Holograms to tackle textiles counterfeiting go on show on Dubai Expo

Most people are familiar with holograms printed on bank notes to deter fraudsters – but now experts are showing a way they can be used to tackle fakes in the multi-billion-pound textile industry.

Professor Martin Richardson, Professor of Holography at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), has pioneered a way to embed a hologram onto the very fibres of threads which shows up when the fabric is placed under a microscope.

Hologram Martin

His hologram-marked threads have been weaved into the material use for safety-critical fabrics used for parachutes and displayed as part of the world’s largest trade show, the Dubai Expo.

It could lead to new approaches being taken to protect against other forms of textiles such as the clothing and handbags industries being illegally produced.
The global counterfeiting industry is expected to hit the $4.2trillion mark by 2022. Last year the fashion industry lost more than $50billion due to the sale of fake products including those claiming to be from top clothing and accessory brands.

Professor Richardson said:  "The holographic technology being developed at De Montfort University is targeted for brand protection, being able to identify a genuine article from fake. Counterfeits now proliferate consumer goods and its vital to protect both public, and industry, if we are to continue developing a strong and safe economy."

DMU is one of the only official founding partners for the UK Pavilion at the Expo, which is run by the Department of International Trade (DIT). 

Textile piracy poses a great threat to the international textile industry. Traffic in pirate textiles is proliferating worldwide – it is rapidly diversifying into new technologies and formats including safety critical items.   

DMU is home to a specialist technical facility known as the HOLO-Lab which is led by Professor Richardson. He has been working in the holographic industry for decades and earlier this year, produced one of the first true-colour holograms.

Professor Richardson – regarded as an imaging pioneer – has made holograms of many famous people, including film directors Martin Scorsese and Alan Parker, as well as the fine artist Sir Peter Blake and writer Will Self. He also worked with rock star David Bowie on a project using 3-D promotional material  

Posted on Wednesday 3rd November 2021

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