In a market full of fakes, it’s difficult to identify an original. The line correctly represents the current situation of today’s fashion markets. Many people from the middle or lower class families can’t afford to buy large fashion brands such as Gucci and LV and a lot of them are unaware that such brands even exist.
However, largely considering the Indian context, the streets today are filled with people carrying Michael Kors bags, wearing Gucci apparel or Adidas shoes not knowing that those are just counterfeits. Some of those fake products are perfect replicas of the actual brand or designers that it’s hard to tell the difference.
On one hand, the affordability of these replicas has made them so likeable for some groups, that they prefer to purchase them knowing that they aren’t the real brands. On the other hand, there’s a class of people in some countries like India, that are unaware of big brand names and designer wear or can’t care more to understand the difference, that they end up wearing Abibas t-shirts or shoes with two brand names written on them.
Many people experience fraud when they order a brand but receive a copy or a low-quality material. But the question is, how does this impact the brands as well as the consumers?
The Impact of Counterfeits
Counterfeits are causing problems for authentic brands as well as consumers. Not only do they steal sales of brands by offering products at significantly low prices, but they also damage the brand’s reputation by offering low-quality products that consumers believe are authentic.
Low-quality products damage the trust of consumers in the product and also the business partners of the brand. Irate customers, unhappy with the quality of the product they receive ask for refunds or exchanges of counterfeited products from authentic brands, ending up in a chaotic situation. Ultimately, brands have to spend more to fight against fakes.
This whole situation not only wastes time and money of the brands and consumers but also leaves no inspiration for designers and brands to focus on their project’s growth. It causes long-lasting damage to the brand.
The Blockchain Solution for Brands
Blockchain seems to be the best solution for getting rid of counterfeit products. The distributed ledger technology, when applied in the fashion industry, can save authentic brands and designers from the prying eyes of fake producers. Many projects are now considering implementing the technology into the fashion industry to provide transparency, security, and authenticity to both the designers as well as the end consumers.
One such project that is utilizing the potential of blockchain technology is Curate. Curate was found with the intention of providing users easy access to exclusive and unique fashion pieces produced by small and large retailers and designers. It is a style discovery decentralized app based on blockchain technology that rewards all users with cryptocurrencies such as ETH, BTC and its native token CUR8, for contributing to the platform.
Brands and retailers like LV, Zara, Gucci, Prada, and Amazon have partnered with Curate to leverage blockchain technology used on the platform. The technology protects brands against their customers being exposed to fraud and the risk of buying counterfeit products through a remote frequency identification protocol integrated into the system.
The RFID smart tags attached to materials can be scanned by the users to confirm the genuineness and authenticity of the product they have purchased. Uses can use the camera on their mobile devices to scan the code and pull out the history of the material.
This unique feature not only helps the customers in buying authentic brands but also protects the reputation of brands from being damaged due to counterfeits. The history of the fabric also helps consumers who don’t prefer buying clothing that’s manufactured at the cost of the environment. The platform further helps designers, irrespective of large or small, to gain recognition and awareness by trending on the basis of ratings and upvotes received by the users.
Blockchain has come as a savior for small designers as well as large brands. It has the potential to solve the flaws in the fashion industry and protect consumers against fraud. Projects integrating blockchain with the fashion industry will be of great use in countries like India, where counterfeit products cover a major proportion of the market.