Foakley is such an accepted word that websites openly sell “Foakley” glasses. For instance, Cheap real Oakleys claims to be a US company with a US address, and sells Foakley Radarlocks for $13 – it has the Oakley logo on top of the homepage but the word “Foakley” is all over the site, and it openly states that the glasses are knock-offs. Needless to say, the site isn’t really US-based: it ships via EMS, the Chinese state-owned courier firm.
But this can be far from the only real website selling Oakley knock-offs. You can find Foakley sellers on Alibaba, DHgate, along with other Chinese online merchants. A British cycle industry executive told BikeBiz that each of the riders in his cycling club who wore Oakley’s have, actually, been wearing Foakleys for around the last several years.
“Determining should they be real or counterfeit can be tough,” admits Oakley with an official FAQ. Indeed, purchasers of fake Oakleys have found that the lenses and other parts are interchangeable with genuine Oakleys. An often seen claim online would be that the fakes fry eyes because, unlike expensive and genuine Oakleys, they let through ultra-violet radiation. This is simply not true. Fake Oaks have been lab-tested and discovered to bar UV-A and UV-B.
Oakley lenses are made of polycarbonate, and so are the fake lenses. An intrinsic property of polycarbonate is it blocks UV. “I don’t want to pay what Oakley are charging; they’re just bits of plastic,” is a very common complaint on cycle forums and chat-rooms.
Those who wouldn’t buy fake bicycle frames or fake parts aren’t so fastidious with regards to Foakleys, as can be viewed through the interviews BikeBiz has conducted with three purchasers. Consumers feel they’re being “scammed.”
Oakley is properties of 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 just like a Ray-Ban-wearing Colossus. (Luxottica also owns Ray-Ban.) The Guardian has a really good 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 such as 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 current market leader. When pre-takeover, Oakley was starved of usage 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”. One of his most widely used videos is on the technical merits of Foakleys. “We pay reasonably limited for a number of things in Australia. My Knockoff Oakleys, with lenses, were pushing nearly AU$600. I stick them over a [bike storage] cage; within several hours, these people were gone.To change 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 bought some. And the quality was shocking – I couldn’t believe how good these were. For $30.
“Could they be produced in the same factory as Oakleys? I don’t know, but a lot of people who buy these fakes will rationalise it like that. Not everyone feels comfortable buying counterfeit products. “The anti-establishment side of me says, look, here’s a company selling bits of plastic for AU$500. Inside my mind, they’re ripping people off. I don’t worry about the investigation and development. There’s always likely to be somebody innovating. If Oakley were to disappear from the face from the earth tomorrow, some other company would replace them, and probably wouldn’t charge the maximum amount of money for his or her products. These companies bend people over; they drive them for a ride. In that situation I’ve got no issues with studying the counterfeit product side of things.
“My “Foakley” videos have blown up. They’re getting plenty of attention, many people are now buying fake Oakleys. Studying the comments, and exactly how it’s getting an impact on other companies because individuals are actually exploring other available choices, makes me think “damn, that’s not good.” I don’t feel personally responsible since this market will almost certainly happen whether I did a video on it or not, however in retrospect, it’s not great. To promote counterfeit products is not really great, it has impact across other locations.
“I ride 30k each way to work – I wear stuff out. We get stiffed on a lot of products [around australia]. It’s much more expensive here. Along with a mate, I purchased some bright orange and white Jawbreaker copies. We have now “Foakley Fridays”, looking like complete idiots. “I tell people they’re fake. I put the Foakleys close to my genuine Oakleys on a Facebook posting. It’s for that look, not the company.
“I like the Foakleys – I find the lens really are a bit clearer. For 25 dollars, they’re disposable. “I purchased them two minutes after seeing the initial Cycling Maven video. “I want to know my helmet has become tested and passes standards, I’m not too fussed about glasses. We have better things to spend my cash on. I want more bikes or even more Lego for my son.” “I don’t like spending plenty of cash on sunglasses because I lose them, or they fall off my hat and acquire scratched or run over.
“Whenever I handled Oakley glasses belonging to friends I figured “these are just pieces of plastic with some nice branding on them.” I searched on eBay for “cycling sunglasses” and found a set that bore a striking resemblance to Oakley Jawbones and another pair that bore a striking resemblance to Oakley Radarlocks. These 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 that they had Oakley branding, including “Made in the united states” stamped on trsywe arms, as well as the oval Oakley emblem was where you’d anticipate seeing it. These people were indistinguishable from genuine Jawbones. They fitted well (but the arm broke after a number of months).
“The “Radarlocks” came with free lenses as well as a case. They fitted very well, and I’m still making use of them. “I tell other individuals they’re fake. There’s perverse satisfaction in getting something less expensive than another individual. We have no brand loyalty, I didn’t get them for your cachet from the brand, I simply would like them to help keep the bugs out of my eyes, and never be upset after i inevitably lose them.
“Once I see Oakleys outside in the wild I look at them critically. The manufacturer is diluted by all of the fakes available. “I purchased fakes because I have terrible trouble getting sunglasses that fit so I didn’t desire to spend a huge amount of money on a experimentation purchase. £8 means they’re throwaway.
“I had a hot debate using a guy who said his optician had said you couldn’t get adequate UV-A and -B protection in any sunglasses for less than £20 a lens. I took mine as a result of the medical physics lab within my hospital, and also the chap who tests all of the equipment for your dermatology UV labs has got the machinery to evaluate UV-A and -B. I also took some expensive and real Ted Baker casual sunglasses, too. Each of them passed 100 percent.
“The lab manager said it was challenging to get polycarbonate plastic that lets UV-A and -B through – he needs it for some of his applications and desires to purchase it from a special source. Automatically 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 at all.
“I wouldn’t buy fake carbon parts. I’ve bought cheap tools from China, such things as spoke keys for pennies. “My buddies are indifferent; they don’t give a great deal of stuff. “There are a few chaps inside the club who need to have the latest expensive thing. I haven’t spoke with them about fakes, partly because I don’t wish to piss on the parade. “I really could afford to buy the genuine article. The reason why I don’t always is identical reason I buy a £1 loaf of bread in Tescos rather than from an artisan baker and pay £20 to get a loaf that’s been brought over from France that morning by private jet.
“You want a thing that does the job to get a reasonable sum of money. And to me a pair of Oakley Black Friday 2018 for £100 or maybe more is excessive. “I’m willing to spend large amounts of cash on some things. This might not be rational, but it’s how I view things. “Terrorism, child labour? It hasn’t struck me. Not for bike parts. It’s potent food for thought. If it’s true, that would put me right off. “These could be messages put out by large corporations with vested interests when all I’m probably doing is supporting a little Chinese business.
“I never bought any pirated DVDs. I certainly downloaded some stuff from Napster during the day. Now it’s just quicker and much easier to buy from legitimate sources. “I understand the cost of the plastic in a set of Oakley’s is only a small part of their costs, but I don’t want to fund their marketing as well as their sponsorship, I am just only willing to cover the item.”