Since our first Borrow My Balmain article went up yesterday, a bunch of people have slid into my DMs with stories about their own experiences with the business.
However, there was one this morning that really caught my eye.
A young woman, who confirmed to Fashion Journal (via employee documents) that she works for Gucci, sent me side-by-side screenshots of influencer and Big Brother alumni Tully Smyth in a ‘Gucci’ dress from Melbourne Cup Day, next to the original runway version.
The tip-off came after the source, requesting to remain anonymous, was allegedly told at work that “if anyone asks for [Tully Smyth’s] dress, to say ‘that is not a Gucci product.’”
We have contacted Gucci’s head of PR for confirmation of this verbal communication to employees, but have yet to receive an official response.
Smyth was contacted for comment on the allegations that she wore a fake Gucci dress to the Melbourne Cup, as provided by Borrow My Balmain (which was tagged in all four Instagram posts), and hasn’t provided a statement. Her manager, Genevieve Day of Day Management, had this to say:
“Yes, Tully’s Melbourne Cup dress was a loan from Borrow My Balmain. She was assured authentic Gucci and would never knowingly wear an imitation or copied design.”
A request for comment from Borrow My Balmain’s now-moved account also went unanswered, although the DM I sent declares it was ‘seen’. They then changed their username a second time.
Among the allegations on social media, and via DM, to both Fashion Journal and myself personally, are declarations that this wasn’t the first time that the business (run by singer Chloe Maggs) has been caught out peddling fake goods. That is, of course, despite Maggs’ statements yesterday to the contrary.
Two separate customers have contacted Fashion Journal their own experiences, with one sending screenshots of correspondence between themselves and the business, allegedly showing that BMB admitted they were sent fake goods as far back as May of this year.
In one screenshot, from customer Rebecca Phillips, the Borrow My Balmain account asserts via private message that they “can guarantee authenticity on majority of our pieces as I have purchased them from the stores myself.”
I don’t know about you, but a ‘majority’ of authentic goods wouldn’t quite cut it for me.
Says Phillips of the experience: “Earlier this year I was on the hunt to buy the Gucci Logo tee, it was sold out EVERYWHERE, so I thought I'd hire it for an upcoming event. I saw it available on BMB – and if I also hired the GG logo belt, I’d get a little discount. So I contacted them in April this year – I got weird vibes after noticing they didn't have a running website page, but after reading their posts and so-called "reviews" I decided to give this new company a chance. During the first few messages, I was told T&Cs would be sent through, but I never received one email from BMB - not even a receipt.”
After being pressed by Phillips, they admit, “I’m comparing the Gucci tees now, and I can see what u [sic] mean. They have a slight variation in quality… I suppose we have to be really careful purchasing from fashion houses now.”
“The screenshots [sent to Fashion Journal] show my disgusting experience with Borrow My Balmain,” says Phillips. “After my encounter, I did report them to ScamWatch but never received a follow-up email from ScamWatch, as I filed the complaint anonymously.”
A well-known fashion blogger joined the fray, contacting me privately and wishing to go unnamed, and had this to say about her experience with previously borrowing garments from the online lending store:
“I was contacted by the founder of Borrow My Balmain claiming to have chosen a select few Australian celebrities to feature her pieces on TV and in campaigns, and requesting to dress me for my exclusive events. Having seen the identities she dressed, I had no doubt that she would have done the adequate research required… Never would I have thought what I was wearing [could be] a fake.”
“I just really hope I haven’t sent any followers to her site, and if so I do hope she makes adequate compensation to those customers who used her services.”
There were more, dear readers, but we have word counts to consider…
Sure, it can be a dangerous thing to publish allegations from sources who wish to remain unnamed – however, when screenshots of direct messages start filtering through, it’s hard to ignore their weight.
Either way, Borrow My Balmain has confirmed at least two fake designer items so far, and now refuse to comment on this latest allegation. It’s hard to imagine that the Gucci tee, back in May, was also the fault of the still-unnamed ‘US stylist’ responsible for the Dior fakes.
It seems the old adage stands true, particularly in light of the Borrow My Balmain saga… Buyer beware.
Follow Bianca at @_thesecondrow