How to... Spot a (fash­ion) fake. By Fanny Moizant

Watch­ing these girls’ hands as they check it’s not a fake is like watch­ing bal­let

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - How To... - Fanny Moizant is co­founder and head of UK for Ves­ti­aire Col­lec­tive (ves­ti­airec­ol­lec­

Years ago I opened my wardrobe and re­alised it was full of clothes I didn’t wear any more. Around that time some French fash­ion blog­gers had started to re­sell their clothes on the in­ter­net – they pub­lished photos and asked read­ers to send cheques. It was all very ad hoc.

I was re­luc­tant to do this be­cause ev­ery­one I knew had a hor­ror story about buy­ing sec­ond-hand goods on­line. One friend had bought a com­puter on a ran­dom web­site and re­ceived two bot­tles of wa­ter in­stead. So, in 2009, I co-founded my own web­site where you can buy and sell sec­ond-hand de­signer clothes and ac­ces­sories. I’d worked in fash­ion in Paris for years and had stud­ied fash­ion mar­ket­ing at the In­sti­tut Français de la Mode. Seven years on, Ves­ti­aire Col­lec­tive has 4,000 new items sub­mit­ted to the site ev­ery day.

The difer­ence be­tween ours and other on­line mar­ket­places is that we scout out fakes. When some­one buys an item, the seller sends it to our head­quar­ters in Paris for qual­ity checks. There are 20 peo­ple on our qual­ity-con­trol team: 15 for qual­ity, plus fve ‘au­then­ti­ca­tors’ who come from auc­tion houses. They check the seller’s proof of pur­chase, as well as ex­am­in­ing the item to make sure it’s gen­uine.

The de­tails that dis­tin­guish a real piece from a fake can be very sub­tle, so it’s an in-depth process. Watch­ing these girls’ hands as they go through their checks is like watch­ing bal­let. They touch the leather and they even close their eyes – you have a bet­ter sense of touch with your eyes closed. Then they smell the item. It sounds crazy, but you can smell if there’s plas­tic or if the glue is nox­ious, as it is in some coun­ter­feit pieces.

When we iden­tify some­thing as a fake the seller is usu­ally sur­prised, as they were con­vinced that their prod­ucts were authentic. In the early days we had to phone a lovely cus­tomer who sold a par­tic­u­larly ex­pen­sive bag and tell her it was coun­ter­feit – she was so ashamed to have put her name to it.

My ad­vice to oth­ers buy­ing sec­ond-hand goods is to trust your gut. Don’t dream you’ll get the per­fect prod­uct for a tiny price. When you buy a pair of Louboutins for £50, come on – that kind of thing doesn’t ex­ist. In­ter­view by Emily Cronin

Pho­to­graph by Lulu Ash

Moizant at her home in cen­tral Lon­don with some of her favourite fnds.

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