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Case Study: Leather Goods and Fashion

Case study notes for using a LaserMinter for laser engraving phygital passports onto luxury handbags, shoes, sunglasses, garments and other fashion items.


The sale of fake leather-goods and fashion items has become a global multi-billion dollar industry that has dramatically hurt the bottom line of leading fashion brands over the last decade. The quality of counterfeit fashion products has now improved to the stage where many are becoming close to indistinguishable from the authentic products. Even more worrying is the trend towards online sales of fake or stolen products which has grown by an order of magnitude and now outstrips physical store (or street) sales of fake or stolen fashion items. Amazon and eBay now employ anti-counterfeit inspection teams at most of their warehousing and shipping centers - however they have no effective method for detecting and preventing sales of stolen authentic items online. Moreover, it is not only traditional luxury fashion brands like Gucci or YSL that are being counterfeited or stolen and then sold online in large volumes. As an example the consumer youth market for sports-shoe brand Nike is now a major target for criminals.


The counterfeiting for leather goods and fashion items can be readily combatted with Decentryk's phygital NFT passport technology as every authentic item has a digital NFT issued with the physical item. Moreover, any physical products that are reported stolen by the owner of the NFT can be readily identified when the thief attempts to sell products online or on the street. A simple scan of the QR code on the physical item will identify the authenticity and history of the specific product - and its ownership history will alert the scanner of the QR code as to whether it has been stolen or not. Of course if the seller does not have the digital NFT for the item this is another strong indication that the product may be stolen, regardless of whether the item has been reported to Decentryk as stolen by the legal owner.


There are two main issues that luxury fashion vendors must decide on when minting phygital passports for their authentic products, namely where and on what ? The location of physical QR code mark on the fashion item may be a primary issue for the fashion vendor. Does a sunglasses vendor want the physical QR code readily visible on the outside of the item (eg: an arm of the sunglasses) ? Or does a luxury leather bag or shoe manufacturer want the physical QR code hidden on the underside or inside of the product to maintain their original look ? Or does a dressmaker want the QR code on the inside of the dress fabric or on the outside for easy uploads? Or do they prefer the QR code on a leather or metal name tag with other information such as size and logo? There are many design, use and aesthetic options for QR code location for the vendor to make.


Once the vendor has decided on where the QR code should be located, the next decision is on what material will it be marked. There may be a choice of materials if it will be marked on an attachable name tag to the product, or it may be the product surface itself that needs to be marked (as with most leather goods products). The choice of target material dramatically affects the optical wavelength of the LaserMinter that is required. For most natural materials and fibers such as genuine leather or cottons, a LaserMinter Blue product with visible 450nm laser output is required. It is important to note that the blue LaserMinter can only mark QR codes down to a minimum size of 10mm x 10mm due to the nature of its thermal absorption marking process. However for most artificial materials and fabrics such as faux leather, plastic or nylon the LaserMinter IR product with infrared 1064nm output is preferred. This infrared LaserMinter IR product utilizes a laser ablation process that can readily mark readable QR codes down to a 5mm x 5mm area and has much better results on artificial fabrics.


Below are videos and images of a LaserMinter IR in our application lab applying a laser engraved QR code to (a) the inside surface of a faux leather bag (b) the outside of the arm of a pair of plastic sunglasses. Note that both QR codes are 6mm x 6mm in area.


(a) Inside of Faux Leather Bag



(b) Arm of Plastic Sunglasses




As with all luxury fashion applications the primary concerns are design and aesthetics. The above images and videos are just quick examples with not much optimization or design thought involved. They are only intended to demonstrate the speed and quality of a QR mark for a relatively average size application. No doubt many customers will want to incorporate their own logo and text labelling (as in image a above). It is very easy to imagine that a fashion vendor may want to promote the QR code and logo on the outside of the garment so it can be readily scanned by either the wearer when out with friends. This makes it easy for owners to upload photos and videos to the garments phygital passport account for their own personal prosperity. Regardless of the design of the product and location of the QR code, the LaserMinter IR and LaserMinter Blue products are now invaluable tools for fashion vendors to add digital provenance, ownership history, item valuations and user experiences for to their hi-end products. Regardless of the anti-counterfeit and anti-theft features of phygital passports, it might be the digital recording and uploading of the users experiences with that garment that holds the greatest value for the customer.



Note: the use of the Gucci logo in the videos and images above is simply for instructional purposes only to demonstrate a typical use case with inclusion of the manufacturers brand logo in the laser mark area. It does not imply or indicate any business relationship between Decentryk and Gucci, nor does it confirm any legal permission given by Gucci to Decentryk to use their logo on instructional or marketing videos. The Gucci logo used is from publicly available royalty free stock images.


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