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13 Foolproof Tips to Spot a Fake Designer Item

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You’ve had your eye on a beautiful Chanel bag for quite some time. And you’ve been saving your hard-earned money for when you can finally splurge on the designer piece. So, when it comes time to make that long-awaited purchase, you want to make sure you’re buying the real thing and not a fake knock-off, right?

Unfortunately, the counterfeit market has gotten very good at fooling consumers, and you could easily fall for their traps, too. So, read these 13 tips to steer clear of false pieces.

Bestseller No. 1
Michael Kors Women's Jet Set Travel Tote No Size (Black)
Saffiano leather; Gold-tone hardware; Double handles with leather & chains with 10"shoulder drop
$137.32
Bestseller No. 2
ALDO Women's Greenwald Crossbody Bag, Black
Foldover flap snap stays securely closed during long commutes and travel.; Synthetic Material: Each bag is made of quality durable faux leather.
$60.00
SaleBestseller No. 3
COACH Outline Signature Zip Tote Light Khaki/Chalk One Size
Zipper Closure, 3 Open Pockets; 14''L X 9''H X 5'' W; 9'' Handle Drop; Signature Jacquard Fabric/Leather
−$32.88 $116.00

1. Know the Most Common Offenders

Not everything is a fake. But it makes sense that the most popular, trendy designer pieces have plenty of knock-offs vying for your attention. So, if there’s a Coach purse that’s all the rage, watch out, because the counterfeit market is busy making replicas for naïve consumers.

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Some of the most popular fakes on the market include wallets from Louis Vuitton, Chanel handbags, clutches from Burberry, Gucci sunglasses and watches from Cartier. So, if you’re eyeing any of these, be sure to do some thorough research before handing over your credit card.

2. What’s the Item’s Source?

Because online shopping is so prevalent, it’s easy to fall prey to counterfeit items. Without being able to see and touch the item personally, you can only trust the pictures. But images can be very misleading.

Therefore, if you’re shopping online, check the source of the item and look for the company’s information. If the website feels and looks shady, the chances of it being a knock-off are pretty high.

3. Don’t Trust Stock Images

If you’re planning to purchase a designer item online – especially on eBay – never accept stock images. Instead, only consider buying an item that has original photos.

This way, you can inspect the quality of the color, leather, hardware, stitching, and other features.

4. If the Price is Too Low, It’s Probably a Fake

You usually can’t get your hands on a designer item without spending a fortune. And even if you’re buying a used designer piece, the price should still be pretty high to reflect the value of the item.

So, if that Louis Vuitton bag has a price that seems too good to be true, it probably is.

5. How’s the Trimming?

Designer items pay close attention to detail, and that goes for everything from the logo, to the stitching, down to the trimming. Fake pieces can get lazy and sloppy in all of these areas.

So, look closely at the trimming. Is the paint job messy or inconsistent? If so, beware of that item. A designer bag would never let that slide.

6. Designer Items Don’t Use Hang Tags

When you’re shopping in stores like Target, H & M and Zara, it’s typical to see hang tags attached to each and every item. But high-end designer pieces are above that practice, and they don’t usually sell their merchandise with hang tags attached.

If you see hang tags and price tags dangling from a Burberry clutch, it’s a red flag!

7. Check the Stitching

When it comes to designer items, there’s so much attention to detail. This means that the stitching is usually more durable, straight, aligned and thick.

On the other hand, fake pieces have tilted and uneven stitching that comes lose easily. Check to see what the stitching looks like both inside and outside of the designer item.

8. Know the Designer Logo

From afar, it might be hard to tell the difference between a real Louis Vuitton bag and a dupe. But if you take time to carefully study the logo, you can begin to see which item is real. Pay attention to fonts, font sizes, alignment, and coloring.

Sometimes, the knock-offs are made with only an image to refer to. So, they can do a good job at replicating an image, but they may falter when it comes to fine details.

9. Look for Genuine Leather

Real, genuine leather isn’t perfect. Instead, it can be slightly irregular. Fake designer pieces, on the other hand, can use faux leather that seems perfect and uniform. It can also have an unhealthy shine or sheen.

So, carefully examine the texture and appearance of any bags claiming to be leather.

10. Is the Hardware Low Quality or Even Plastic?

If the hardware doesn’t get cold the way metal would, there’s a good chance that it’s actually plastic. Furthermore, if zippers, clasps, and chains don’t feel heavy, they may not be made with genuine materials.

Chipping and discoloration of the hardware is also a dead giveaway that the metal is lower quality, and that’s something that high-end designer teams wouldn’t tolerate.

Finally, designer items usually come with hardware that has a matte finish, whereas knock-offs have glossier, shinier pieces.

11. Understand the Stamped Code

Many designer items have a stamped code somewhere within the item. This code isn’t a random combination of letters and numbers.

Instead, these characters help to identify where and when the item was made. By doing some research, you can figure out if the code on your item is actually legitimate or just made up.

Bestseller No. 1
Michael Kors Women's Jet Set Travel Tote No Size (Black)
Saffiano leather; Gold-tone hardware; Double handles with leather & chains with 10"shoulder drop
$137.32
Bestseller No. 2
ALDO Women's Greenwald Crossbody Bag, Black
Foldover flap snap stays securely closed during long commutes and travel.; Synthetic Material: Each bag is made of quality durable faux leather.
$60.00
SaleBestseller No. 3
COACH Outline Signature Zip Tote Light Khaki/Chalk One Size
Zipper Closure, 3 Open Pockets; 14''L X 9''H X 5'' W; 9'' Handle Drop; Signature Jacquard Fabric/Leather
−$32.88 $116.00

12. Check the Inside of the Bag or Item

Since most duplicators are creating knock-offs based on a photo, they don’t know the details of the item’s interior.

So, even if the item looks legitimate, investigate the inner stitching, labeling, authenticity cards, and materials. If the inner material feels cheap and plastic-y, it probably is.

And that means it’s probably not the real thing.

13. Inspect the Buttons

Depending on the piece, some buttons may include the designer’s logo and/or name. This is a tiny detail that counterfeit items usually miss. If the item is supposed to have this detail and doesn’t, move on. This isn’t an authentic piece.

Nobody wants to be duped when they’re buying a high-end designer fashion piece. Just remember to do your research and know the facts. That way, you can easily spot a fake designer item when you see one.

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