Many fashionistas have done it…taken that trip down Canal Street in New York and followed a mysterious woman to a back room to see some fabulous (and not-so-fabulous,) designer knock-offs. It’s big business these days; Counterfeit goods are saturating the internet and streets, with many people actually assuming they are buying the real thing. Ebay is especially tricky, since many sellers have high ratings and include “authenticity” tags. Uh-huh. Though a fake might be fun for a moment, the quality usually decries their origins and leaves us feeling empty. Who doesn’t feel especially stylish with an authentic Gucci or Louis Vuitton on their arm? That’s why it’s important to know you’re getting the real deal for your hard-earned stacks, and here are a few ways to sift through the posers.
1. Does that handbag style actually exist?
This is the easiest way to check on the bag you’re thinking of buying. Sites like louisvuitton.com will have the specs on the designer bags they sell, so you can see if the LV Alma or Burberry Hobo you want are listed with the manufacturers. Certain styles only come in a limited number of colors, so that hot pink Gucci you found may not have ever been produced by Gucci at all because it was only offered in black and brown.
2. Does the bag have a few “extras”?
Faux is often slightly more blinged out than the real McCoy, so check the bag for a few “extras”. These include extra feet, extra stitching, extra pockets, extra straps, or extra hardware.
3. Is it “on sale” for an extremely low price?
Many designer bags, like Louis Vuitton, never, ever go on sale. If you see a new and unused LV on sale, go ahead and assume it is a fake. Brands like Burberry and Prada do go on sale, but only at major retailers like Neiman Marcus or reputable on-line boutiques. If the cost seems unusually low, it’s more than likely a fake. You can find pre-owned designer bags at a reasonable cost, but you will rarely find new handbags at an unbelievably low price.
4. Does it smell?
This might sounds silly, but if it smells like plastic or synthetic materials, the bag is a fake. Real leather, canvas, and other materials will certainly have a scent, but it won’t smell like it’s been on the shelf in Toys R Us. Though the smell of a fake will eventually “air out”, you can pick up on the pungent scent of counterfeit with a good whiff of the outside and inside of the bag.
5. Check the spelling.
This also might sound silly, but it’s very common to find an amazing bag that looks 100% authentic, only to find out it isn’t real through the misspelling of the brand name. Though the bag might say PRADA on the outside, check the inside label, authenticity card, or dust bag. It may read: PRADDA or PRAADA, which can go unnoticed easily at first glance. In fact, I had a friend who bought a Kate Spate bag, thinking it was a Kate Spade.
The smallest details can sometimes add up to the biggest fraud, so do your homework before spending a small fortune on a fabulous designer bag!
-Hilary Kennedy is a contributing author for YouPlus Style and YouPlus Dallas, focusing primarily on Style, Arts and Entertainment, and Dating and Relationships. Hilary also stars in many videos for YouPlusMedia and has her own show, The Hilary Kennedy Show.