The replica industry has been around for a long time. Depending on if you have the know-how, this industry can actually be a very profitable one. It is illegal to sell replicas as if they are the real brands in most developed countries. However, if you are honest about what you are selling, and do not copy the brand name exactly, the replica industry is perfectly legal and legitimate. It is also one of the few industries that is recession-proof. The replica watch industry actually recorded an increase in profit during the recession, since most people could no longer afford designer accessories, yet still wanted to maintain their lifestyle.
Some replicas are very poorly made. If you decide to invest in replicas that make it painfully obvious that they are knock-offs, then you probably will not make a lot of money. Replicas need to be made so that they are practically identical to the real thing. Well-made replicas make it impossible to tell the difference between a real thing and a knock-off unless you examine the actual materials of the item up close. If your replicas are almost identical to the real thing, then you could make good money from investing in the replica industry.
However, it is illegal to use a companys trademarked brand name. It is also illegal to use a watchs design. Both these traits are copyrighted to the watchs original manufacturer. It is estimated that the replica industry causes a one to three billion dollar loss per year to the real manufacturers. The majority of replica items are made in China. Some are made with some precious metals and materials (like gold and leather) and these are known as high-end replica. Others are not made with any precious materials and are known as low-end replica. Sometimes the replica are cheaper than the brand name by a very significant amount, and sometimes replica are only cheaper than the brand name by a little bit. The latter is the one that is usually marketed (falsely) as the real deal.
Those who are successful in the replica industry must be very fashion-savvy and must have a good understanding of the fashion-industrys constantly evolving trends. The whole point of replicas is so that the individual can be a part of the most recent fashion styles. No one wants a replica of last seasons fashions, or last years it item. They also need access to the real products in order to be able to fashion something very similar to it. It is hard to make a copy of a product simply by looking at its pictures. High-end replica makers usually have the brand name product and mimic it very carefully and thoroughly.
The replica industry is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. It is illegal in some countries, but completely legitimate in others. Most people will avoid breaking their local laws by purchasing their replica items online. Since there are no copyright laws in other countries, purchasing from them is technically legal.