We are constantly asked questions by customers who are confused on why they should only buy authentic items. There are so many reasons why, and I thought I would take the opportunity to just cover a few here.
First and foremost – don’t you feel better knowing that you are carrying the real thing? It feels better, is made better and will last you for many years to come.
Beyond that, trademarks on items from Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and the other major designers are their intellectual property and as such, are protected by international laws (where they have registered their trademarks). It is illegal to buy/sell products with their trademarks that are not manufactured by the owners of these trademarks.
Now that is just the legality and of course there are many sellers of the Faux items out there. So you may ask – what harm is it? The designers charge so much for their items and I can buy something that looks exactly like it for 10% of the cost.
Well there is an issue. I’ve travelled to China, where there are factories that make these so-called designer items. I’ve seen how the people work in those factories and how they live in crowded dormitories making only a few dollars a day. The plumbing and living conditions are terrible – worse than any slum you can imagine. And the bosses keep getting wealthier – while their workers get sick. Is this something that you really want to support?
And China is not the only nation which creates these items. They are made in Bangladesh, India and other poor countries basically using slave and child labor. One horrible undercover news report showed a factory owner in one of these countries who chained the children to the work table and when they asked to go outside and play, broke their legs so that they couldn’t. Do you really want to support that kind of treatment?
According to OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) global trade in fake goods is worth nearly half a trillion dollars a year. Fakes are believed to be directly responsible for the loss of more than 750,000 American jobs. Everything from baby formula to medicine is counterfeited — sometimes with tragic results. Ingredients found in fake cosmetics include chemicals that can cause disfigurement or worse. Medicines made on the cheap and outside regulation can cause serious health problems.
It has been widely reported that many of these counterfeiters and the crime syndicates they work with deal in human trafficking, child labor, and gang warfare. Counterfeiting is used to launder money, and the money has been linked to truly sinister deeds – even Al-Qaeda.
LVMH, the luxury-goods group that includes Vuitton, Givenchy, and Celine, found that 90 percent of the Vuitton and Dior items offered on eBay in the first half of 2006 were counterfeits. They and other luxury brands have been working with eBay to remove these sellers and eBay recently started offering an authentication service to help stem the many fake items being sold on the site.
So what can you do?
First would be to buy the items directly from the brands that create them. If that is out of the question, and you need to buy a pre-owned item, the best first step in that would be to familiarize yourself with high-quality handbags/clothing to know that these items will never have shoddy or uneven or back and forth stitching or loose threads. The zippers will also be of the highest quality.
Then work with a reputable reseller – one that offers a guarantee that the item they are selling is 100% authentic.
We have worked with several authentication services over the years, but because of the newer “superfakes” that are in the market, we’ve now started working exclusively with Entrupy, which is an artificial intelligence service that has been recognized by many top brands for their work in authenticating items. Entrupy offers a computer system which microscopically analyzes the materials in the items to provide a trusted result, backed with a financial guarantee.
According to their own website, out of all the items Entrupy has authenticated, they have provided the correct result 99.1% of the time. More importantly, the number of times fakes have slipped through their system is less than 0.1%
We recently had a woman come in who had bought a Chanel purse quite some time ago and did not know if it was real or not. She had used several other services (where the so-called experts looked at the images of her purse) and then came to us to try the Entrupy service. The other services were divided as to if the purse was real or not, but Entrupy came back as the bag being authentic. When she went back and questioned the other services, they basically backed off on their assessment and said that it was probably a very rare item and beyond their expertise.
For us and for our customer’s peace of mind, we are beyond pleased to be able to offer this authentication service for items sold in our store. We also authenticate bags for customers who may have bought them elsewhere for a small charge. It’s a small charge – but peace of mind is priceless.