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Payless Shoes made up a fake luxury shoe brand and fashion influencers totally fell for it

The "Palessi" social experiment set out to prove a point—and boy, did it.

Photo by Amanda Vick on Unsplash

Even fashion influencers aren't experts at spotting luxury dupes.

Have you ever heard of Palessi shoes? It's a luxury shoe brand that only sells its shoes in pop-up events in upscale malls. But if you want to buy these shoes, you have to be one of the chosen VIPs, since shopping at Palessi is by "invitation only."

Palessi looks like what you'd expect a luxury pop--up to look like, with a sleek, modern feel and each shoe being highlighted in its own lighted space. And the shopping experience does too, with young, hip, model-gorgeous employees dressed to the nines showing off the unique, stylistic features of each shoe before casually mentioning their $645 price tag.

If you're one of the fashion influencers invited to shop at this new luxury shoe store, you wouldn't bat an eye at that price. After all, the Palessi brand means something, and that's the going price for a high-quality, luxury shoe, right?

Right. Except Palessi isn't a real brand, and that $645 pair of shoes actually cost $35 at Payless.

Yes, the exact same pair of shoes.

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