At the intersection of Canal Street and Church Street in New York City, vendors haggle with consumers late into the evening over luxury fakes—or as TikTok loves to call them, “dupes.” Faux Gucci loafers, copycat Louis Vuitton purses, ripoff Rolex watches and suspect Supreme hoodies lay on sheets spread out over sidewalks, waiting for a willing owner. And cash is king.
Though a passerby might be able to pick up some cheap counterfeits on one of Manhattan’s most infamous streets, just across the intersection streetwear collectors will be scoring real, verified goodies this weekend.
More from Sourcing Journal
EBay has set up shop at 331 Canal St. for a limited streetwear popup to show off its Authenticity Guarantee service, which assures buyers they’ve purchased the real deal. Canal Street Wear, as the popup is called, features several big-time eBay sellers, including Soled Out Jersey City, RIF, NYMilan, which currently lists Helmut Lang, Who Decides War and Purple brand jeans.
Charis Marquez, eBay’s vice president of fashion, said those vendors brought an assortment that will excite streetwear faithfuls.
“As enthusiasts know, it’s all about the selection, and eBay’s is unrivaled due to our valued sellers. We guarantee shoppers are going to be thrilled with the inventory in Canal Street Wear, and with the peace of mind that their item is the real deal,” Marquez told Sourcing Journal.
Leonardo Olacio, Soled Out’s general manager, said the popup’s location makes it the perfect place to sell rare streetwear.
“I think it’s ironically hilarious, because we’re on Canal Street, which is famous for bootlegging and counterfeit goods. And then eBay comes in. It’s like, ‘Hey, like, we understand the culture here. But just so you know, like we’re coming in, we’re legit,’” Olacio said. “It’s almost like a touch on the nose. … Anyone could come in, and instead of buying a [fake] Louis Vuitton bag that may be $25, $30, you can come into this space and buy an authentic Louis Vuitton.”
The popup, which will be open to the public from 12 p.m.-7 p.m. on Nov. 3-4, comes at a time when the global market for streetwear is booming. A recent study from Strategy&, part of the PwC brand, showed that streetwear accounts for nearly $185 billion in sales worldwide, making it about 10 percent of the total market for fashion, apparel and footwear. That same data showed fanatics report spending between $100 and $500 each month on streetwear to add to their wardrobes and collections.
The e-commerce giant’s authenticity program automatically requires its sellers to send high-value streetwear, jewelry, handbag and footwear items to one of its authentication centers to be verified by authenticators, with the help of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence. Once an item has been verified, the authenticity center ships it to the buyer. Everything in the popup has already been verified by the Authenticity Guarantee service, and consumers can bring their streetwear items to the store to have them verified by an authenticator.
The luxury consignment newbie is ahead of the curve on authenticity as lawmakers rally behind the SHOP SAFE Act, which would incentivize e-commerce platforms to verify sellers and products, and prevent repeat offenders from selling counterfeits online.
Olacio said the verification process gives customers shopping online with Soled Out, which also has a brick-and-mortar store in Jersey City, N.J., reassurance about spending their hard-earned money.
“Having that authenticity badge on our item that’s listed on our on eBay website just allows anyone to know that hey, I’m looking at this item, it might be a lot of money, and I can securely purchase this knowing that it’s Authenticity Guaranteed,” he said.
And Marquez said that Authenticity Guarantee has caught a number of fakes, some on fashion’s most-coveted brands. She said that items listed as BAPE, Chrome Hearts and Louis Vuitton are some of the most common to not pass authentication checks.
The Certilogo owner only expanded that program to streetwear in June. According to Marquez, searches for streetwear have increased by over 150 percent on eBay since the beginning of 2023—and one brand in particular has stuck out.
“In 2022, Supreme was searched more than 30 times a minute, globally, and we expect that to grow as we round out 2023, due to continued streetwear industry growth and the recent expansion of eBay Authenticity Guarantee into streetwear,” she said.
Marquez noted that over 7.7 million items have been authenticated since the program began.
But the Authenticity Guarantee isn’t the only way buyers can interact with the platform on luxury purchases, she said.
“In addition to expanding eBay Authenticity into streetwear, we have also introduced programs and services like Certified by Brand, partnering directly with brands to scale their presence in the secondary market, and eBay consignment, which will eventually expand next year to include additional luxury categories, including jewelry and watches.”