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Verifi TT tracer to detect fake designer garments
15
Sep '08
AgResearch is (September 15th, 12.30pm) demonstrating for the first time how this world-first technology can detect a fake designer garment. The textile tracing system, called Verifi TT, will be demonstrated on garments created by a leading New Zealand designer, Stitch Ministry. The demonstration will be made on identical looking garments modelled by identical twins.

This system – Verifi TT, was developed by AgResearch scientists in partnership with an Australian company, DatatraceDNA. The system is set to revolutionise international textile markets, by eliminating fraud and protecting valuable brands.

This tool will be particularly valuable for the high brand apparel market where copycat manufacturers sell imitations as the real thing. AgResearch Textile Science and Technology Section Manager, Dr Peter Ingham, says there have been countless incidents in the past where high-end brand garments or fabric were replaced by cheaper imitations, which damaged reputations and in some cases resulted in law suits.

One of the AgResearch textiles scientists involved in the development of the Verifi TT, Peter Brorens, says with this new technology, fabric or yarn can be manufactured containing a unique customer-distinct tracer fibre.

This tracer fibre is added early in the normal textile processing sequence in minute quantities – around 300 g of tracer fibre per tonne of conventional textile fibre. “The tracer material and the handheld scanner can be coded uniquely for each customer,” he explains.

“By scanning the Verifi TT handheld reader over the fabric or yarn, it can detect this tracer and then verify the authenticity of the fabric. The Verifi TT tracer itself is invisible to the eye because of the minute quantities used.” He says this test can be applied at all points along the value chain, including the retailer's shelf.

The system also has promising applications in textile labels. A label containing Verifi TT tracer in a garment can be quickly scanned to check its authenticity and can prevent unauthorised overruns of leading-brand garments by commission manufacturers which are often subsequently sold on the “grey” market.

Dr Ingham says while there are some other technologies available to identify the origins of fibres and fabric, they are expensive and destructive because they mostly involve cutting and analysing the fabric. It also requires specialised skill and time consuming, expensive laboratory testing, whereas the Verifi TT can be operated by anybody. “And it's 100 percent safe for use in all textile applications,” he adds.

The technology was adapted for use in the textile industry from a new patented tracer-type technology. This technology is used for verifying or tracing the origin of luxury goods, bespoke brands and products like casino chips. Scientists from DatatraceDNA worked with AgResearch scientists to adapt the technology for use in the textile industry.

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