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NEW YORK — Brand owners are shifting their attention from pursuing street-level peddlers of counterfeit goods to training police officers and Customs officials around the globe on how to quickly spot the fakes before they enter the market.

For some brands, it’s a simple matter of pointing out that their products are only manufactured in one or two countries. Beyond that, brands are increasingly adding special design elements to their products that identify them as legitimate. While creating exact replicas of those features is not impossible for counterfeiters, spending the necessary time and money to do so is unlikely. Here are a few of the tell-tale signs for which the company trains police and Customs officials to be on the lookout.

The stitching on the rear pocket of a pair of genuine Seven For All Mankind jeans shows a wide, tapered seam on the inside edge and parallel seams on the opposite edge. This pair of counterfeit jeans shows instead the same tapered seam stitch on both the right and left of the pocket. The rivets also are missing from the pockets of these counterfeits. The rivets on genuine Seven products have the company name. The poor quality of the construction, seen in the stitching on the edge of the pocket and the design and in the placement of the pocket, is also clear indications of a knockoff.

Interior Stitching
The poor quality of the interior seam — a number of loose threads are clearly visible — is an indication to a trained eye that this pair of jeans is not a genuine Seven For All Mankind product. The logo printed on the inside of the waistband of the pants is also inaccurate. It shows a font that differs from the genuine Seven logo used for its jeans. The rivets that are missing off the back pockets also would be visible inside if this was a genuine pair of Seven jeans.

Interior Tags
The most obvious sign that this is a pair of counterfeit Seven For All Mankind jeans is on this interior tag, which reads “Made in China.” Seven jeans are manufactured in the U.S. For Customs officials, isolating potential Seven counterfeits up front can be straightforward: anything imported is not genuine. Additionally, the order of the tags is wrong. The tag with the size, style, cut and country of origin on the front and the care instructions on the back is on top of the tag showing the stylized Seven trademark, visible here just under the size tag, in genuine Seven jeans. The font is also different on the logos and text.

This story first appeared in the May 25, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Exterior Tags
The most obvious discrepancy between the exterior tags of this pair of counterfeit jeans and a genuine pair is the hangtag. The logo and fonts are off, the twine is too thick and of low quality and the paper quality of the tag is different. The tag on these jeans is glossy, thick card stock. Hangtags on genuine Seven For All Mankind jeans are made of a thinner paper with a matte finish. The color is the same, but the feel and look of the tag is different. In addition, the tags sewn onto the garment have a logo that is not accurate and lower-quality stitching and fabric are visible.

While the counterfeit manufacturer of this particular pair of knockoffs did put a button on the jeans that says Seven For All Mankind, it neglected to pay attention to all of the details. Genuine Seven jeans use brand-name zippers from YKK. The YKK logo is discernible by the distinctness of the letters in the logo. No logo at all is visible on this zipper. The hardware and findings used in the production of garments have become more important in distinguishing real products from fake ones. The pieces are guarded by some companies as carefully as gold during the manufacturing process.