If there’s one problem that has beleaguered luxury brands with no real solution in sight, it is existence of fakes! From the famed Louis Vuitton to Gucci, Prada and Burberry, no brand has been saved from the onslaught. Despite the best efforts of luxury brands, the market for fakes is only getting better established, and yes, more professional.
Spotting a fake product is only getting harder for the average consumer. Sure, there are handy tips – for example, the number of stitches per inch in a seam may be a trade secret, and items like Coach bags have serial numbers. But for the larger part, it’s all about the buyer’s ability to spot a fake.
Here are some helpful tips on how you can check whether your luxury purchases are originals or a cheap knock-offs:
Bags are the hottest target in the fakes game. That’s why you need to be doubly careful of your purchase! Product quality is an indication of whether the bag is genuine. The quality of leather (grain and stiffness), the stitching, the logo print and the metal are some of the most difficult parts of the bag to be copied.
For example, the print of a Louis Vuitton bag will never be cut off on the curves or have loose threads hanging out at the end of the stitch. The metal add-ons will be more solid than hollow. Check for the quality of finish on hardware such as zippers, clasps, screws and buckles.
Further, there could be a minor disparity in the design element, spelling of the brand, finishing & quality of logo, placement of the logo. Labels on the inside of the bags are generally stamped onto the leather and fake bags are sometimes missing this part. Do scrutinize the location of manufacture on the label as well.
As with hand bags, the key lies in spotting discrepancies in quality of material, finish and fit. The stitching is another important way you can know it is a copy, the threads might be loose and stitching uneven. The quality of the cloth may also differ drastically to cut costs. The brand label is usually the biggest giveaway of a fake. It will either have a difference of font or colour, spelling mistakes, or minor errors in the brand logo. Look closely!
High-end outlets always offer an authenticity guarantee. If the shop you are buying from doesn’t look and feel high-end, chances are it’s not—and chances are neither are the products.
Buying online poses a fresh set of problems. Buy high value luxury products only from trusted sources, irrespective of how attractive the price is. Read reviews and feedback left by other buyers. It’s also important to have a close view of the product being bought –
“Don’t buy an item against a stock image. Make sure to request photos of the actual piece with the ability to view it up close and in detail”
— Graham Wetzbarger, Senior Director of Authentication, The Real Real.
Here’s an often overlooked way of saving yourself from the embarrassment of buying a fake. Many fake products do not come with the correct packaging – or do not pay attention to matching the look and quality of the original packaging.
Packaging should be as per the current collection or as per the latest packaging standard & material. Be very skeptical of bags with loose, translucent plastic covering the handles. This is a sure sign of counterfeit.
And finally, the most obvious to spot a fake – the price. Use the internet to research on standard prices for the item you wish to purchase. If someone gives you a deal that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
This piece was originally published in the DNA newspaper.
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