A Counterfeit Expert Shares 10 Tricks To Spot A Fake Handbag

In the first part of this authenticating series, I outlined 8 tips for authenticating your jewellery and watches. These were based on tips I learned from working for a leading intellectual property law firm, conducting my own investigations and helping police during criminal seizures.

In the second part of this series, I’m giving you 10 tips on how to authenticate purses and wallets without giving away any confidential and privileged information.   

Look At The Price

This point was brought up in the previous article and it will continue to be on my list of tricks because it’s the first sign you might be faced with a fake. Branded items are very strict with their pricing and if the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Where You Bought It

They are also very strict in where they can be purchased. If you bought a Gucci purse at a discount store, odds are it’s probably fake. These brands have strategically teamed up with certain vendors who are approved to sell their items.

Is There Plastic On The Handles?

A finely crafted authentic purse will often come in a dust bag and a beautiful box. One of the surest signs a purse is fake is if the handles come wrapped in plastic and it comes with none of the above.

how to spot a fake bag
Photo via Vestiaire Collective

Is The Branding Upside Down?

Counterfeiters don’t pay much attention to detail the way the designer brands do. For them, it’s all about quantity, not quality. So they don’t really care if they stitch the lining of the purse or wallet with the branding upside down.

Is The Font Right?

Designer brands will pay attention to details from the stitching (see below) to the font they use for their branding. When buying a purse or wallet, try comparing the brand’s font style to the one you see on the item in front of you. Are the letters and the spacing of the letters the same? If not, put it back right where you found it!

Zoom In On The Stitching

Before designer bags are put into individual boxes and shipped across the world, they undergo major quality control. If a stitch has come off or if the piping of the bag is not immaculate, it won’t make its way to stores. When looking at a purse, look closely that the stitching is straight and consistent.

What’s The Hardware Looking Like?

The hardware used on authentic products are always of good quality. They have good weight and, if they’re gold, will have a solid plating to them so that they don’t fade over time. If you’ve ever looked at a vintage or second hand Louis Vuitton, for example, you’ll know what I mean. Is the colour vivid or intact and does the zipper run along its track seamlessly and smoothly?

how to spot a fake bag
Instagram/@deborabrosa

Is The Leather Real?

Fake bags are made with plastic or faux leather for the most part. I’ve seen counterfeits made of real leather and they’ve almost fooled me. This is because real, good leather has a certain smell to it. Fake leather or plastic will have a certain sheen to it or be squeaky.

Is The Label Wrong?

Some brands will have special labels with the bag’s serial number or some identifying factor to show that that bag is authentic. This varies from brand to brand and is often highly confidential information. Most luxury purses are either made in France or Italy so if they have a plastic hang-tag, it’s likely fake.

Be Wary Of “Hybrid Branding”

Does that purse you’re eyeing have a ‘LV’ logo with Gucci print in the background? There’s no such collaboration and, often times, counterfeiters will slap on as many brand names as possible and think that’ll sell. I like to call this ‘hybrid branding’ and while it helps to know which brands have collaborated, for the most part, if you’ve satisfied one or more of the above tips, it’s probably a fake.

If there’s a demand for it, it can be counterfeited. My go-to signs are actually the least technical ones i.e. price and place it was purchased which should make it easy for the average person to be their own authenticator.

Happy Shopping!

Featured Image: Pxhere

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