We’ve all seen really crappy made knockoff bags: Coach Becomes Goach, Louis Vitton becomes a mish-mash of vague shapes that resemble an L and a V, Burberry becomes Frankenberry – You get the picture. Point is, it’s super easy to spot the fake-fake bags, but can you spot a really good fake? The knock-off industry is a $600 billion industry, and why not? When you’re paying for looks, not quality, you’re lucky a bag can last more than a season. When you pay for high quality, you get quality. When you pay for scraps, well… you get what you pay for. Let’s face it: Sometimes we just don’t have the scratch to rock a legit designer brand, but with this guide, if you have to go off-brand, at least the snobs in the kiosk can’t call you out on it.
Quality is Key
Stitching is a quick way to spot a fake. When designers make their bags, they treat it as if they were in an in-depth surgery. One of the most important things in a surgery is making sure the stitching is done properly and will lessen the chances of an adverse effect such as infection. If the stitching isn’t done correctly, it can all fall apart. The same goes for your designer bag. If the stitching is done loosely, sloppy, or inconsistently, chances are you have a fake. Even if the outside of the bag is done well, make sure to check the lining on the inside to guarantee it’s quality all over, as often times knockoff will hide their sloppy work on the inside. The product used for the bag should also be searched over with a fine-tooth comb. Inspect the leather and make sure it’s actually leather. One way is by feel but the most obvious answer is that the leather will smell like, well, leather (duh). The lining inside should also be durable, if it feels flimsy it’s most likely a fake. A designer handbag should be able to stand stiff on its own. If it sags like a sad sack of potatoes, chances are it’s a fake.
The Name is in the Details
One way to check for authenticity is in the label. Each bag will contain serial numbers with an inside tag. On this tag will have serial numbers, name of the brand, and will either be stamped or stitched onto the inside (remember to check the stitch work!). However, this isn’t always 100 percent the best way to verify a bag is fake. Many really well-done fakes will also have a bogus serial number stamped or stitched inside. Check the print on the tag. Often times the print and font on that tag won’t match the print used on designer bags. While most people won’t be able to spot the fake, a true designer or specialty apparel stores will be able to spot it instantly.
If you’re afraid of getting a fake bag, check the logo on the bag to make sure it matches the company’s logo. While we all know the typical fakes: A “G” for a Guess bag that just looks like a mutated circle, or a coach bag with a weird looking “C”, there are some other sneakier, less obvious logo fakes that many with an untrained eye might not pick up on. When looking at Chanel bags, for example, check that the two Cs as their signature branding logo are spaced correctly. Some knock off-brands will have the two crisscrossed Cs too close together or too far apart. For Michael Kors, if the signature gold letter features only an M and not an MK, it’s a fake. If in doubt, check out the designer of your choice’s website and compare the bag you’d like for inconsistencies.
If you want to shell out the big money for a designer bag, make sure you get it from a trusted space. If you buy a $300 coach purse from some bodega for $30, don’t boo-hoo- you had it coming for being so naive. Go to a legitimate store for one thing. If you want a designer bag at a discounted price, you can always try the main retailer’s outlet store. They’re all legitimate products but pushed for a cheaper price, typically because it’s out of season. If you don’t mind a less in season fashionable bag, these are always better options. Boutiques and well-known department stores are also viable options. The retailers there should still have knowledge of the subject. Also, see if they can offer you certificates of authentification. Again, if you run into a street vendor, don’t be surprised when your bag turns out to be fake. Even if it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s not a fake. If you’re at a thrift shop or estate sale, use the tools and knowledge to sniff out your bag and guarantee that it’s legit.
There’s no shame in not being able to afford the newest things. If a designer bag is too much for you but you still want the status associated with it, there is no reason you can’t get a knock-off or duplicate, just make sure it looks as close to the brand as possible with these essential tips. While you may not fool the designer bag lover or a sales clerk from a fancy boutique, you might be able to fool the common man- but don’t spend too much! Many designer brands also run deals on their site for smaller designer items. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is, but you don’t have to go broke to be stylish.