Luxury fashion is an ever-growing market. Everyone knows this. Especially in India, it’s becoming increasingly common to see parades of men and women brandishing their favourite Gucci bags and belts. Even the kids can’t escape the trend, with their Burberry scarves and Gucci loafers. However, the abundance of such popular brands and trends means that the question of authenticity holds a less nonchalant gravity. As the luxury market grows, the replica market grows with it, both in presence and also, more worryingly, in quality. From a distance it can be incredibly difficult to tell the difference between a genuine handbag and a fake one. It’s only upon closer scrutiny that the difference becomes clear.
As dealers of only absolutely authentic, 100% genuine luxury fashion accessories, we at Luxurystation.com feel that it is our duty to aid you in identifying the difference between Chloé and Chole. Here we present our first installment of How to Spot a Fake, in which we focus on handbags from three prominent brands – Louis Vuitton, Prada and Chanel – and the quality that sets them apart at the top of the luxury fashion world.
First, a few general points that hold true for most luxury brands out there:
1. Check the inside.
Counterfeiters often don’t get a chance to look at a bag closely enough to completely match the details such as the inner lining materials and tone, the presence or lack or pockets.
2. Check the zip.
Luxury brands tend to use heavy, solid metal hardware for their zip closures and other joints/hinges, and these are built to move smoothly and evenly. Also make sure any branding on these metal parts are actually supposed to be there.
3. Know the real deal.
The best way to understand the difference between real and fake designer accessories is to familiarize yourself with the real thing. Visit the brand stores to keep an eye on those new designs you like and take note of the smaller details so that you can identify fakes more accurately and confidently.
Keeping this in mind, let’s begin our case studies.
All handbags from Louis Vuitton come with an unique ID printed or embossed onto a tag. The code’s generation itself varies over time so if there are bags that don’t match the correct formula it’s a clear indication of in-authenticity.
In the top right square you can the difference in the exterior of this particular bag. Remember, at a distance these two bags could look very much identical, but closeups will show you another story. The fake bag’s coated canvas is much too shiny, the colour is off, the branding is in the wrong place and the checks are too large. Materials play a big part in what makes a handbag a premium product, and the wrong materials are easily exposed under the right scrutiny.
The bottom two images show the superior quality of stitching that is evident in all top-of-the-line brands. It is concise, subtle, absolutely uniform and completely unforgiving.
As mentioned above, your biggest strength in identifying fake products lies in knowing the originals. Take Prada, for example. Look at the Prada logo closely and you will notice that the little leg of the ‘R’ is slightly curved, a characteristic that is missed on the majority of replicas.
Speaking of logos, the bottom two images are a clear illustration of branding. Prada tends to put its logo on any hardware included on its handbags, so anything like a padlock or a metal plate or a zip will hold its name. The inside of the zip, meanwhile, will hold the stamp of one of only six companies that Prada gets its zips from (Ipi, Lampo, Opti, Riri and YKK). This kind of partnership is prevalent through many brands, so learn beforehand what names to rightly expect when doing your checks.
Chanel’s logo has its own unique detail that many replicas miss. At the two crossings of the double ‘C’, the top crossing has the right-hand ‘C’ on top of the left hand ‘C’, while the bottom crossing is the reverse. Any inconsistency with this waves an immediate red flag. In addition to this, there is a unique hologram sticker on the unique serial code of every handbag. This hologram was introduced around 2000 and has been featured on all stickers since then. A lack of a hologram or a poorly executed one are clear signs of replication.
You can see all the aforementioned detailing in action – especially the stitching, notice how the lines don’t break even over pockets or flaps – such that the authenticity of this classic, iconic bag is not in doubt.
No matter how good a replica may be, it is never going to be exactly the same. This is something that you can train your eyes to see over a long time of shrewd inspection and through experience, though it’s also true that a little knowledge of these facts can go a long way. There’s no comparison between an authentic Hermès Birkin worth €50,000 and a counterfeit look-a-like that sets you back only €5,000. You’re not just paying for a name. You’re paying for the quality that comes with it, for the durability that is ingrained into its very essence, and of course, for fashion that has earned its price tag through immeasurably superior craftsmanship.