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  • Online #fakers and market stall frauds beware: #Ferragamo uses tech to catch out £5bn a year #counterfeiters.

    Kitty Knowles is a Staff Reporter at The Memo. Kitty previously worked as an online journalist for GQ. She can be found tweeting @KittyGKnowles.

    Counterfeit crackdown: Microchips hidden in luxury heels & bags

    From skirts that live-tweet and electric shock dresses to platforms that let you design your own shoes and bags, we’re used to the worlds of fashion and technology colliding.

    Now luxury brand Salvatore Ferragamo has got in on the act, but this time it’s not in the name of aesthetic innovation: The Italian brand is microchipping its products to clamp down on counterfeiters costing the European luxury industry an estimated £5bn a year.

    Hidden microchips
    In the future your new shoes or bags won’t just come with smart buckles, bows or tassels, but with hidden microchips hidden inside. Footwear will conceal this smart device in the heel, while leather bags will hide chips discreetly within their lining.

    Rather importantly, the chips are discreetly invisible, cannot be imitated, and cannot be tracked (they can only be read at a distance of 4cm or less).

    Better for the brand and buyers
    It’s not only hoped that the move will help the company to identify fakers selling subpar goods, but that it will help customers to make the most of their luxury purchases.

    Many shoppers regularly update their wardrobe and attempt to sell the last season’s models online, but fear of fraud means that although Ferragamo shoes sell for up to £1,500 (and handbags at around £2,000), the resale value online is usually only about £1 for every £100 of the original price.

    Being able to guarantee that items are genuine means you can bring the price back up to £30 or £40 for every £100 it originally cost.

    “People who can afford to spend thousands on a purse often get tired of them after six months and tend to sell them on eBay,” Greg Furman, of the Luxury Marketing Council in New York told The Times.