Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

ebay experiences good or bad?

I have successfully sold quite a few things on ebay, but have bought very little. My recent Gucci scarf transaction went like clockwork and I'm very pleased with it.

My rules are: only buy from individuals; never buy from anyone selling in bulk; look to see their feedback for buying as well as selling; never buy from abroad; ask a lot of questions.

When selling give clear descriptions, brutal honesty about the condition, measure everything and only give refunds if the item is not as described. I had one return when I washed an Issey Miyake skirt which had a small mark, and assumed it had come out in the wash and didn't check before I sent it. It hadn't. Also if you really don't want to let something go for .99p, put a minimum price on it.

Do share your own experiences.

The women who run the high street

These are the eight women who run British high street fashion, being asked how they are going to have us buy, during the credit crunch. Interesting to note that none of these women is size 0 and most of them are, well, my size and shape.

Their success is one reason why our high street remains a world-class symbol of vibrancy. Because if the chains have been partly shaped by us - the stroppy British consumer - then it's because the retail talents on these pages knew how to respond. These are women who developed their passion as fashion-mad youngsters in the Eighties “designer decade” and cut their business teeth in the boom-and-bust early Nineties. They don't see fashion just as a commodity. They wear it, love it and adapt it through good days and fat days, recessions and bull markets. They know what we want because they want it, too. And they all wear their own brands - with the occasional bit of Marni, Margiela, Westwood, Balenciaga and YSL thrown in (hell, they're fashionistas and they're on great salaries).

They will need all their intuition and ballsiness in the coming months as economic factors bite harder. But they reckon they're ready for it.

ebay fined £30m for selling fakes

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.