Counterfeiting: Luxury market measures by Valeria Boi

Counterfeiting in fashion has a long history, but in the last decades the sophistication of counterfeit has evolved significantly over the years.

In the late 20th century and the 21st century counterfeiters became more savvy, producing high quality replicas that could be challenging to distinguish from genuine products. According to the Guardian counterfeits have increased by 10,000% in two decades.

It’s recent news that the Italian fashion house Gucci has returned to court to defend its brand against counterfeiting, suing overseas retailers such as Sam's Club, Century 21 and Lord & Taylor, accused of selling counterfeit products. 

The Internet has played a significant role in the proliferation of counterfeit fashion. Online marketplaces, social media platforms, and e-commerce sites have provided counterfeiters with new channels to sell their products.
Counterfeit fashion goods are often produced and sold at much lower price than the cost of authentic products. This makes them attractive to consumers looking for a cheaper alternative. There is a significant demand for luxury and designer brands in the fashion industry and counterfeiters are producing imitation products that mimic the appearance of popular and expensive brands.

Online marketplaces can be challenging to monitor and regulate every listing, making it easier for counterfeiters to reach a wide audience. Some consumers may not be aware of the ethical and legal implications of purchasing counterfeit goods. They could be attracted by lower prices without considering the negative impact on the fashion industry, including issues like exploitation of labor and the undermining of innovation.

With social media like Instagram and Tik Tok, it became easier to promote the purchase of counterfeit products by showing where to find the best duplicate item.
Fighting counterfeiting is a significant challenge for luxury fashion brands, as it can damage their reputation, erode consumer trust, and result in financial losses. As a result, many brands started using Blockchain Technology , unique holograms
 or watermarks that are difficult to replicate, using proprietary inks, fabrics, or materials that are challenging to source or duplicate.

Dior associates The Digital Certificate of Authenticity with the product to allow the customer to verify instantly the authenticity of the product, thanks to the information on its provenance stored on the Aura Private blockchain

The British fashion house Burberry is using image recognition software. Using a picture, the software can tell whether a product is fake or not. It analyzes every detail of the product and any imperfections are taken as a sign the item isn’t real.

Jimmy Choo uses "dupe killers", a tool to identify and eliminate duplicate entries or content within a database and file system. 

Efforts to combat counterfeiting involve a combination of legal actions, public awareness campaigns, and industry collaboration. Fashion brands, governments, and international organizations work together to implement measures to protect intellectual property rights, improve enforcement, and educate consumers about the consequences of purchasing counterfeit goods.

Customs authorities play a crucial role in combating counterfeiting through cooperation with international organizations, law enforcement agencies, and other customs agencies to share information, implementing various measures to detect, chase, and penalize those involved in the counterfeiting.

Another crucial point regards customers. Launching public awareness campaigns to educate consumers about the risks of purchasing counterfeit goods, also developing mobile applications that allow consumers to verify product authenticity easily.

Luxury fashion brands invest in anti-counterfeiting measures, including holograms, serial numbers, and legal actions against counterfeit producers, as mentioned previously. Despite these efforts, the counterfeit fashion market remains a persistent issue, causing financial losses for brands and raising concerns about the ethical and environmental impact of fake goods.

Counterfeiting is damaging deeply the creativity and reputation of the brands, their history and storytelling. And because these luxury brands are part of consumers' identities it’s important to preserve them with the combination of all the strategies.

Valeria Boi, London