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How to spot a fake designer handbag


As well as shopping online more than ever before, we are also embracing the secondhand market more than we ever have, with experts predicting that resale will be worth twice what fast fashion is by 2030. While this is great news for fashion consumption, and there are now plenty of reputable resale sites around to choose from, we still need to ensure that we are shopping carefully when it comes to buying secondhand designer goods, particularly if we are doing so online.

According to luxury resale site Vestiaire Collective, 61 per cent of online users have been duped into buying fake designer goods, so it is always worth doing your due diligence when it comes to spending your money on a secondhand product, particularly if you are parting with money before seeing it with your very own eyes.

Fanny Moizant, co-founder of Vestiaire, shares with us how to know whether or not your new designer purchase is a counterfeit. Make sure to pay attention to the below, asking for specific photographs or checking these elements of the product in person (if possible) before you buy, or ensuring it fits the bill once it arrives.

Check the quality of the material the bag is made from

This can be the first giveaway of a counterfeit product. If the item is supposed to be leather, it should feel and smell like leather.

Take a close look at the hardware

It should feel solid rather than hollow and shouldn’t chip.

The stitch work is another area to pay careful attention to

Bad craftsmanship here is often a key giveaway. Uneven, slanted or back-and-forth stitching is a sign of a poorly made item.


A cheap lining is another clue to look out for

Feel the quality and carefully inspect the colour. Counterfeiters often work from photos, which can distort the tone of the lining colour, leading to them using the wrong shade.

The logo is another easy slip-up area for counterfeiters

It’s really all about the detail here, so make sure you’re aware of the particularities of the brand logo.

Check the pockets

Does the bag you’re looking at have the correct number of pockets in the right placement for that particular model?

Finally, check the inner label for any discrepancies

Is the logo centred, should there be a hologram or a serial number? If there’s a serial number, is it in the correct sequence? The best thing to do is to check it against one that you know to be the real deal.


Meanwhile, Alice Reed, a stylist from online-discovery platform Brandrated shares specific details on how to know whether you are looking at the real deal from Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermes, some of the most valuable and therefore most copied designer handbags around.


How to know a Louis Vuitton handbag is real


  • The iconic monogram Louis Vuitton bag is built with a coated canvas and not leather. Each Louis Vuitton bag goes through 100 stages of production and the canvas holds a distinct look that is hard to replicate. Although a true Louis Vuitton bag often holds lambskin lining and a cowhide trim, the body of the classic monogram is always canvas and never leather. Counterfeits often replicate the look of leather and as a result, feature a grain. A leather grain indicates that the bag is not Louis Vuitton.
  • The house of Louis Vuitton does not include serial numbers alongside their pieces. However, pieces from the 1980s onwards hold ‘hidden’ date stamps. Date stamps do not serve to highlight authenticity but to provide information of where the piece was made and the date. Typically found within the bag’s interior, the numbers are often embossed behind the Louis Vuitton seam. Counterfeit bags are not likely to hold a date stamp however, those of a high quality may replicate the stamp.
  • Newer Louis Vuitton pieces feature a microchip that cannot be seen by eye. Only Louis Vuitton stores can scan the bag to receive its information.
  • All Louis Vuitton hardware is embossed with the brand’s logo. Counterfeits rarely replicate this.
  • Louis Vuitton does not publish statements regarding the authenticity of handbags. If a bag is accompanied by an authenticity statement, then it is a counterfeit.


How to know a Chanel handbag is real


  • Chanel panelling is iconic. Counterfeits often hold less than eight stitches per panel, indicating an imitation.
  • A quilted Chanel bag is built with the highest craftsmanship. Every authentic design sees that the quilting aligns across the bag. Counterfeit products rarely replicate this level of artistry.
  • Chanel pieces are accompanied with an authenticity card. Each card features a serial number that is between six to eight digits. Any series of numbers below six or above eight is not authentic.
  • A Chanel backplate is secured with screws that can only be removed with a tool from the fashion house and not a household screwdriver.


How to know a Hermes handbag is real


  • If a Hermes bag is escorted by an authenticity card, it is not a true Hermes as the designer does not provide cards with its pieces.
  • Each Hermes bag is handmade, making its stitching flawless. If a bag’s stitching is un-plucked or out of line, it is likely to be fake.
  • A Hermes zip holds in place at either end or never falls at the side.
  • Every Hermes lock comes with a key.


From Harper’s Bazaar UK

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