Italian fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo is expanding the use of radiofrequency identification (RFID) chips for authentication of its products.
The company started adding the chips to women's shoes - allowing the items to be both authenticated and tracked through the supply chain - and has latterly extended the project to include small leather goods and bags/luggage as well as men's shoes.
"The aim of using this technology is to guarantee product authenticity by proving the product’s origin and making it possible to track the shoe with certainty, giving the group better control in the fight against fakes," said Ferragamo.
The tags also allow customers to check the authenticity of products in store with their smartphone, see videos and other information about an item and add products to a personalised wish list.
Florence-based Ferragamo is a €1.4bn-a-year brand with activities spanning shoes, leather goods, apparel, silk products and other accessories, along with women's and men's fragrances, eyewear and watches.
The RFID initiative is one of a number of measures taken to try to protect Ferragamo customers from inadvertently purchasing fakes, along with online monitoring of e-commerce sites for fraudulent listings and offline surveillance of trade fairs and retail outlets.
Last year, the company intercepted and blocked the sale of about 91,000 counterfeit products from online listings and seized 12,500 fakes. It also collaborated with Chinese customs to intercept another 12,400 items before they left the country, interrupting a trade valued at around $17m. Once again, men's belts, handbags and shoes were the most targeted items.
Other clothing brands such as Zara have also embraced RFID, but primarily for stock control and inventory visibility rather than authentication. There have however been reports of RFID tags interfering with anti-theft devices in-store.