We are probably all aware that the problems surrounding counterfeit fashion are not the same as those associated with counterfeit medicines, cosmetics and children’s safety seats and toys. However the problems are still real. For example:
- Fake designer sunglasses may not provide the correct UV protection.
- Those who manufacture and sell fakes might not work ethically and will be difficult to research.
- Infringement of the intellectual property of the design house.
- The consumer may genuinely not know they are buying a counterfeit item, which is fraudulent.
From a consumer point of view then, it can get complex. It is one thing spending £10 on a look-a-like Chanel bag from a market stall and knowing it is a fake and quite another to spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds on a luxury fashion item to later discover that it is a copy. Fakes are getting harder to spot but a fake is still a fake and is aiming to deceive the eye whether the consumer knows this or not.
With the rise in sales of preloved designer goods via ecommerce sites this is a growing concern. Then there is the less known about issue of fake returns where a new authentic item such as a designer bag is purchased from a reputable store and then a fake is returned in its place for a refund. As we know, some fakes can be very obvious and others much less so. In order to combat the fake return problem some retailers are now sensibly recording minute details about a product, some of which are invisible to the naked eye. By doing this they are able to determine whether a returned item is actually the same one that the customer purchased. The benefits of this are threefold:
- The retailer is protecting themselves against loss of revenue and fraud.
- The consumer can be comfortable that their purchase is genuine.
- The reputation of the brand and the craftsmanship that goes into making a genuine luxury product is protected.
At BagButler one of our core values is authenticity so how do we ensure we only send you an authentic luxury designer rental?
We have made it very easy for ourselves by sticking assiduously to a few rules.
Handbags, textiles and jewellery
- We only ever buy handbags from major bricks and mortar retailers, such as the company owned Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton stores, who themselves monitor all goods and returns. We do not purchase preloved bags. (Whilst we love that preloved is a way of making fashion more sustainable it is easier for us as a rental company to guarantee authenticity by only buying new).
- We buy our items in a box fresh state so we will be the first customer of an item.
- We maintain meticulous records of rentals, PR loans, receipts and unique identifiers. Only the fashion houses and BagButler hold the coded information linked to our goods and we do not make this available to third parties.
- In conjunction with the Metropolitan Police all BagButler items including vintage jewellery pieces are forensically marked so we can be certain that the items returned to us are the very same items that we sent out and therefore authentic!
We stock a very small collection of vintage jewellery. To specifically avoid vintage counterfeit costume jewellery we only purchase from one person….a respected expert in authentic vintage designer jewellery who upholds the same standard as ourselves.
By adhering consistently to these simple rules we enable our customers to rent from us with confidence. Not only does it make sense to rent, it makes sense to rent from BagButler!
And some good news
An increased awareness of the polluting problems associated with fast fashion and fashion waste in general, has meant that consumers are more mindful of seeking out authenticity and less interested in ironic fashion such as an overtly fake Dior book bag! Ultimately this stance will be better for brands, better for consumers and better for our planet!