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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Top Fashion Stories of the Week: September 15

New York Fashion Week commanded the majority of these last seven days, marking the beginning of an excitement-stirring fashion month. Among the highlights, Peter Do debuted at Helmut Lang; Ralph Lauren made an opulent return to the calendar, and Coach hosted its 10th-anniversary runway inside the New York Public Library. Now, fashion showgoers are off to London, where the English city’s designers have just begun showing.

In the midst of runways, several headlines had the fashion industry buzzing. Most notably, Sarah Burton announced her exit from the helm of Alexander McQueen, after more than two decades with the brand. Additionally, the CFDA unveiled the nominees for this year’s Fashion Awards; reports surfaced regarding a Kim Jones x Stefano Pilati collab, and Louis Vuitton launched a podcast.

Below, Hypebeast has rounded up the top fashion stories of the week so you can stay up to date on trends in the industry.

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What Pharrell’s Louis Vuitton Debut Means for Designers, Fashion, and Culture at Large

The Pont Neuf is Paris’s oldest bridge, dating back to the 16th century, and this summer, Louis Vuitton claimed it as its own. The brand decked the surface in a golden version of its signature checkerboard Damier motif and ferried some of the world’s most starry people—LeBron, Rihanna, DiCaprio, Beyoncé—to the front row in a boat. A gospel choir’s rousing benediction filled the air as models, including former Zegna designer Stefano Pilati and rapper Pusha T, sauntered down the runway illuminated by the warm mauve glow of a perfect Parisian sunset. The show closed with a surprise performance by Jay-Z. Vuitton had named Pharrell Williams as its newest men’s creative director back in February, but it wasn’t until this spectacle of extravagance that his arrival was well and truly announced.

It should be noted that there was plenty of navel-gazing and hand-wringing by the fashion press when the Pharrell news

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This ‘slow-fashion’ Seattle designer says there’s enough clothing

Her approach is based in her long history of thrifting, but also in Seattle’s vibrant sustainable-clothing scene. Brands like Girlfriend Collective and Prairie Underground, vintage stores like Indian Summer and Bon Voyage, and designers like Janelle Abbott are among the locals mindfully pushing the dial forward on what sustainable clothing can look like.

In mcLean’s case, that look might be anything from a bucket hat made from a Burberry scarf to patchworked hoodies to hand-dyed denim shorts.

“Seattle is going to be a big place for sustainable fashion,” mcLean declares. Despite our city getting forever blasted for being a paragon of anti-fashion, she believes our penchant for eco-conscious fashion is what makes us unique. “We don’t even second-guess being sustainable, it’s just the way we are,” she says.

Similarly, mcLean’s “bootleg” series brings DIY flair to discarded high-fashion items. She started bootlegging in high school when she flipped

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Pharrell, Louis Vuitton Accused Of Stealing Indie Fashion Designer’s Concept

Pharrell Williams and Louis Vuitton have been accused of stealing an indie designer’s concept.

On Tuesday (June 20), Skateboard P unleashed his debut collection with the fashion house in Paris, showing off the new SS24 garments as the brand’s new menswear creative director. However, on Thursday (June 22), indie fashion designer Kellie Ford took to TikTok to voice her opinion on a bag that looked too similar to a design she crafted.

In a series of videos, the woman detailed how, in 2021, she initially took an LV shopping bag, inserted it into plastic, accessorized it with a scarf, and created a DIY handbag.

Ford alleges that Williams and Louis Vuitton lifted her concept to create their latest handbag drop. “Fast forward to 2023, and under Pharrell’s creative direction for Louis Vuitton, they dropped what looks like is the bag. Yeah, it’s crazy,” she said in the footage.


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The Weekly Closeout: Louis Vuitton brings on Pharrell Williams, Belk plots more outlet stores

It’s been another week with far more retail news than there is time in the day. Below, we break down some things you may have missed during the week and what we’re still thinking about. 

From Petco’s expanded partnership with Canadian Tire to Peeps’ tie up with Pepsi, here’s our closeout for the week.

What you may have missed

Belk to open more outlet stores

Regional department store Belk opened its first outlet store earlier this month in Greeneville, Tennessee. When asked if there were plans to open additional locations, the company said that it was waiting to see how customers responded to the store.

Exterior shot of a Belk Outlet store.

Courtesy of Belk


The retailer quickly moved ahead with expansion plans, though. It will open between four and six Belk Outlets by the middle of April, according to a company spokesperson. 

Moody’s on Tuesday downgraded Belk to a Caa3 rating from Caa2. The downgrade “reflects

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This week’s best-dressed stars: Fann Wong, Fiona Xie, Jesseca Liu and more at the Louis Vuitton fashion show

Louis Vuitton held their Spring/Summer 2023 trunk show on March 1 and front row stars Chantalle Ng, Jesseca Liu, Fann Wong and Fiona Xie came dressed to impress for the occasion in bold looks by the French luxury house. Elsewhere, Eleanor Lee and Glenn Yong slayed at the Maison Margiela x Gentle Monster pop-up. 

Keep scrolling for stars who wowed us with their #OOTDs.

Fann Wong

Fann showed off her gams in a mini and colourfully dotted Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama heels at the Louis Vuitton show.

Chantalle Ng

Stepping out in style! Chantalle reminds us of Cleopatra in her opulent gold two-piece. 

Jesseca Liu

Also going for gold was Jesseca who paired a metallic ruffle top with cargo pants for a sexy-meets-sporty look. She added a touch of whimsy with a dotted purse.

Fiona Xie

Fiona kept her look more pared down by opting

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Pharrell’s Joopiter Platform to Auction High Jewelry by Lorraine Schwartz

Pharrell Williams is not taking a break from pharrell-williams-black-ambition-project-prize-mentorship-1235553399/” data-ylk=”slk:his personal projects;elm:context_link;itc:0″ class=”link “his personal projects as he begins work as Louis Vuitton’s new men’s creative director.

The multihyphenate is holding the first high jewelry-specific auction for his Joopiter platform this month in partnership with Lorraine Schwartz.

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The auction, “A Journey Through Gems,” will include vintage and new designs by Schwartz as well as select, rare loose stones.

Schwartz said of the auction in a statement: “I was lucky enough to meet Pharrell over 20 years ago, and we’ve built an incredible friendship through a mutual appreciation for the most exquisite and unique gems in the world.

“To me, ‘A Journey Through Gems’ is not only a curation of the finest bespoke high jewelry available now, but also the story of our

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Africa’s coolest fashion designers will soon have their clothes in a s

When you visit a chic shopping area–say, the Meatpacking District in New York or the Champs Élysée in Paris–you’ll find the best-known luxury brands of our time, from Chanel to Tory Burch. The vast majority were founded by white designers, with a distinctly Western point of view.

Amira Rasool [Photo: The Folklore]

Amira Rasool thinks this is a problem; she’s on a mission to help African designers to take their place among their American and European counterparts. Four years ago, she launched The Folklore, a marketplace that curates top African designers, like Ahluwalia or Thebe Magugu. But on September 7th, the company is expanding beyond single item sales, and will soon be unveiling a new platform called The Folklore Connect that makes it easy for retailers to place bulk orders from these designers to get their clothes in front of new customers.

Rasool grew up loving fashion and

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