The days of getting a near-identical-to-the-real-thing fake designer handbag may become a thing of the past, if Italian authorities get their way. In recent days, police in the country have shut down 410 websites selling fraudulent luxury fashion products. There were raids in 11 cities, including fashion capital Milan and the actual capital Rome.
For years, online outlets have been selling designer goods ‘from’ Prada and Patek Philippe, and getting away with it. Meanwhile, the luxury fashion industry has lost revenue and seen a dwindling of legitimate job opportunities. The Italian fashion industry brings in €60 billion to the economy every year. Fakes thrive on the black market, and escape paying tax. The practice has “obvious negative effects on the economy, in terms of job losses, tax evasion, connections with organised crime, exploitation of minors, security, health and damage to consumers,” said the Italian Finance Police in a statement.
Now 15 individuals are now being investigated by officials after the shakedown, which hopes to see an end to fake designer handbag sales never mind non-gold watches and bogus costume jewels. One may argue that the fashion industry has enough money and is making a ridiculous amount of euro from tote bags, but then you’re dismissing the work of artisans who have undergone years of training to deliver beautifully crafted products.
While we sometimes feel a little bit crestfallen at the price of a stunning handbag, it is a work of art, and it’s great to see the authorities clamping down on piracy in an industry full of people who work year-round to deliver the highest-standard products.
In other fashion counterfeit news, Chinese internet giant Alibaba is being sued over sales of fake Gucci and Saint Laurent. Kering, the parent group of some of the world’s leading fashion houses, is suing the commerce company for allegedly encouraging counterfeit products.