Mario Boselli, scion of a textile empire that dates back to 1586, thinks he’s found a way to outsmart the counterfeiters who have plagued the Italian fashion industry. A large, courtly man in his sixties, Boselli sits in his showroom in Milan, surrounded by racks of avant-garde clothes. He explains how his company makes a sophisticated synthetic fabric called Jungle for Gianni Versace. Suddenly, he gets up and returns with a swath of the intricately patterned jersey fabric. “It’s difficult to copy,” says Boselli. “The printing process is too expensive.”

According to Boselli, who also heads Milan-based Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, the leading fashion trade group in Italy, designers have been racking their brains to thwart counterfeiters. Some are even starting to imbed microchips in products like handbags and blouses, he notes. Despite their best efforts, however, most haven’t been able to outwit the counterfeiters.

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