Interview: Jasmine Habbouchi, eBay Australia Authenticator, sniffs or
We warned you earlier this year, and now it’s official. eBay Australia has partnered with Sneaker Con to authenticate the sneakers we buy and sell on the platform. This decision increases our confidence in the buying process and decreases our chances of getting stuck with some Karl Stefanovic Yeezys.
While the decision to incorporate authentication was greeted with open arms, questions still prevail in the minds of sneakerheads from Sydney to Scarborough Beach: Who checks these sneakers? What are they doing to verify them? How can we be sure that they can tell the true from the false? The eBay Australia Authentication Program Manager is there to explain the process, present her impressive credentials and reassure us. Chief authenticator Jasmine Habbouchi tells the story of legitimate checks.
How did you end up with this job?
It’s no surprise that I’m a huge sneakerhead – something that started when I was a kid. I grew up in West Sydney and was pretty much obsessed with sneakers when my parents bought me my first pair of Lynx sneakers in the 90s. Most of the sneakers I had were those from my older brother, but as I got older I was inspired by stars like Missy Elliot – I love her adidas line. I have no idea how many pairs of sneakers I own now, but they number in the hundreds, my favorite pairs being the adidas Superstars and the Yeezy 700 Bright Blue.
My experience is strongly linked to the culture of sneakers. I previously worked for adidas and before getting into professional sneaker authentication I worked as an art curator, hosting underground art and sneaker events in Sydney including KRVNM (an exhibition skull art annual since 2014) and MIDSÖLE (a sneaker art exhibition since 2018). I am also part of the group Stayfly Sydney which has turned into an event for women who love music and street art.
I saw the role of Sneaker Con Authenticator advertised in my circles and knew I had to apply. And from the moment I met the team, I knew this was what I wanted to do.
Is there a training process before starting to authenticate sneakers? What does this imply?
The training is very thorough and this is something I have been doing for several months now, working with the best Sneaker Con authenticators. It is a technical process that requires a thorough analysis of each shoe.
While I knew sneakers before, this role opened my eyes to everything there is to know through all the many sneaker drops over the years. The main thing I understand now is that I will never stop learning in this job – especially as the fakes get more sophisticated. My goal is to continue training an extra hour a day in addition to fulfilling my role to stay on top of the latest changes and releases.
Take me through a normal day in the life of a sneaker authenticator? Is there a step by step process that you follow to authenticate yourself?
While I can’t give all the details, we use a strict data-driven process to inspect various aspects of every sneaker sold on eBay, including logo placement, stitching, leather quality, and even smell.
The authentication process begins before you even open the shoebox. The color and all of the designs printed on it are some of the hardest details for counterfeiters to match, so this is a great place to start. Plus, the label on the box itself has so much detail that it’s hard to fake, like perfectly matched fonts and spacing, the cut around the edges of the label, and even the type of texture of the label. ‘impression. Counterfeiters often focus on the sneaker itself and don’t put in the effort or resources to exactly match the packaging.
We’re often told that the smell can be an easy indication that a sneaker is or isn’t genuine – can you tell me more about that?
Another telltale sign is the smell of the sneaker. If you smell enough genuine pairs, when a fake appears, you know it. It is this “new” smell that everyone knows. You may not be able to identify a specific scent, but you will know that you like the smell of newly made leather, suede, plastic, rubber, etc. Each shoe is made of a mixture of materials that gives it a unique scent. Counterfeiters often reduce production costs by using cheaper materials on the inner parts of the shoe (places most buyers wouldn’t notice) like the glue to bond a sole to the upper of a shoe, the soles. interior and / or interior lining. This is what makes the smell of fake shoes so different from the real ones.
I’ve held, smelled, and examined enough sneakers to confidently say I won’t be fooled by a fake. And I will use my knowledge and experience to make sure that no one buying on eBay will be fooled either.
Are your friends contacting you to check out the sneakers in their collection?
Not yet but I’m sure they will! I can only provide proper authentication when I have all the equipment in front of me, but if possible I will try to help my friends. The beauty of the sneaker community is how close it is. We always try to help each other.
Obviously, the authentication process for each sneaker is going to be quite different. But if someone has a pair they’re unsure of, whether it’s a pair of Jordans, Yeezys, or something else, what are some things to check for reassurance?
Unless you buy from manufacturer authorized outlets, you cannot trust an item 100% unless it is authenticated by a credible source, such as those with the warranty badge. of authenticity on eBay. But you can always start by checking the details of the box, the smell, the location of the logo and the quality of the leather. If any of these things seem wrong, you should definitely question their authenticity.