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The problem with counterfeit fashion apparel and how to protect your brand.

Every year, billions of dollars in counterfeit fashion apparel is purchased. There are tens of thousands of people buying what some believe to be discounted bargains when they are in fact buying cheap knockoffs.

Ten percent of fashion brand’s revenue is stolen

The UK has a dedicated counterfeit protection unit and in 2016, the OECD revealed in its “Trade in Counterfeit Products and the UK economy” report, that $17.6 billion worth of counterfeit goods were imported into the UK, $3.11 billion of which was accounted for by fake garments and accessories. Fake watches and jewelry, such as Rolex watches and Tiffany & Co. silver, made up $2 billion of the nearly $20 billion total.

The EU estimated last year that approximately €26.3 billion euros (about $27.7 billion) is lost in revenue from the clothing, footwear and accessories due to counterfeiting. This accounts for almost 10% of their total revenue. The OECD reckons that half a trillion dollars is spent on counterfeit fashion apparel worldwide. US, Italian and French brands are the worst affected.

The Anti- Counterfeiting group is a UK trade group with members that include Burberry, Michael Kors, Hermès and Jimmy Choo. Last year they helped the customs officials to seize more than 80,000 counterfeit fashion goods, worth £3.5 million or $4.3 million.

The fashion industry takes note of counterfeit knockoffs

The counterfeit issue is so prolific in the fashion world that many brands have tried to mock, draw attention to or gain from the issue.Gucci’s spring 2017 catwalk featured the brand name stamped in large letters on a basic white cotton jersey t-shirt, like many fakes across the world Dolce & Gabbana Got in on the action, displaying “D&G” and “I was there”, a jibe at Italian knockoffs and featured a white tank top with a misspelt “Dolce & Gabbaba” across the bust.

Gucci also hired a counterfeit spray painter, named GucciGhost to design their 2015 Milan collection, which became so popular the likes of Beyonce touted the authentic fakes. Diesel pulled a similar stunt opening up it’s own knockoff pop up shop in New York and revealing on the second day that it was behind the “fakes”. This resulted in the “Fakes” skyrocketing from $30 to $500 and queues around the block for the “authentic fakes.”

How we fight back against counterfeit fashion apparel

But regardless of the marketing levity counterfeit fashion goods plague the industry. How can you fight it? We help you to help protect your customers and yourself with a range of methods.

URL checkers

UGG shut down 60,000 websites selling replica footwear and clothing. Not only do they target the rogue traders, UGG works with their consumers to educate them about how to spot fakes.Their website has a URL checker to confirm if a website is an authorised UGG retailer, as well as images of real and counterfeit bags, boxes, heels, sole stitching and security labels.

Thomas Sabbo also searches for fake websites selling their counterfeited goods, but they also work with google to make sure that only authorised retailers come up in web searches.

Legal action

Legal action is another option that has a twofold effect, both shutting down and punishing counterfeiters, as well as scaring away others. A site blocking injunction can force internet service providers to block access to a website if it operates in a country where legal proceedings are too complex to shut it down.

The importance of technology

Moncler uses technology based solutions to protect their products with scannable RFID labels and QR codes on the labels of each Moncler product to enable customers to not only verify their item easily.

Tech solutions can also track counterfeit goods when customers encounter them and ultimately shut them down at the source.

Brand protection technology tracks ads on social media and targets the few rogue traders behind the multitudes of fake websites.

No design is safe, tech based solutions are the future of fashion’s safety.