Technology is Fighting Counterfeit Couture

The counterfeit world is everywhere. If you live in NYC you know all about Canal Street and Chinatown. If you live in San Francisco you know you can get really great fakes down around the Financial District. Hell, I used to have friends brag about how great their Rolex watch fakes were, back in the day. Think of it this way–if there’s a market for it, someone has already made a knock-off of the real thing.

That’s why the fashion powerhouse, Ferragamo’s announcement last year, and their resulting success has been so interesting. According to Luxury Daily, Ferragamo has been installing tiny RFID chips into their leather goods, clothing, and men’s goods since their 2014 pre-fall collection. Recently, Ferragamo has reported that those little tiny tags have thwarted the distribution and sale of roughly 50,000 counterfeited items around the world. That does not include the number of take down notices they have served to online advertisers showcasing fake goods. According to Ferragamo, in 2015 alone,they were able to prevent the sale of more than $17 million in counterfeited goods–of those more than 60% were Ferragamo belts. This week the company announced it’s going to embed the chips in more items like handbags and women’s shoes.

The tags can be found in the heel of a shoe (men and women’s) or the lining of a bag, but are only readable via an RFID reader from 4 centimeters away, according to Luxury Launches. So–to calm your luxury buying fears–no we aren’t going to see Minority Report style billboards coming to a bus stop near you–at least not anytime soon.

Plus, this isn’t the first time that technology has been embedded in luxury items to prevent counterfeiting. Brands that range from the likes of Zara and JCrew, to JC Penney use RFID tags to stop people from stealing from stores, while designers like Rebecca Minkoff are using the tiny tags to bring new experiences to their customers.  It’s simply one more tool that luxury designers are using to ensure that you get exactly what you pay for.

Ferragamo 2
Image via Ferragamo

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Abigail Bassett

Abigail Bassett is a full-time freelance journalist, content creator, and television, video, and podcast host whose work has appeared in publications like TechCrunch, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, Fortune, Motor Trend, Shondaland, Money Magazine, and on CNN. Her passion is telling unique stories that change the way we see, interact with, and relate to the world. She is also a Yoga Alliance Registered 500-hour yoga teacher.


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