There are very few women that have not contemplated purchasing a designer bag as a statement piece as they are a status symbol that speaks volumes. As a luxury item, however, investing in a designer bag that is authentic is the conundrum that many have to face when selecting a desired option.
Even to the trained eye, it can be extremely difficult to successfully differentiate between a fake designer handbag and the real deal. With luxury handbags continuing to rise each year, the bar has been raised even that much higher to have the knowledge necessary to select an authentic item. With designer handbags among the most counterfeited luxury items worldwide, there is certain criteria one should possess in order to spot the real thing.
Research Your Interests
Familiarity with the brands you are particularly interested in is one of the best ways to have first-hand knowledge about its products. In addition to viewing pictures online, visit a store and inspect an actual bag from every angle, both inside and out. Know the look and feel of the material, identify any signature elements, and note logo placement as the differences can often be found in the finer details.
Inspecting the Lining and Hardware
Clasps, zippers, and closures are in many cases the most effective way to spot a counterfeit from an authentic handbag. The hardware generally possesses the same finish and color, and all pieces should close and open smoothly.
Tell-tale signs of fake handbags include discolored rivets and buckles, or missing logo monograms. Counterfeiters typically work from stock photographs to make their versions of designer handbags, so pay close attention to pockets that may have been omitted from fake versions.
Examining the Material
Several fashion houses may use only certain materials to produce their handbags, making it especially important to inspect for authenticity. Hermès is an example of one brand that has alternated between certain types of leathers, and some designers, like Louis Vuitton, create their lines using coated canvas with a leather trim.
Note that leather has a particular texture and feel – it should smell like leather and be soft and dry instead of oily. If the handbag comes with straps or handles made with real leather, over time they will become discolored while fake leather remains unchanged as they are typically made of rubber, glue, or other synthetic materials.
Workmanship and Stitching
Expert craftsmanship is a mainstay of premium fashion brands, with stitching being one of the calling cards of true quality work. Stitching should be even with all seams and logos matching up with precision that is unique to each designer. Glued seams, uneven, frayed, or even slanted stitches are clear indicators of a counterfeit handbag.
Fendi, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton are examples of luxury fashion houses that are well-known for their signature monogram patterns. Not only are these prints used for authentication purposes, they also can vary on placement depending on the style of the bag. Knowing the location of these prints and patterns on the handbags you are interested can ensure that you purchased an authentic item.
Know Thy Brand
There are several luxury labels that employ a number of tactics to curb counterfeit reproductions of their designer handbags. Céline produces some of the most coveted bags on the market and are mass reproduced by counterfeiters as they are simpler in design. Fake handbags typically have straps that feature the wrong width and are constructed using inferior materials.
Some sloppy counterfeiters will even misspell the names of the very labels they are attempting to copy, which is a glaring giveaway. Knowing where the item was manufactured can also clue you in as to its authenticity – Louis Vuitton produces a line in Spain, for example, while Marc Jacobs’ collaboration with artist Takashi Murakami resulted in a special edition demarcation exclusive to the release.
Since certificates can also be copied, some luxury brands do not provide certificates upon purchase, making it all the more important to check each handbag overall for expert craftsmanship and quality.
The price of a bag is not necessarily proof of a handbag’s authenticity as amounts can change at any given time. Buyer beware is the name of the game and even retail prices should be checked if applicable.