Earlier in March, luxury second-hand marketplace Vestiaire Collective opened its historical warehouse to the fashion press and influencers in an exclusive invite-only excursion. The contemporary e-tailer—now backed by Kering—primarily sells pre-loved designer clothing and accessories worldwide. Its equitable prices and wide selection of designers ranging from luxury powerhouses to smaller independent labels has resulted in its tremendous popularity boost over the last few years.
Held in Tourcoing, France—where the Trust authentication facility is located—the tour provided an interactive experience for visitors to peek into the brand’s core expertise and authentication process. Within the tour was an introduction to Vestiaire Collective’s team of experts, followed by a rundown of the authentication facility and a workshop that allowed guests a personalised experience of the company’s inspection process.
The authentication workshop was hosted by Victoire Boyer Chammard, the Head of Authentication over at Vestiaire Collective. Boyer Chammard—whose expertise stemmed from a background in auctioning—has been with the brand since its conception, and was one of the first experts in charge of authentication. Shares Boyer Chammard of what makes Vestiaire Collective stand out amongst its competitors: “Our authentication process is different and unique because we were pioneers in creating this new service and the trust from our customers has been a priority since the launch of the platform. We wanted to be a reliable and trustworthy platform as there were no other options available. It became a top priority across our different channels, from delivering the right products to building a trusted community of buyers and sellers.”
Currently, Vestiaire Collective has five warehouses and boasts a sizeable team of more than 80 authenticators. There are centres in the United Kingdom, United States, Hong Kong, Korea and the primary facility in France. The increase in warehouses has sped up operations and allowed for the brand to localise its expertise. “We also built our own training program—the Vestiaire Academy—in-house, to keep up with new trends, models and continuously learn techniques to anticipate the counterfeits of tomorrow”, elaborates Boyer Chammard.
“We wanted to be a reliable and trustworthy platform as there were no other options available.”
The authentication process proved to be immensely meticulous, to say the least. Boyer Chammard explains the steps that go into authenticating a product: “Our first filter is digital authentication. If an item is considered non-compliant with our criteria, a human will then proceed to verify its authenticity. Then, physical verification is done by our team of experts. This is important because the expertise is based on specific knowledge and a rigorous verification of the item. From the quality of an engraving and its materials to the shape and smell of an item, it requires a human’s senses.”
After the preloved item is authenticated, it is placed in the hands of the quality control team. “This team does a final check to make sure the item is in good condition and matches the description and pictures from the platform, before the item is shipped to the buyer in eco-conscious packaging,” highlights Boyer Chammard. The rigorous training that goes into becoming an authentication expert is ever-expanding, constantly incoporating new authentic materials, techniques and brands. “This elaborate process has continued to develop and improve thanks to our growing community. We also ensure strong buyer confidence because you will get a full refund if you receive a counterfeit item.”
Vestiaire Collective also prides itself on being at the forefront of sustainability within luxury fashion. Remarks Boyer Chammard on maintaining good relationships with the various major fashion houses: “Brands are more open today than before on this subject which proves an increasing commitment from all fashion players to put sustainability and circularity first. It also shows their faith in us as a real actor in the fight against counterfeits.”
The event sparked great conversations and insightful bits of knowledge were passed around, allowing all the guests to gain a deeper understanding of the world of second-hand retailing. Topping it all off, guests were also offered an item from their personal Vestiaire Collective wishlist at the end of the event, as well as their own authentication toolkits to take home.