Device to detect fake handbags gains traction

A start-up company could be the saving grace for the luxury fashion industry, with the introduction of a portable scanning device boasting 96 per cent accuracy in detecting fakes.

Entrupy is described as an "on-demand authentication solution" featuring a portable scanning device and Apple smartphone app.

The firm might be dismissed as another technology provide promising to tackle the counterfeiting problem, but tellingly already has more than 130 retail firms signed up and is already working with fashion giants - including Burberry, Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Hermès and Louis Vuitton. Handbags are the main target currently.

The technology works by taking microscopic photographs of different areas of an item and uses artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to analyse the images in comparison with a database to determine authenticity.

The device can be used on various materials ranging from canvas and leather to metal and wood, and has an authentication accuracy of over 96.4 per cent, with results in seconds.

The common regions that the device will analyse, based on the brand selected on the app, are the outer region, inner region, outer stitching and logo. Other authentication points include the zipper pull, date code and hardware logo.

The accuracy of the analysis is driven by the database, which uses about 150 samples from each real product, with additional samples marginally improving the accuracy for that brand – the device has accuracy ratings of above 99 per cent for Hermѐs and Louis Vuitton handbags, for example.

The analysis also takes into account workmanship, processes and specs such as how, where and when authentic goods were made, making the system hard to forge.

Entrupy, which launched in February last year, is initially focusing its sights on second-hand resellers of luxury and designer items because of the growing lack of trust in purchasing authentic luxury goods and particularly in regards to online retailers and the risk of counterfeits.

"Trust is really the problem we're solving," Entrupy chief executive Vidyuth Srinivasan told Brooklyn in an interview just after the device's launch. "Counterfeiting is an unsexy theme where every single supply chain in every high-value industry goes through this problem, beyond manufacturing and retailing, but even reselling. People don't have a good way of instantly identifying fakes. We said: 'What if we could build one global solution?'"

The company will look to move on from designer handbags in the future, Srinivasan said. "Long term [we'd like to] become part of every transaction of physical goods where there's a trust deficit. I believe we can do it because it's only a question of how quickly we can build partnerships and globally scale."

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