Foakley is such an accepted word that websites openly sell “Foakley” glasses. For instance, Fake Oakleys claims to be a US company having a US address, and sells Foakley Radarlocks for $13 – it has the Oakley logo at the top of the homepage however the word “Foakley” is all over the site, plus it openly states the glasses are knock-offs. Of course, the web page is not really US-based: it ships via EMS, the Chinese state-owned courier firm.
But this really is far from the only website selling Oakley knock-offs. You can find Foakley sellers on Alibaba, DHgate, and other Chinese online merchants. A British cycle industry executive told BikeBiz that all of the riders in his cycling club who wore Oakley’s have, in fact, been wearing Foakleys for at least the last few years.
Oakley is owned by the $9bn Luxottica Selection of Italy, the world’s largest eyewear company. 81-year-old Leonardo Del Vecchio, the group’s founder, bestrides the sector like a Ray-Ban-wearing Colossus. (Luxottica also owns Ray-Ban.) The Guardian has an excellent long-read on the £74bn specs biz, and Del Vecchio’s dominance.
Luxottica acquired Oakley for $2.1bn in 2007. The audience also makes and distributes eyewear brands including Chanel, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, and Versace. Luxottica doesn’t just dominate manufacturing and distribution it also dominates retail: it owns 7,000 stores around the world, including Sunglass Hut, the market leader. When pre-takeover, Oakley was starved of use of Sunglass Hut its stock plummeted making the sale to Luxottica a foregone conclusion.
Mark Ferguson of Melbourne, Australia, is in surgical device sales. He vlogs as “CyclingMaven”. Among his most popular videos is on the technical merits of Foakleys. “We pay a premium for a lot of things within australia. My Oakleys, with lenses, were pushing nearly AU$600. I stick them on a [bike storage] cage; within a couple of hours, these were gone.To switch them would be expensive. Somebody sent us a link at Aliexpress. My original thought was “no”; it didn’t feel right. But curiosity got the greater of me, and i also bought some. And the quality was shocking – I couldn’t believe how good these people were. For $30.
“Will they be made in exactly the same factory as Oakley Sunglasses Cheap? I don’t know, but a lot of people who buy these fakes will rationalise it that way. Not everyone feels comfortable buying counterfeit products. “The anti-establishment side of me says, look, here’s an organization selling pieces of plastic for AU$500. Within my mind, they’re ripping people off. I don’t care about the investigation and development. There’s always gonna be somebody innovating. If Oakley would disappear off the face of the earth tomorrow, various other company would replace them, and probably wouldn’t charge just as much money for their products. These companies bend people over; they drive them to get a ride. Because situation I’ve got no difficulties with checking out the counterfeit product side of things.
“Whenever I handled Oakley glasses belonging to friends I thought “these are simply pieces of plastic with some nice branding upon them.” I searched on eBay for “cycling sunglasses” and located a set that bore a striking resemblance to Oakley Jawbones and another pair that bore a striking resemblance to Oakley Radarlocks. They were about £8 each, delivered from China. They didn’t hold the Oakley branding on the photos on the eBay listing however when the Jawbones arrived they had Oakley branding, including “Made in the us” stamped on the arms, and also the oval Oakley emblem was where you’d expect to see it. These were indistinguishable from genuine Jawbones. They txkeay well (nevertheless the arm broke after a number of months).
“The “Radarlocks” was included with free lenses as well as a case. They fitted really well, and I’m still making use of them. “I tell others they’re fake. There’s perverse satisfaction to get something cheaper than somebody else. We have no brand loyalty, I didn’t buy them for the cachet in the brand, I simply would like them to maintain the bugs out of my eyes, rather than be upset once i inevitably lose them.
“When I see Oakleys out in the wild I take a look at them critically. The company is diluted by all the fakes out there. “I purchased fakes because I actually have terrible trouble getting sunglasses that fit and so i didn’t wish to spend plenty of cash on a trial and error purchase. £8 means they’re throwaway.
“I needed a hot debate using a guy who said his optician had said you couldn’t get adequate UV-A and -B protection in every sunglasses for under £20 a lens. I took mine down to the medical physics lab in my hospital, as well as the chap who tests each of the equipment for the dermatology UV labs has got the machinery to check UV-A and -B. In addition, i took some expensive and real Ted Baker casual sunglasses, too. Each of them passed 100 percent.
“The lab manager stated it was hard to get polycarbonate plastic that lets UV-A and -B through – he needs it for many of his applications and needs to get it from the special source. By default polycarbonate doesn’t let UV through. When manufacturers say you’ll be blinded should you wear cheap sunglasses that’s not really a very strong case whatsoever.
“I wouldn’t buy fake carbon parts. I’ve bought cheap tools from China, such things as spoke keys for pennies. “My pals are indifferent; they don’t give a great deal of stuff. “There are some chaps in the club who have to have the most recent expensive thing. I haven’t spoke with them about fakes, partly because I don’t want to piss on their own parade. “I could afford to buy the real thing. The reason why I don’t always is the same reason I get a £1 loaf of bread in Tescos instead of from an artisan baker and pay £20 to get a loaf that’s been brought over from France that morning by private jet.
“You would like something which does the work for a reasonable amount of money. As well as me a pair of Fake Oakley Sunglasses for £100 or maybe more is excessive. “I’m ready to spend considerable amounts of cash on several things. This may not be rational, but it’s how I view things. “Terrorism, child labour? It hasn’t occurred to me. Not for bike parts. It’s potent food for thought. If it’s true, that will put me right off. “This can be messages put out by large corporations with vested interests when all I’m probably doing is supporting a small Chinese business.
“I never bought any pirated DVDs. I certainly downloaded some stuff from Napster during the day. Now it’s just quicker and easier to buy from legitimate sources. “I understand the buying price of the plastic in a pair of Oakley’s is just a small element of their costs, having said that i don’t want to fund their marketing along with their sponsorship, I am only willing to fund the item.”