Vintage t-shirt authentication has always been somewhat hard knowledge to obtain. With fakes getting better and better, it has been harder to crowdsource reliable information about authenticity. Legit checks are obviously nothing new, but its usually done on a person to person level, or in smaller Facebook groups. Sneaker communities have addressed this problem by having entire apps and companies dedicated to third party authentication. The first of its kind has just come to vintage. LEGITEEM8 is a new application that looks to tackle to problem of vintage clothing authentication through crowdsourcing of opinions and expert verification. We spoke with founders Amir, AKA @citees.us on IG, and James, AKA @defunkd on IG, to learn more about the app.
So how did the app come about?
“Its been almost a year since the idea phase and been in development for over 6 months. We reached out to each other and thought there needed to be an authentication service for vintage tees. Initially it started with blockchain but we felt there needed to be an app. Its been a year of like bug testing, development, wireframes and coordinating things out.”
Talk about the crowd sourcing element to the platform-
James: “Well it was inspired by rotten tomatoes. Everyone wants to be an armchair authenticator. We thought what if we did this as an app. The other part that we thought was what if we did authentication for free?
Users will also be rewarded for participating by gaining badges and an accuracy score for accurate legit and price checks.”
How are you guys planning on making money?
“We have the free option which is basically you uploading a shirt to the community and people tell you what we think. But we can also get an expert to review it for a small fee. We also have different layers of certification or NFT based certificates for you. We are also doing a rev share model with the different experts we have on board.”
Who is on the expert team?
“James: Defunkd is of course, Stephenvoland– the vintage tee shirt aficionado, Jack from @niketeesaretheshit– no one knows Nike like him, @djkevinscott who really understands rap tees. We have @maxsnaps who specializes in older tees, theres @skippyhahavintage who is the first lady of vintage. We also have @rewarevintage and @nostalgeec who are all around experts in tees as well.”
Do you see authentication as being the next great challenge facing vintage?
“Its getting so advanced. The level of how good these fakes are getting is insane. They are getting better and better but I don’t think they will always be able to get it right.
Tracking on the blockchain is one great way to solve the authenticity problem, and every shirt has a story so provenance tracking on the blockchain would be super helpful in unlocking value for shirts that have a unique history.”
How manageable you think it is to get vintage folks associated with the blockchain?
“Yes! Well we try to make things easy. We mint all the NFTs on the blockchain but allow them to store the NFTs on our app until they are ready to to transfer to their wallet. Part of it is also just about educating, it will take time and wont happen overnight.
We can house the NFT if theres no wallet and we make it super simple to connect a wallet.”
How are you guys planning on promoting the app?
“Right now the dust is just settling from this launch but we definitely have a plan- we are really planning on doing some ads and some influencer campaigns within the vintage community.”
What was the biggest challenge in developing the app?
“The blockchain part. WE had to become an expert in it while also dumbing it back down so we can get first time users familiar with it.
We also had to change our name, trademark issues arose so we needed to make sure we were safe there.”
How does the appraisal system work on the app?
“While users are authenticating, there’s a button in which users can submit an appraisal. This will calculate an average based on the amounts submitted by our users.”
How are you guys planning on expanding your service offering?
“Well we think we can take this and move it to other spaces whether its sneakers or whatever else. Our goal is to just instill knowledge within the space and get people to know what they are buying, selling, and the value behind what they have.”
Is it crazy to you seeing how much innovation is happening within the space given the fact that a lot of people do try their best to gate keep vintage?
“If technology can help you streamline your business process, I think it forces new and old users to embrace it.
People are always going to moan and groan about progress within the space. I remember when Instagram started tons of people were complaining. Same thing happened with lives. People will always complain but its about staying ahead of the curve.”