mail... hardly beneficial to me in PA.) I have since been told in YT comments that people were able to find the same bag from American ebay sellers for about $30. No clue who those are though, so don't ask me!
So. How do they compare?
1. Price. Even a small child can do the math on this one. $30-70 < $900. Savings.
But... you get what you pay for...
2. The "Focco" smells, excuse me.. smellED, like shit. That's one thing. When you first get it, it reeks of rotten fish... or a septic tank.... it's seriously gross. I aired it out in the bathroom for a few days before I even tried using it. The smell is gone now, but it really makes me wonder what chemicals are all over this thing.
Rocco, 1. Focco, 1.
3. The Focco is really lightweight, which is great for carrying around, because the Rocco is heavy as all hell and my back definitely aches when I tote this around all day. While this may seem like a point for the Focco, it's not really. The material and the construction is what makes this bag heavy and the lightness of the Focco feels extremely cheap. It's not made of leather, the pebbled texture is laughable, and the studs on the bottom are hollow and cheap feeling.
4. My Focco is much larger than my Rocco. I think it's too big. Don't like it. Much prefer the smaller size of the Rocco. Plus, the Focco is floppy and doesn't hold shape. Boo.
Rocco, 3. Focco, 1.
5. The "brass" studs on the Focco are tacks and do not feel sturdy. I barely used this bag; so if you were planning on using it a lot, I fear you may have some stud casualties. For me, an anal person, that would be really irritating to see a stud missing. It would drive me nuts. The Rocco studs are sturdy and I don't foresee them ever falling out.
6. They both come with straps (though I purchased the strapless option, at the time the site was out of strap versions and I was none the wiser -- I've seen and handled a strap version in the flesh though.). The Foccos that come with a strap have one that is long and easily adjustable, while the Rocco's is a little short for my taste -- no crossbody action happening unless you are a small child. Rocco strap length options can best be categorized as "short" and "way too short." I'm actually thinking about taking it to get another hole put in on the end of the strap to give it just a little more length. I'm 5'4, so the fact that it feels short on me should say something.
Rocco, 4. Focco, 2.
Overall, this knock off captures the esthetic of the studded bottom bag. If that's all you wanted, go for it. I, personally, don't like cheap feeling things, so it would never suffice for me. I've got the real deal and I'm never turning back. If you want the Rocco BAD and have plans to get it one day, don't waste your money. Put the $25 or $50 you were going to spend on any knock offs in a jar and start saving.
I recommend purchasing from SSENSE (where I got mine) because they do not charge sales tax for US customers -- saves a bundle compared to Shopbop. I've said it before, but 2013 is the year of quality over quantity for me, so I can safely say a one night stand with a knock off designer bag will never happen again. Carrying this around anyone who knows a real Rocco is truly a walk of shame.
I obviously don't need my "Focco" anymore, so if you're in the US and have $20 to spare, just shoot me an email (chelseawears [at] gmail [dot] com) and it can be yours.