The Thoughtful Dresser, ie me, is opposed to fakes. I know that some fakes are made in the same factories by the same people who make 'genuine' Marc Jacobs, and that there can be a fine line between fake and authentic when a designer like Prada claims that a bag is made in Italy, when everything but the attachment of the handle is done in China.
Nonetheless, if you buy a fake you are doing so in the knowledge that it is likely to have been made by child labour and the the revenues used to fund drugs and terrorism. Be it on your own head, as my mother used to say.
I would be quite happy to buy a second-hand Chanel or Hermes bag on ebay, and the only thing that's stopping me is that I can't be certain it's not a fake. Now ebay has been ordered by a French court to pay 38.6 million Euros to LMVH, which owns Vuitton as well as much else:
In a statement, eBay said big luxury goods labels had a hidden agenda and were using fakes as a "stalking horse". "It is clear that eBay has become a focal point for certain brand owners' desire to exact ever greater control over e-commerce. We view these decisions as a step backwards for the consumers and businesses whom we empower every day."
The group, which saw around $60bn worth of goods sold across its platforms last year, says that as a host for independent vendors, it has a limited responsibility and capacity to regulate what is sold. But luxury goods groups have accused eBay, which earns a commission on sales, of facilitating forgeries and fakes by providing a marketplace for vendors who knowingly sell counterfeit items.
The site is also facing other lawsuits worldwide: the New York jeweller Tiffany & Co has sued the site for turning a blind eye to sales of counterfeits, describing it as a "rat's nest" of fake goods. It also faces action from L'Oreal in the UK and five other European countries.
It's certianly true, as Dana Thomas demonstrated in her excellent book Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre, that luxury goods manufactuers do indeed want to control distribution of goods. Did you know you can't buy a Chanel bag online anywhere, not even at Neiman Marcus' website? But it's also true that you have to be very savvy indeed to work out who is and who is not selling fakes on ebay. My own tip is always to buy from people who selling from their own wardrobe, and never from anyone who is selling multiples of the same thing.