The RealReal's Authentication Process Is Not So Real....
You’ve seen the super cool commercials for The Real Real; hot fashion chick prancing around in different designer goods, a few close-ups of handbags, and then back to the model in threads that leave your mouth watering. The marketing for the real real is unprecedented, they had good investment seeds planted from the very beginning. Reputation became ultra important with the growth of the company’s influence and selling of second-hand designer goods. As they grew in popularity the authentication process which according to their website is their “ cornerstone” of the business, has been under scrutiny. Not just by any old rinky-dink brand, but by the biggest fashion house that’s known to man, Chanel.
The big dogs with diamond collars, and double-c dog tags came sniffing around The real real authentication process and found them to have a foul stench. In the lawsuit ( yes, they took them to court) Chanel, Inc., v. The RealReal, Inc., 1:18-cv-10626-VSB (SDNY) took place last year in the New York court system. Chanel, being pristine and precise made a good argument that basically said, how can people who are not trained under Chanel, tell you what is OG Chanel. If it did not pass the co-co code of conduct, how is that authentic Chanel?
Another thought, who is just buying Chanel just to have it at a discount? That completely defeats the purpose of having such a luxurious brand grace your wardrobe. You don't just buy Chanel, you experience it. The black tissue paper, the crisp white bag with the black outline, and the final touch of the thick black ribbon. I have only seen it from afar, but I imagine how you must feel carrying that out of the Chanel cathedral storefront. I wouldn't order Chanel even if it was on their official site, I need that instant satisfaction from an investment purchase like that.
But I digress, getting back to the real real, being real fake; this was not their only allegation. They have been called out dating back a year after they went live in 2011. Let’s use our thinking caps, imagine the popularity and influence this website has and the thousands of products that are being flipped and swapped and going through the “ authentication process.” There's only so much manpower that can keep a watchful eye on what's flying across the conveyor belt of product or however they inspect. I doubt they are doing this at a desk with white gloves and a magnifying glass ( as presented in website images) Also, there is a whole black market of really good knock-off designer merchandise. There is no possible way that the real real can catch every single one.
They should just be real about it, consumers want authenticity in multiple shades including the principal brands that stand behind. The room for miscount to occur is not listed in the main mission statement of their authentication process and it should be. Also, maybe don't have brands like Hermes or Chanel on the site period. Out of respect for the legacy and fashion, you don't touch and cheapen the brand with the possibility of running fakes through the second-hand site. That's just a fashion faux pas.
Cover image via The RealReal