What used to be limited to a parasitic relationship with exclusive brands has spread to lower-shelf merchandise, experts said.
"Even lower-priced brands feel like a stretch in this economy, and people are more likely to trade down to counterfeits," Fordham University Fashion Law Institute academic director Susan Scafidi was quoted as saying in Saturday's Los Angeles Times.
"It's a huge problem because we are inexpensive fashion brand. We are Mecca for that," said Ilse Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association.
Lt. Mathew St. Pierre of the Los Angeles Police Department's commercial crimes division said there are limited resources to round up purveyors of counterfeit goods at Santee Alley, a bustling shopping district where bogus is given a price tag.
These days, sleight-of-label artists have embraced brands such as the Gap, Dikkies and Vans, the Times said.
"You are seeing stuff now you can find at Target, not just stuff you can find at Macy's and Neiman Marcus," St. Pierre said. "Five years ago, we wouldn't have seen $10 and $15 T-shirts being counterfeited like we do now."