This is the claim of the fifth edition of Anti-counterfeiting Week (19th-25th October) that focuses on a hot topic affecting not only companies and the State, but consumers too. A bane of the global economy, which according to OECD data, amounts to 5.2 billion Euro in the fashion industry. Made in Italy has been hit hard, inflicting companies with damages amounting to 1.3 billion Euro due to loss of sales and consumers with 1.4 billion Euro, paid in good faith for what they believed to be authentic products.

This is why the fashion industry Associations of Confindustria Moda, including Assocalzaturifici for footwear manufacturers (10% of counterfeited sports and classic footwear in Europe is Italian, according to the President Siro Badon), have also committed themselves to this fight, in order to raise consumer awareness against the purchase of fake produce which in most cases is made from parts and colourants that are extremely harmful to health.

The last week of October was animated by a series of interesting meetings. One of them focused on the following topic: “The impact of counterfeiting on the fashion industry: requirements of the business world and the response of institutions”, moderated by Serena Moretti, director of legal affairs at Confindustria Moda, with live video contributions of the presidents of member Associations, followed by Institutions represented by Stefano Patuanelli, the Italian Minister for Economic Development, who emphasized how this is also a cultural phenomenon that should be fought already in secondary school. The fight against counterfeiting also involves the Customs Agency, which works with associations and intellectual property right owners damaged by the phenomenon, as well as the Guardia di Finanza, Italy’s finance police corps, whose spokesperson highlighted how in the two year period spanning 2018-19, there was a 30% rise in seizures of counterfeited goods, mostly on national territory and linked to local criminality. More recent data shows how in the first quarter of 2020, 6% of all goods seized were fashion goods. This phenomenon has been exacerbated by the pandemic and also involves online sales, which are not protected. Interesting and unexpected information emerged from the meeting: alongside China and Turkey, new markets are also emerging in the fight against counterfeiting, like Greece for example.

Hence the claim of fashion industry Associations: “The fight against counterfeiting starts from you too”, in order to raise the awareness of consumers who wittingly or unwittingly purchase counterfeited goods, and to protect their health. Three key words emerge: prevention, information and protection. Naturally product traceability is fundamental in curbing the phenomenon affecting the style and design of products, more innovative ones in particular, as well as product trademarks and CE marking.

Flavia Colli Franzone