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Counterfeit Fashion Thriving in the Downturn

Not exactly shocking, is it? The bad news for designers is that new ways of selling fake luxury goods are harder than ever for police to find.

“With business-to-business websites such as AliBaba and Tradekey,” US private investigator Rob Holmes tells the Independent, “anyone is able to have access to the factories in China where this stuff is manufactured. You can put $10 handbags up for sale online for $50, and you don’t even have to stock them. You just ask the factory to ship them, one by one, to each customer. So massive counterfeiting operations are conducted from single computers dotted around the world.”

In the past, it wasn’t a cake walk to catch counterfeiters, but it was easier to bust a dodgy shop or factory with the questionable goods and players in concentration. More than 4 million fakes reportedly were sold on eBay last year (11,000 per day), and a quick Google search for “cheap handbags” brings up a wealth of other outlets that specifically cater to knockoffs, making the trade more pervasive.

What’s the solution? You can try an auction site like, which monitors all its goods to spot fakes, or just use common sense. A Chanel 2.55 for less than £500? Dream on.


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