Buying a designer handbag is one of life’s greatest joys. However, nothing can burst your “Look at me and my brand new Birkin bag” bubble more than someone pointing out it’s actually a fake. Designer knockoffs have become a massive multi-billion dollar business—and because of that it is increasingly hard to tell the difference between a fake and the real thing. Here, some tips to keep in mind to make sure you are enjoying the real deal.
If it sounds too good to be true than it probably is. If you’re being ushered down an alley or into a basement by someone who is offering you a Balenciaga bag for $100 then the chances are it’s a fake.
Do your research. If you’re not planning on buying a bag from a designer’s store or a reputable department store, then make sure you do your research beforehand. Getting familiar with the details of the bag you’re after will help you to recognize the real deal. Head to a department store to study both the inside and outside of the bag. What exact shade of brown is it? Where are certain logos placed? Some counterfeit bags omit certain details such as a back pocket or hardware on zippers, so study those details.
Packaging counts. A designer handbag usually comes complete with a dust bag, authenticity card, and care card, but due to recent advances in counterfeiting these are now being forged so don’t go on this alone. Other signs of a knockoff include the use of paper packaging around the buckles and clear plastic over the handles.
It’s all about the stitching. If the stitching seems to be sloppy, uneven, or slanted, then you are probably looking at a fake bag. A given, but the stitching should never be frayed!
You can’t fake leather. The majority of designer handbags are either made from leather or durable canvas. Remember, if it claims to be made from leather then it should have a soft but dry feel to it—fake leather will feel sticky and oily. Also, real leather has a distinct smell that is hard to replicate. Study the handles. Something to keep in mind about authentic designer bags is that if they have leather straps or handles then after a few weeks of wear the color from the leather should have discolored slightly—fake leather handles will still be shiny and unchanged.
Tags and labels are giveaway. Designer bags usually have their signature logo or design on the front of the bag, and also on the inside where it might be stamped or hand-stitched. Remember, designers pride themselves on their work so they wouldn’t allow their name to be poorly crafted.
How To Spot a Fake Louis Vuitton Handbag
1. Always remember that the O’s in Louis Vuitton should have a perfectly round shape— many counterfeits use oval shaped O’s instead.
2. Check that the Louis Vuitton bag you are considering buying actually exists. Sounds obvious, but there have been examples of the Vernis being sold in black even though Louis Vuitton never made it in black.
3. Louis Vuitton is extremely careful about the way that its monogram is placed, and it is usually completely symmetrical from side to side.
4. Not all Louis Vuitton bags are made in France, so if your bag says ‘Made in USA’ don’t automatically assume it’s a fake.
5. Some styles such as the Speedy have upside down LVs on the back-side of the bag— the reason being that Louis Vuitton will use one continuous piece of leather that will wrap from the back to the front so one side will have an upside down logo.
How To Spot a Fake Chanel Handbag
1. Make sure it has interlocking C’s—many knockoffs have interlocking O’s which are snipped after production to look similar to a C.
2. The quilting should be symmetric, so make sure to study it.
3. Chanel authenticity cards are often copied, so they can’t be used as a guarantee of the bags authenticity.
4. Chanel does not attach any tags or wrapping, so if a bag comes with a tag attached then it’s safe to assume you’ve got a fake on your hands.
5. The bag should be stamped with CHANEL on the inside as well as having ‘Made in France’ directly underneath it or to the side.
6. Newer Chanel bags will come in a black dust bag with ‘Chanel’ written in black, while vintage Chanel bags will come in a white felt bag with a black logo.
How To Spot a Fake Hermès Handbag
1. Hermès bags will never come with paper tags attached to them.
2. The Hermès Birkin and Kelly bag come complete with an engraved lock and key set. The lock will have the word Hermès written on the bottom and there will be a matching number that is placed on the lock and the key.
3. Hermès never uses a metal nameplate on the inside of its bags.
4. There is no such thing as a “Vintage Birkin,” the Birkin has only been around since 1984.
How To Spot a Fake Goyard Handbag
1. The texture of a Goyard bag should be a bit bumpy considering the bags are hand-painted.
2. Authentic Goyard bags are made from special resin coated linen and are lined with a cotton/linen fabric that leaves the bag feeling extremely light unlike many of the fakes that are made from cheap cotton and vinyl.
3. Goyard bags come in a plain dust bag that is placed within a plain, unmarked brown box. There will be no plastic covered handles or leather tags on the handle.
4. Goyard bags are only sold at a small number of retail locations. If you are buying a used Goyard ask for the original receipt or even the place of purchase to match up with the list of retailers on Goyard’s website.
How To Spot a Fake Gucci Handbag
1. Study the cut of the leather intently, especially around the interior zippered pocket (if it is a style of bag comes with a pocket). The cut should be exactly the same all the way around the pocket.
2. The handbag should come with the Gucci Controllato Card which should have GUCCI written in capitals with a dark grey background. Underneath that in a white background should be the word ‘controllato’ and the numbers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0. The back of the card is always left blank.
3. The Gucci dust bag should have drawstring closures and there are two types of Gucci dust bags. The first type is made from dark brown satin and the GG logo is printed on the front with the second G being upside down. The second type is a solid light brown color with GUCCI written in gold across the front.
4. On the inside tag where it says GUCCI and ‘Made in Italy’ there should also be a style/model number with a four or six digit serial stamped on the leather.