The hand-crafted Louis Vuitton bags made on sewing machines

The luxury goods brand Louis Vuitton misled the public by suggesting its expensive leather bags were hand-made, according to the advertising watchdog.

Louis Vuitton, part of the LVMH group, ran advertisements showing workers using a needle and thread and other artisanal techniques. Wording emphasised the individual attention to detail lavished on each product.

While acknowledging the company's use of hand crafting, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that Louis Vuitton could not justify the message because it also used sewing machines and would not reveal how much work was done by hand.

The ruling is a setback for the 156-year-old French firm, which markets its monogrammed bags as elegant examples of workmanship in an age of mass production. They are popular with the wealthy and famous, selling for between £425 for a Speedy to £2,400 for L'Ingénieux.

The two adverts were highly stylised, redolent of Renaissance paintings, and featured models instead of real workers.

One entitled "The seamstress with linen thread and beeswax" had a photograph of a woman stitching the handle of a handbag. Under the picture, the text stated: "A needle, linen thread, beeswax and infinite patience protect each overstitch from humidity and the passage of time... With so much attention lavished on every one, should we only call them details?"

Underneath a picture of a woman making folds in a wallet, another ad said: "In everything from Louis Vuitton, there are elements that cannot be fully explained... How can five tiny folds lengthen the life of a wallet?"

The company declined to give full details of its production techniques. Explaining that the images were a homage to the craftsmanship of its 200 artisans, it said there were more than 100 stages of production for each bag and wallet. Hand sewing machines were used for some aspects because they were "more secure and necessary for strength, accuracy and durability".

Louis Vuitton, which had sales of £1.7bn last year, argued that the use of hand sewing machines was part of what would be expected to amount to "hand made" in the 21st century. But the ASA said the public would interpret the image of a woman using a needle and thread alongside the claim "infinite patience protects each overstitch" to mean that the bags were hand stitched.

Louis Vuitton did not divulge how much was done by hand. The ASA said: "Because we had not seen evidence that demonstrated the extent to which Louis Vuitton products were made by hand, we concluded the ads were misleading." The firm said it supported the ASA and would comply with the ruling.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
tv
Voices
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
tech
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    BI Manager - £50,000

    £49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

    BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

    £48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

    VB.Net Developer

    £35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

    SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it