Fake luxury store fools fashion influencers into paying hundreds for cheap shoes

A US discount shoe chain has fooled luxury fashion influencers into paying hundreds of dollars for shoes normally on sale for just US$20 (NZ$29).

Payless took over a former Armani store in California and renamed it 'Palessi'. It then stocked the shop with its cheap shoes and boots, re-priced them at up to US$600 (NZ$870), and invited a crowd of fashionistas to its opening event.

Around US$3000 (NZ$4370) worth of shoes were sold to the hipsters - who praised their purchases for their fine construction. The video of their reactions was then posted to YouTube.

"They are elegant [and] sophisticated," one shopper said in the Payless video.

"I could tell it was made with high-quality material," another commented.

Payless said it wanted to challenge the "image-conscious fashion influencer culture".

"The campaign plays off of the enormous discrepancy and aims to remind consumers we are still a relevant place to shop for affordable fashion," Payless chief marketing officer Sarah Couch told AdWeek.

The influencers have been mocked on social media, with some pointing out their inability to tell cheap shoes from expensive luxury designs.