Whether you are buying or selling couture clothing, the number one requirement you will have is that the item is authentic. With many items retailing tens of thousands of pounds, the last thing you want as a retailer or a purchaser is to find out an item you are in possession of is a fake. Designers are also keen to end the trade in counterfeit goods, which is now estimated to consist of 7% of the world’s trade. There are a number of ways you can exercise due diligence when purchasing couture to ensure its authenticity. These include: Pay attention to the details. For example, authentic luxury clothing and accessories tend to have more stitching per inch than knock-offs. Zips will be well fitted and have a matte rather than a cheaper, glossy finish. The designer’s logo will be perfect. Design houses usually dictate how much a retailer sell their product for. If something is very cheap, chances are it is a fake. If you are a retailer, be aware that most couture design houses do not sell their items in ‘bulk’ as they want to maintain the exclusivity of their products. Alarm bells should ring if you are offered large quantities, especially if there is a discount offered for the more items you purchase.
The Silhouette Ruling
The Silhouette ruling refers to the decision of, Silhouette v Hartlauer (European Court of Justice, C-355/96, 16 July 1998). This ruling goes into detail as to what is permitted / forbidden to be sold as designer goods outside the European Union and provides guidance on invoicing. Our commercial solicitors can advise you on all aspects of purchasing, distributing and selling couture clothing whether it is from the latest collections or pre-loved. If you are a start-up retailer looking to sell couture or vintage clothing, we can advise you on all aspects of starting your business venture.
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