Fashion brands want you to be able to identify fake designer merchandise

Editor’s Note: This story is part of CNN Style’s ongoing project, The September Issues: A thought-provoking hub for conversations about fashion’s impact on people and the planet.


To become a “master” authenticator at Fashionphile — the highest level of training to weed out designer fakes at the luxe online marketplace — takes more than 8,000 hours of rigorous schooling, according to the company. Trainees learn to quickly spot an error in the date format inside a Louis Vuitton bag, for example, or know the correct metal alloy makeup of a Cartier watch.

Its competitor, The RealReal, also relies on human senses and instinct — recognizing the smell of a $25,000 Hermès Birkin bag, or the feel of its smooth Barenia leather — but the retailer’s first round of checks is undertaken through AI, with software trained on 30 million images to discern nearly imperceptible differences in the stitching

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