A Chanel bag for less than 5? How the craze for branded paper carriers attracts cash-strapped

A Chanel bag for less than 5 How the craze for branded paper carriers has sparked flood of fakes
Empty Chanel carrier bag selling for 135 on eBay
Counterfeits flood Chinese market where bags are big business

Designer label fans unable to afford the 1,500 necessary to buy a genuine Chanel tote are fuelling a whole new online craze: buying the paper shopping bags designer goods are sold in.

The often crumpled carrier bags are a world away from the designer articles they would once have held.

Nonetheless, the designer paper bags industry is becoming such big business that the market is being flooded with fakes.

ebay

ebay

Trend: Ebay is awash with empty bags from
labels such as Playboy and Chanel

In China the trend is growing at such a
pace that counterfeit designer carrier bags are now in production, according to China Daily.

Auction website eBay is awash with empty bags from
labels such as Playboy, Armani and Chanel, normally given to shoppers to
carry away their purchases.

Most of them are priced at less than 5, but a glossy black paper Chanel bag – with a branded plastic life buoy charm hanging from the rope handle – has already been pushed up to 135 by bidders with 12 days remaining until the auction closes.

Wang Xuesheng, who retails fake paper bags as well as paper
boxes exhibiting the logo of various brands from Hermes to Burberry told China Daily: 'Most people buy the bags only for the logo.

'In fact, if you take a
close look at the bag, you will easily discover that the material is
different from authentic ones.'

Many say that they use them on a daily basis to carry things around while others put them on display around their homes.

A glossy black paper Chanel bag - with a branded plastic life buoy charm hanging from the rope handle - has already been pushed up to 135 by bidders

A glossy black paper Chanel bag – with a branded plastic life buoy charm hanging from the rope handle – has already been pushed up to 135 by bidders

Yang Xiaoya, who owns paper bags from Gucci, Dior and Louis Vuitton added: 'Paper bags with a famous logo are better looking than ordinary ones.

'I use them to carry things or to contain presents for my friends. They are of good quality and very cheap.'

But many are flummoxed by the carrier bag craze.

City worker Alison McNicholas, said: 'I wouldn't buy a paper designer bag.

'People just use them to portray an image of wealth. It probably costs hardly anything to make them, it seems pointless to me and a bit self indulgent.'

Another concern is that many people buying the carrier bags could be using them to package
counterfeit goods to further dupe their customers.

In 2008 5 carrier bags designed by Anya Hindmarch for Sainsbury's created hysteria.

Hundreds of people camped outside of their local supermarkets to get their hands on the reusable carriers, which were later selling on eBay for up to 400.