The world of fashion is quite incredible. Some people don’t mind paying big bucks for certain brand names or labels. In fact, many people would actually prefer to pay more money to know that their shirt or dress came from a label they love. And those labels aren’t cheap.
As with just about everything, it seems that the big names in fashion aren’t immune to scams and fake products. The world of counterfeit goods is also not insignificant, accounting for more than three percent of the goods that are traded throughout the world, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
In fact, it is estimated that all those fake items being brought into the United States were worth roughly 509 billion dollars in 2016. This importing of counterfeit merchandise seems to be growing, and it’s not all limited to just fashion-related items. Fake products run the gamut from baby formulas to makeup to pricey handbags to cell phones.
So what can companies do to combat this concerning rise in counterfeit goods?
Awareness of the Damages
First of all, raising awareness of these occurrences can help. While a knockoff purse may not pose a true danger to your health (just your wallet, and maybe your pride), fake baby formula can have tragic consequences. Anything that people ingest or put on their skin, like makeup or moisturizers, can have an impact on their health if the ingredients are not up to standards.
Technology-related items can also pose some serious problems. An unscrupulous mobile phone seller may provide ‘fake’ phones to buyers that then malfunction, causing burns or fires to occur.
A Teaching Moment
When it comes to fashion, falsified labels can really have a negative impact on a designer’s overall brand reputation or perception among consumers. If someone buys a Louis Vuitton handbag for several hundred dollars, believing it to be an authentic piece from the brand, and it falls apart, then their view of that brand will drastically change.
And we all know how easy it is to complain about a retail experience that goes wrong, so that person will likely tell friends. This can have a ripple effect, especially if the counterfeit products reach hundreds of consumers.
Fashion brands may want to consider telling their customers how to spot a fake item posing as their quality merchandise. This can help head off some of the brand damage that would come from loyal customers inadvertently buying a fake handbag or ‘designer’ dress. It’s a slightly more proactive way to combat those counterfeit dangers.
Blockchain to the Rescue?
As part of a brand’s approach to helping prevent or track fraudulent products, they may want to consider blockchain. Yes, blockchain tends to make many people think about digital cryptocurrency for the most part. But it is so much more than that.
As a secure, encrypted digital storage solution (to vastly simplify it), blockchain can actually help track items. It’s already being used with agriculture and food chain supplies because it can keep track of the conditions during shipping and distribution.
Similarly, blockchain can keep track of where a product comes from–providing a way for a brand’s loyal customers to verify that they purchased an authentic product.
Fashion Brands Embracing Blockchain
In fact, some big labels in fashion are already embracing the many advantages of blockchain. Louis Vuitton is one, but Bulgari has also leveraged blockchain. Karl Lagerfeld’s estate also drew on blockchain technology when it came to their catalog of pictures, converting them to non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for people to buy.
Building Blocks of Fashion’s Future
Counterfeit items are obviously an issue for a variety of brands. The fashion industry icons are beginning to see how blockchain can help them in their fight against fake merchandise. Stay tuned to see what comes next with fashion and blockchain!