Textile Scientists Are Determined to Rain on Your Fake Handbag Parade

Illustration for article titled Textile Scientists Are Determined to Rain on Your Fake Handbag Parade

The jig is up, ladies! Better scurry down to your "purse connection," aka your cousin's friend who works at the Cinnabon at the mall, because time is running out to get your hands on your favorite knock-off designer bags.

It seems science has been hard at work coming up with a cure for deadly, awful, debilitating diseases and other things that are crippling humanity a way to detect fake designer handbags.

That's right! Finally, science does something truly valuable for the human existence:

The team at Cornell, which is headed up by textile scientist Juan Hinestroza—is working on a "sub-visual" technique where the individual fibers in handbags are coated with a brand's signature something-or-other—something invisible to the human eye and completely intangible to the average consumer, but a signifier that can be detected or scanned to prove authenticity.


A textile scientist! Some people have such cool jobs. (Yes, I'm picturing some dude hunched over a microscope analyzing gingham all day.) Another person with a cool job, Ken Kuno, Ph.D., from Notre Dame who is also on Hinestroza's team, says that the signatures can be made by"coating individual cotton fibers, like a bar code."

My pea brain cannot even imagine how that is supposed to work, but OK, go for it, science!

Oh and don't worry that other evil entities outside of fashion such as your government might not also get their chance to find ways to intrude into and/or control your life with this new discovery. The team's work might even be used to help detect counterfeit money, which means I better hurry up and use all those fake $50 bills I made with my Crayola Magic Wonder Glitter Marker set:

Hinestroza hinted that the U.S. government has also expressed interest in his technology, possibly for use in money, which contains cotton fibers too. But even within the fashion industry, secrecy is the whole point. While the technology to create nanoparticle signatures is still laborious and expensive, if counterfeiters find out which brands use metallic signatures they may devote more resources to copying that trademark as well. It's a ruthlessly successful, multi-billion dollar industry. They're not likely to give up easily.


But Hinestroza isn't the only belle at this ball. Other development teams are also hard work trying to shit all over your plans to show up at your high school reunion and be able to tell former homecoming queen Margie Plum, "Why, yes, yes this is a Prada bag. Do you have one? No? Oh too bad. I have several; they're just so darn handy."

Several parties are working on blocking counterfeit clothes in other ways, though. A company called Applied DNA Sciences launched a product last week called "SigNature T," which is strikingly similar to Hinestroza's method. "SigNature T DNA becomes bound to the fiber," the company's press release stated, "...and can be marked and tracked throughout the supply chain...providing a means to authenticate anywhere along the supply chain, from fiber to the finished product; from distributor, to retailer, to consumer."


That being said, if this becomes a reality, at least you'll never have to endure anything like this:

Carrie Bradshaw is such a freaking liar. You wouldn't care that the bag came from a box in the trunk of a car in the Valley. You would just care that you got a bag that looks just like the one Giselle Bundchen had on the cover of Vogue except yours smells a little like antifreeze and what you suspect is raccoon pee.


Image via Shutterstock

Share This Story

Get our newsletter



I feel like these people are very confused about who is buying fake handbags and why. They aren't getting scammed into thinking it's the real thing - nearly everyone scoping out the sketchy cavernous closets on Canal street is perfectly aware they're getting a fake. They just want the best looking fake money can buy.

Unless your mission is to be Margie Plum and whip out your scanning materials when someone tells you they have several Pradas (in which case, I respect you Margie, you shut those bitches down), I'm not totally sure I understand where the market is for this technology.