Seeing how many Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada bags circulate on the metro at rush hour, we thought we should discuss the handbag market struggle with counterfeit goods.
We’ll start from the following premise: for most if you buy a fake bag it is to pretend that it is authentic (because if not, what is the point). Sadly, people producing the same will try at all costs to make it look authentic. The second hand retail of luxury goods, especially bags is at an all time high, by some prediction it is to eclipse the revenue of the actual brand new goods.
When buying second hand risks of ending up with a fake bag are much higher than you’d expect. Here are a few rules helping you distinguish an original from fake a bag.
Read our four rules to not buy a fake bag after the jump:
Rule number 1 – Recognise The Fake
Jumping back to the beginning of our article, we are asking ourselves how come there are so many LV bags on our way to work. Firstly, it is important to know the price of a popular Louis Vuitton bag is to cost you anywhere from 1500,00 euros to a backpack ranging even 4000,00 euros. The price quote varies depending on the design and the popularity of the piece. Pieces from the Louis Vuitton runway collections are in general much more expensive and available for a limited space of time only. In addition, special collections like Louis Vuitton Supreme collaboration were extremely hard to purchase even when released. The Supreme collab is without any doubt one of the most counterfeited lines for the brand.
That said, the answer to why you’ll never miss a few of Louis Vuitton bags on your way to work at 8.00 is the massive flood of fake bags on the market. Not only most of the passengers on the train to work could I am afraid not afford a Louis Vuitton x Supreme bag, they could not even find where to buy it! Buying a vintage Louis Vuitton Supreme backpack would cost you anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 USD.
If you are looking for a convenient yet stylish day to day bag at an affordable price, we would recommend looking into your local brands or special editions at high street shops. As you may know, sometimes quality is not linked to the brand. By buying from local designers we are supporting the growth of our on economy and supporting young talent as well.
Nevertheless, the fascination with branded goods is strongly embedded in the growing counterfeit culture. When buying second hand luxury goods nobody wants to find out their already purchased bag is actually a fake bag. Even if you would continue carrying the same, you simply would not want for people to recognise a fake bag.
When shopping from vintage luxury stores, whatever the authentication the seller is offering there will always be a reasonable trace of doubt in the authenticity. Today’s counterfeiters are highly skilled, and authenticating a Faux Louis Vuitton is harder than you would imagine. Even popular vintage sites such as The Real Real have to work very hard before giving a warranty of authenticity.
Rule number 2 – Beware of Tourist Traps
It will benefit knowing the fake bag is by the rule of thumb to be found in markets on popular tourist destinations. The first step is checking the price. If a Louis Vuitton bag is cheaper than let’s say a leather bag from Zara, you are surely looking into a counterfeited one. That said tourists are the easiest to trick into buying fake goods, therefore without any question mark on your mind all the Louis Vuitton bags you are to see on flea markets, and on the streets are undoubtedly Faux Louis Vuittons.
Most of the locals will already know the stores typical for selling fake goods. If you are travelling, you have it easy – every country has it’s typical fake bags market. While in sea resorts in countries such as Turkey counterfeiters are simply branding any goods you can imagine with logos such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga. Simply said the counterfeit market is a true business. Turkey is especially problematic. In addition to the the counterfeit industry, factories of leather goods push counterfeit bags, furs and jackets falsely claiming they produce the same for the top brands. Needless to say top brands have strict regulations and would not allow a single handbag leaving the assembly line, wherever produced.
There are tourist destinations known as true fake goods paradises, on the top of the list is Hong Kong. The situation in China is so severe the counterfeiters are opening their own fake brand stores for brands such as Louis Vuitton, Supreme and even Kanye West’s Yeezy! It is important to know Supreme has only a few brick and mortar location, while Yeezy has literally no stand alone stores.
The rise of such stores is actually persuading brands and designers to move in faster on the Chinese market. The aim is to protect their design by opening their own authentic stores giving also a legal perspective to the brand on the market. At the same time it is a fight against the rise of counterfeit culture. Designer Victoria Beckham is one of the designers who after moving to close dozens of fake stores in China has decided to open her 2nd stand alone store in Hong Kong earlier this year. The HK store follows the opening of her first store in London.
Rule number 3 – Browse Carefully
Finally, there is the option for the rest of us, who travel with imagination: Internet. Sadly on the Internet they sell fake bags like churros. Not only can you find rarities, but you may even find one that you like and would swear it’s authentic. Because let’s not deceive ourselves, Louis Vuitton’s monograms are making and breaking the bag. Put in the mix a sharp price tag, use of leather materials and clever use of the monogram you may be tricked into buying a fake bag.
When it comes to Louis Vuitton, the rule is simple, the brand is reluctant to placing it’s popular and new collection pieces on popular web shops. In most cases the only place you will find new authentic Louis Vuitton bags online is their official web page.
The classic and more regular LV handbag and travel bag designs are available on various outlet and vintage goods sites. We recommend only browsing through trusted web pages such as Lyst aggregating the most trusted web shops on the market.
Rule number 4 – Compare
When buying vintage you may come across a fake handbag which is in all it’s aspects impeccable. First step is doing a research, comparing the images of the original bag to the vintage one. If you have a friend who has the exact same bag, you could barrow the bag and do the comparative in person – bag to bag.
Most original handbags from top brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Prada will come with special packaging and unique authentication codes, stamps and cards. In addition, if you are buying a Louis Vuitton with an intention to one day resell the same, make sure to keep the receipt and the original packaging. Taking a photo or even video of the bag in it’s original packaging once purchased is also highly useful. If you are buying such pieces on sites such as eBay make sure to request the same from the sellers, the more details you have the better. If in doubt your bag is an original Louis Vuitton or Chanel, take the same to the flagship store for authentication.
If the bag is from a runway collection, browse the season of the collection and compare the details yourself. Luckily most of the runway collections are archived on sites such as DESIGN SCENE and VOGUE to name a few.
Finally, owning an original Louis Vuitton bag is truly a good investment, but shopping needs to bring joy as well so take care of the rules above before shopping vintage and try to enjoy the process. If you have any tips, stories and comments on (not) buying fake bags please do share with us in the comment box below: