WASHINGTON — Federal authorities said Tuesday they have seized $350,000 worth of fake sports merchandise from international mail facilities and local street vendors in Philadelphia, where the National Hockey League held its annual Winter Classic on Monday.
The counterfeit bust, which snagged a total of 1,649 bogus products, took place in the run-up to the outdoor game at Citizens Bank Park, where the New York Rangers defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2.
U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit, working in conjunction with Customs and Border Protection officials, the Philadelphia Police Department’s Major Crimes unit and the NHL, launched an investigation on Dec. 28 and seized 150 international mail parcels and investigated nine local vendors during the course of the operation.
The vast majority of merchandise seized was illegally labeled Winter Classic jerseys, said John P. Kelleghan, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Philadelphia.
In addition to bogus NHL merchandise, ICE officials seized counterfeit merchandise bearing trademarks from the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
“Vendors who sell counterfeit goods to unsuspecting sports fans will be held accountable,” said Kelleghan. “These vendors sell inferior items, tarnishing the reputation of trademark holders like the NHL. Counterfeit goods also cost U.S. industries billions of dollars in losses each year.”
Kelleghan said ICE and Customs officials inspected international parcels as they entered the U.S., primarily by aircraft, in Philadelphia. He added that the majority of parcels were shipped to Philadelphia from China. Officials are continuing their investigation into who shipped the bogus goods from China and who was set to receive them in Philadelphia.
“This investigation was based on lessons we have learned in the past,” Kelleghan said. “We are finding that [counterfeiters] are using international mail to expedite products coming into the U.S., mostly from China.”
Officials also targeted vendors selling merchandise outside the venue and seized counterfeits from nine of them. No arrests have been made yet, Kelleghan said.
Officials also warned consumers about purchasing sports merchandise from random Web sites unless they are the domain of legitimate sports teams or leagues. Merchandise should have a hologram sticker or hangtag and a sewn-in or screen-printed neck label identifying an authorized licensee.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast