Designer bags hold a significant amount of power throughout the fashion industry – they’re stylish, have the ability to upgrade any outfit, and are basically every maven’s weakness. The only downside to these luxury must-haves is the fact that they’re pretty costly, and getting more expensive by the season – precisely why more and more people are turning towards finding the ultimate bargain.
But whether you choose to opt for consignment or reserve a day to go thrifting, one thing is pretty evident: the market for handbag knockoffs is one that’s quickly growing. So rather than have you invest your hard-earned coins on an fake, we’ve gathered some rules for shopping secondhand.
Because who ever said telling the difference between an imitation and the real deal was easy?
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
We get it: the sole purpose of shopping secondhand is to score a major deal on a timeless piece. But if the price sounds too good to be true, then chances are, it probably is. Most luxury bags don’t run for less than half their normal retail price – and that’s considering a significant amount of wear and tear.
Make sure you have a good understanding of leather.
Leather is something that can’t be faked. The material has a one-of-a-kind smell and a soft but dry feel to it (you never want to smell rubber or a chemical-like scent). Also remember that when it comes to handles and straps, fake leather will stay shiny and unchanged over time, versus genuine leather that discolors.
All luxury bags DO NOT have authenticity cards.
While authenticity cards are an important component for most bags, not all carry them. In fact, Louis Vuitton and Hermes don’t have them. But if you’re purchasing a bag that does carry one, make sure to pay attention to font size and type so there aren’t any inconsistencies.
Have a strong eye when looking at seams and stitching.
Seams of designer bags are rarely (if ever) glued, so that’s a surefire way to distinguish a knock-off. As far as stitching, check to make sure the needlecraft doesn’t seem sloppy, uneven or slanted.
Hardware makes a huge difference.
Typically it’s the small details that count the most. Take account of specifics like zippers and closures, because they often are a major deciding factor. The hardware on luxury bags usually have the same color and finish.
Let’s get to the specifics: Chanel
When it comes to Chanel, a quick way to tell if the bag is fake is by checking the interlocking C’s. Most knockoffs have interlocking O’s, which are snipped after production to look like a C. Also take a peek at the inside label: the “CHANEL, Made In Italy” text should be parallel to the stitching.
A big indicator of this bag’s authenticity is whether it has the proper identification stamp (located inside the bag). The letters on the stamp signify the country the bag was made in while the numbers represent when it was made. Also be aware that not all Louis Vuitton bags are made in France, so if your bag says ‘Made in USA’ that doesn’t automatically mean it’s a knockoff.
Take a look at the label stamp at the top of the bag. Rather than sit on top of the leather, the stamp should look like it’s a part of the fabric. Also keep in mind that Hermes bags will NEVER come attached with paper tags, and that there is no such thing as a “Vintage Birkin” – the Birkin style has only been around since 1984.
As far as Prada goes, you want to dissect the logo plaque inside and out. The plaque should have an exact match on the interior fabric of the bag as it does the outside. Also, a sure-fire way to know if you’re looking at an authentic Prada is by checking the zippers. The label only uses specific brands (Lampo, Ykk and Ipi are a few examples) so check to see if those names are embossed on the back of the zipper.
To determine whether a Gucci bag (or wallet) is real, take a look at the inside tag. The word ‘GUCCI’ should be in capital letters on the front of the leather tag, along with ‘Made in Italy’ right below it. On the back side, there should be a style number with four or six numbers stamped on it. Also keep in mind that Gucci only makes two type of dust bags: a dark brown satin bag with the GG logo on the front, and a light brown bag with GUCCI written across.