Gloves on, tools laid within arm’s reach, and a busy calendar—that’s how you would find Nicola Ghin at work. As Senior Authentication Manager at The Luxury Closet, Nicola’s job involves having to work amidst a sea of designer products, from handbags and shoes to valuable leather accessories, and he loves it!
From his passion for luxury to tips on how to spot a fake Birkin, Nicola Ghin shares his insight as an expert on leather goods and shoes.
1. How long have you been a part of the luxury industry, and what led you to it?
I’ve been working in the luxury industry for the past eight years now, and honestly, I can’t imagine myself doing something else.
My interest in this field developed during childhood; observing the way my mother enjoyed creating outfits, mixing patterns, materials, and colors. My father—a baker and a true artisan of food—taught me that excellence requires passion, perfect ingredients, and time. Like a recipe, luxury to me is the perfect match of aesthetics and craftsmanship. This keen interest led me to study Luxury & Fashion and attain a master’s degree in Italy.
2. Based on your own experience, how difficult has it become to distinguish between an authentic product and a fake one?
It takes time. I’ve built up my authentication skills day by day, examining hundreds of items and creating specific guidelines for each brand. But as standards of production continue to change, counterfeiters are also evolving to imitate them.
Generally, a luxury product has unique features—stitching, quality of material, minute details—that are almost impossible to replicate. However, the rise of streetwear brands proves to be a challenge owing to the lack of consistency and quality of products that might appear fake upon the first inspection.
3. Can you name some of the top counterfeited products you know of?
Currently, streetwear products are the most counterfeited.
The demand for Balenciaga, Off-White, and Yeezy is crazy, and among the hundreds of pieces we receive every day, we easily spot a fake or two.
4. What is the easiest factor of authenticity to check for in an Hermès Birkin?
One can check the stitching, construction, hardware, stamping, and so on. Just like a symphony, every single detail in a Birkin bag matters and plays its unique note. That’s why Hermès is the essence of luxury.
Whenever I authenticate a Birkin, my attention first goes to the Touret—the feature in the middle where the lock hooks. Its movement should be smooth and flawless, never too loose or stiff. The serial code is a crucial touchpoint as well; the year of production should match the color and the type of leather used in that specific collection—a detail that counterfeiters are still not able to emulate.
5. Which category takes more time to authenticate?
It depends on the item itself and its condition. Handbags require more time because their checklist is longer—more details and more inclusions to examine. Sneakers can be challenging too.
The key here is always research. Being regularly updated with the latest trends, collections, and productions is part of my daily job, and one of the factors that feed my passion for luxury!
6. Any rare pieces in mind you wish to authenticate someday?
It would be splendid to get my hands on a real Hermès Veau Volynka Haut à Courroies Bag or a late 19th-century Louis Vuitton trunk.
7. What are the challenges authenticity experts face with vintage items?
Vintage is definitely a challenging category.
Every vintage piece tells a story; it allows me to see the evolution of brands during the time, either in terms of design or the nature of handiwork. With vintage pieces, I check for modern manufacturing signs, usage of glue, cheap amendments, and missing parts, or any inconsistency with the year of production.
8. Many people don’t shop for designer goods online for fear that they might be duped. Tell us, why should people trust the products on The Luxury Closet?
I understand the discomfort behind shopping for designer goods online, but I can testify that authenticity is essential to The Luxury Closet.
We carefully authenticate every single item before listing, making sure it fully matches the brand’s standards. Our authentication process is rigorous, and we practise the freedom of rejecting those we are not 100% sure of.
Luxury goods are special because they are impeccably crafted, exclusive in design, made for few, and they embody the values and inimitable skills of talented artisans. For these very reasons, authenticity exists at the heart of The Luxury Closet with experts like Nicola Ghin to make sure only 100% authentic items are sold to you.