Graham Wetzbarger - The world of authentication


"Graham Wetzbarger" is a world-renowned authenticator with decades of experience behind him. His job, and passion, is to authenticate second-hand luxury brand items and make sure that no buyer will ever be tricked into purchasing counterfeit items.

Everyone strives for perfection, especially counterfeiters who are trying to sell knock offs of luxury and high-end brands and make a fortune out of it. That’s why the second-hand fashion market needs people to identify and root out fakes, someone like Graham. Graham Wetzbarger is a world-famous luxury fashion authenticator who taught himself the art of spotting a fake from a mile away and created a whole business around it, becoming the CEO and founder of Luxury Appraisals & Authentication. 

When he was young, Graham loved luxury fashion, but as it was “too out of hand”, he tried to find great fashionable pieces in vintage and thrift shops, but he soon encountered a problematic situation that only got worse over the years and that unexpectedly became the focus of his future career: counterfeits. 

Counterfeits are exact imitations of valuable items by luxury brands, from bags to shoes to sunglasses. If in the past counterfeiters didn’t try that hard to mimic every single detail and just settled for meekly passing as luxury brands, as technology got better, so did counterfeiters. “They’re moving online, out of alleyways and street corners and shopping malls, to really sophisticated websites”, making their business seem more legit and fooling naive customers, charging them even 400€ for a cheap copy of a luxury bag. Historically, the top three most counterfeited brands have been Louis Vuitton, Nike and Adidas, but in the last five years or so, Gucci has been getting closer to the podium, as the counterfeits are getting dangerously similar to the original iconic bags. 

Apart from working in his authentication company, Luxury-Appraisals, Graham is also an advocate for the luxury resale industry, as he shares his wisdom and knowledge on “the gospel of buying resale” with his community and even abroad. He encourages people to learn about the art of authentication and urges them to “have an eye for detail”, really getting passionate about what they’re doing and most importantly, why they’re doing it. 

A great technological improvement that could help the resale market to eliminate counterfeits is the creation of NFTs and blockchain certificates. Thanks to them, customers are able “to prove an item provenance” and check if “the materials and manufacturing [are] being ethically and sustainably” sourced, hopefully making it easier to stay away from fakes and giving an even bigger value to second-hand purchases. 

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*All quotes are taken from an interview Graham Wetzbarger released in September 2021.


Photo by : Ryan Pfluger