A few years ago, at nearly anytime of the day, one could walk around lower Manhattan and buy a counterfeit handbag with ease. In 2012 Federal officials made 7,800 seizures of counterfeit apparel valued at $133 million, but that didn’t stop the illegal hustle.
Designer bags are usually pricey investments, so the appeal to buy knock-offs for a large fraction of the cost made it a thriving business– to be exact, it cost the economy $250 billion and creates 750,000 jobs a year. And with the advent of internet re-sale, the odds of getting a counterfeit bag are higher.
Essentially, if you’re going to spend $100 or $10,000 you want to know what you’re buying.
StyleCaster recently broke down how to identify if a purse is real or fake. Five basic points of reference are:
1. Do your research about what a real purse from the designer’s boutique looks like.
2. Be wary of deals that are too good to be true, they probably are.
3. Inspect the hardware, which should be seamless and the same color/style (except with certain brands).
4. Pay careful attention to seams and stitching that should be fringe-less.
5. Smell to make sure it’s real leather and feels right. It should never smell like glue or feel sticky.
6. Try to stay away from online designer bag outlets, unless they’re designer-approved sites like Net-A-Porter.