In and of itself, news of police busting up a counterfeit handbag ring is not exactly breaking news. Enormous luxury brands put pressure on authorities in Europe and America to stanch the flow of fake bags into their markets, usually from Asian manufacturers and distributors unaffiliated with the mainstream luxury industry in any way. Police bust the rings fairly regularly, proudly displaying crates of confiscated goods on the news, only to have more sprout up in the defunct rings’ places. If you’re interested in high-end handbags, you probably know this narrative well by now.
When I heard about a counterfeit Hermes ring recently raided in France, which was first reported in Women’s Wear Daily last week, I expected the story to be much the same. What I didn’t expect was that Hermes employees would also be implicated. So far two have been dismissed, although it’s not clear if they were also among the dozen arrested, and the company thinks that several more employees might be involved. Care to guess what they were doing? (more…)