How is AI battling counterfeit culture?
The rise of counterfeit fashion products is a growing concern for the industry, with many brands starting to turn to artificial intelligence for help in tackling the issue. According to Certilogo, a platform where you can check the authenticity of a product via codes, counterfeit products costed the fashion industry over €45 billion in 2020. The value of the fake and pirated goods market reached €2.75 trillion in 2021, triple the amount than it was in 2013, according to the Business of Fashion.
Interestingly, buying replicas is no longer perceived as taboo as it once was. On the contrary, social media platforms like TikTok have seen a surge in hashtags such as #bougieonabudget, #dupes, and #Reps, which offer affordable alternatives to luxury products. These hashtags have garnered billions of views, and guides on finding the best fake products are widely available online.
The impact of counterfeits for the fashion industry
With the advent of advanced technology, it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between genuine and counterfeit products. Previously, cheap knock-offs were easily recognisable for their inferior quality. However, today's fraudulent items are sometimes indistinguishable from the original product, putting luxury brands at the greatest risk as customers unwittingly pay full price for a counterfeit product from a fake website. According to Certilogo, about 20% of advertised products on social media platforms are fake. A shocking fact and something to be very wary of while we scroll on a daily basis!
Some fraudsters go to great lengths to imitate a brand's official online store. When the product arrives, it may look authentic but lacks the high quality of the genuine piece. Such practices damage the brand's image, giving the impression that a company known for its prestige and exclusivity is selling low-quality products. Counterfeit products are also detrimental to the environment and the workers who produce them. Fraudulent merchandise is often manufactured in unregulated factories with poor and hazardous working conditions. Workers produce cheap, low-quality products that deteriorate easily and are frequently discarded, contributing to the fast fashion industry's reputation as harmful to the planet, but for a higher price.
AI vs counterfeits
Fashion brands are turning to AI, a promising new technology that can accurately identify counterfeits. Through the use of machine learning algorithms, AI can analyse data such as images, text, and video, detecting subtle differences between authentic products and fakes. In addition, this technology can also scrutinise digital data such as product serial numbers, purchase orders, and payment information. By comparing the signatures of the original product to those of the counterfeits, AI can identify any discrepancies.
Some companies are even using smart labels as an extra layer of protection against fakes. These clothing labels are equipped with unique QR codes that allow the product to be tracked. When scanned, the item's origin is displayed, confirming whether it's an original or duplicate. Want to know more about digital tagging and how it could revolutionise the second-hand market? Check out our previous blog post here.
A lot of luxury fashion houses are now fighting back the issue through the help of AI technologies. Burberry, Jimmy Choo, LVMH are all using advanced technology to fight against counterfeit goods, preserve their reputation, and offer a personalised shopping experience for their customers.
- Burberry uses image recognition technology to detect counterfeit goods with 98% accuracy by analysing details in weaving and texture.
- Jimmy Choo uses Dupe Killers, an intellectual property tool developed by Deloitte, that functions similarly to Burberry's technology.
- LVMH's Patou has launched Authentique Verify, an AI-powered authentication system that allows customers to scan a digital fingerprint and verify the authenticity of a product.
- Louis Vuitton, owned by LVMH, has introduced a chatbot assistant to enhance the online shopping experience and offer personalised service to each customer, making it more difficult for counterfeiters to replicate.
As fraudsters and counterfeiters become more advanced, detecting fake products in the fashion industry has become a daunting task. However, AI-powered fraud detection software is opening up new possibilities for accurate detection and although concerns over the growing use of AI in the workplace are being raised, it looks like it might just play a very positive role in the fashion industry's fight against counterfeit products in this case .
[info sourced on euronews.com and fashionabc.org
Image 1 sourced on canva.com
Featured image & Image 2: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash]