How luxury brands are looking to technology to stop the sale of fake goods.

By Emma Moneuse.

The luxury fashion resale industry is doing everything but slowing down. Platforms like The RealReal and StockX have made high fashion items more accessible, but this comes at a greater cost than what’s indicated on the price tag. As the resale industry grows, so too does the risk of buying fakes.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the value of imported fake goods worldwide reached over $509 billion in 2019, and that number has only increased in the past year. With the rising demand for counterfeit goods, authentication is more crucial than ever for brands and resellers.

Major European luxury conglomerates LVMH and Richemont, along with Prada, have recently joined forces with the nonprofit Aura Blockchain Consortium. Blockchain technology promises a secure data vault because the contents are decentralized and unable to be changed. The technology acts as an intamperable method to record transactions, making it appealing to companies looking to better secure their data. The Aura Blockchain will help these brands slow down the sale of counterfeits of their products by giving shoppers the option to track the origin and history of their purchase and ensure the authenticity. For the likes of LVMH, which owns brands like Dior and Louis Vuitton, and Richemont, whose subsidiaries include Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, the hope is that the blockchain can provide a solution to stop counterfeit sales and make consumers and brands feel more secure.

Technology has provided a method of authentication beyond what the human eye can achieve. As counterfeit items become more sophisticated, tech companies are creating apps to make authentication more reliable. Entrupy has created an app that employs an algorithm to instantly tell consumers whether a product, such as a rare sneaker or luxury bag, is real or fake. The technology employs computer vision which compares an item to a database of millions of images of real and counterfeit products to determine the product’s authenticity.

With the creation of the Aura Blockchain, consumers can only expect the launch of similar platforms that will establish a third-party authentication between consumers and brands. Consumers will likely never turn away from resale sites to buy from brands directly, making the ability to trace authentic, high-end products more important than ever.

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