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The RealReal hosts installation in New York City to spotlight counterfeiting

By Vivian Hendriksz


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The RealReal installation at 301 Canal Street Credits: The RealReal

Online resale marketplace The RealReal is hosting an installation of fake handbags at 301 Canal Street, New York City, to draw attention to counterfeiting. The installation opening is timed with the city’s peak tourism season and will run from now until the end of September.

The installation, created in collaboration with Mythology, is designed to look like a new The RealReal store opening at first glance. However, upon closer inspection, visitors will see that the entire store is stocked with counterfeit luxury handbags confiscated by the online marketplace during its authentication process.

None of the handbags on the display are on sale, as the installation is designed to encourage visitors to question the authenticity of products they may see for sale and start conversations surrounding counterfeit culture.

“Authenticity is at the core of everything we do,” said Rati Sahi Levesque, president and COO of The RealReal, in a statement. “Over the past 13 years, as counterfeits have evolved - they’re being made more quickly and accurately than ever - we've continually invested heavily in advancing our technology and the training of our expert authenticators, ensuring we’re keeping them off the market.”

“Unlike fast fashion, the underbelly of counterfeit culture is less discussed; counterfeits harm the environment, are often produced unethically and undermine genuine brands. Our commitment to authenticity goes beyond our business; it’s about protecting the planet and ethical practices.”

The RealReal counterfeit installation at 301 Canal Street Credits: The RealReal

In addition, in an office above the store, similar to Canal Street's back rooms where former top-quality fakes were once sold, TheRealReal will host events that celebrate authenticity. These include monthly opportunities to exchange counterfeits for genuine items from The RealReal and discussions with community thought leaders.

“Identifying what’s real and what’s fake has never been harder, and it matters now more than ever,” said Kristen Naiman, chief creative officer at The RealReal, in a statement. “We value authenticity, and our experts are constantly improving their ability to identify the bogus from the bona fide (something we are all doing every day).”

“So, we are going to share everything we know and hear what designers, thought leaders, craftspeople and our community have to say. Fakes are a complicated topic. (Like The RealReal, they were originally a response to the exclusivity of luxury fashion.) So, let’s talk.”

“When TheRealReal approached Mythology, we set out to create an honest dialogue on consumerism and authenticity,” added Ted Galperin, partner and director of retail at Mythology, in a statement. “Every passerby must do a double-take, questioning the validity of our perpetually closed store, much like they would when judging a handbag’s authenticity.”

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