facebookLuxury or Knock-off: How to Spot Fake Designer Bags, Shoes & More

Luxury or Knock-off: How to Spot Fake Designer Bags, Shoes & More

profileHui Juan Neo

The more you know, the less you faux

~Graham Wetzbarger, Chief Authenticator, The RealReal

You know the feeling. You’ve just spotted that must-have designer bag or pair of sunglasses for a fraction of the usual price in the market. Before you whip out your card, stop. Is it the real deal or a convincing knock-off?

Telling the difference isn’t always easy. Even luxury labels make mistakes sometimes.

But don’t worry, this is precisely why we have this guide.

Treating yourself to a branded item occasionally with your hard-earned money is acceptable. Still, suppose you’ve accidentally spent on counterfeit products. You will feel extremely disappointed and frustrated, knowing your purchase didn’t go towards the quality and craftsmanship you expected.

This not only affects your wallet but also diminishes the joy of owning something truly authentic and valuable.

So, let’s check out how you can identify between real luxury and fake counterfeit products!


TL;DR: How to Spot the Difference Between Real And Fake Designer Bags, Shoes & Watches

In summary, pay attention to these:

  • Logos
  • Stitches
  • Material used and prints
  • Country of origin
  • Weight of the item
  • Authorisation of sellers

To dive deeper, here’s an overview:

Disclaimer: Do note that the information provided by Seedly serves as an educational piece and does not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any product(s). It does not consider the specific financial objectives, financial situation, or particular needs of any person. ​Readers should always do their due diligence and consider their financial goals before committing to any purchase.


What Are the Most Common Designer Goods That People Purchase?

Source: Faux Real

Handbags & Accessories

When it comes to luxury goods, handbags are perhaps the most coveted items.

The “it” bag from brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermès or Gucci can easily set you back thousands. But the allure of these status symbols keeps demand high.

Other must-have accessories include silk scarves, designer sunglasses, and fine jewellery. A simple Cartier Love bracelet or Tiffany diamond studs can elevate any outfit.

Source: Tenor

Apparel & Shoes

For the fashion-forward, designer clothing and shoes are essential investments—A little black dress from Chanel or a sleek suit from Tom Ford makes a powerful statement.

And don’t forget the shoes – Louboutin’s iconic red soles or Manolo Blahnik’s sculptural heels are wardrobe game-changers.

Watches & Fine Jewellery

Timepieces are another favourite indulgence for the affluent. A Patek Philippe or Rolex watch is a stylish accessory that can be passed down through generations. Cartier, Buccellati, and Van Cleef & Arpels also offer exquisite fine jewellery.

Beauty & Fragrance

Even the most low-key luxe lovers can’t resist a splurge on beauty and fragrance. La Prairie skincare, La Mer creams or Sisley makeup offer an indulgent experience, and signature scents like Chanel N°5 leave an unforgettable impression.

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How to Tell the Difference Between Fake and Real Designer Goods

Counterfeit fashion has become its own industry, with popular brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, and Levi’s being some of the most frequently copied.

Sometimes, consumers unknowingly buy these knock-offs because they’re much cheaper than the real deal.

Other times, some folks might even support the sale of fake fashion items on purpose. But if you want to avoid falling into that trap, here are some easy ways to spot the difference between real and fake designer products.

The term “super fake” became known as it characterises almost-perfect, high-quality fake replicas—so much so that these items are described as ‘AAA’, ‘1:1’, and ‘mirror’ products, which makes them much harder to differentiate.

For the uninitiated, the lowest grade of fakes or counterfeits is A (an easily identifiable fake).

Country of Origin Label

Take it from an expert authenticator, Graham Wetzbarger (Chief Authenticator, The RealReal): The real product will reflect the country, not the city.

But of course, if it’s not an obvious replica, i.e., a super fake, you have to zoom in on the details.

Check the Materials

Authentic luxury goods are crafted using the finest materials, such as full-grain leather, silk, cashmere, and precious metals. Replicas often use lower-quality synthetic fabrics or bonded leather that looks and feels cheap in comparison. Run your hands over the material—real luxury pieces have an unmistakable soft, supple feel.

Take a close look at the quality of construction and materials used. Genuine luxury goods use premium materials like full-grain leather, silk, etc. Run your fingers along seams and stitching – shoddy work is a telltale sign of a counterfeit.

Examine the Stitching

Flawless, straight stitching is a hallmark of the real deal. Inspect it closely – the spacing and tension should be perfectly even throughout. Fakes tend to have sloppy, uneven stitches with loose threads.

Source: Legitgrails

Sloppy, uneven stitching is a telltale sign of a counterfeit item. Legitimate designer products have perfectly straight, tight stitches with the same colour thread. Look closely at areas like seams and pockets – quality craftsmanship is a must for the high price tags.

Remember, legitimate brands are obsessive about details.

Examine items closely for perfectly aligned patterns, crisp printing or embossing, evenly spaced stitching, and high-quality trims and finishings. Counterfeits frequently have sloppy details like crooked patterns, blurred logos, and messy stitching.

Genuine luxury shoes are crafted from premium materials like full-grain leather, suede, and delicate fabrics. Also, check the soles. Authentic rubber or gum soles have that distinctive “new shoe” smell and bounce back when pressed, while plastic soles on fakes lack that.

Scrutinise the Hardware

Typically, hardware is classified into shapes, structures, colours, the material used, and space between the fastener and zipper.

The hardware and eyelets are another giveaway. On genuine pairs, they’re made of metal and firmly secured. Plastic or poorly riveted hardware screams replica.

Many luxury houses use signature textiles, leathers, or precious elements you won’t find on knockoffs. For example, authentic Louis Vuitton bags are made with a unique coated canvas, while Chanel’s classic flaps feature an interwoven leather chain strap.

Similarly, the type of screws and plates that are used—luxury houses such as Chanel tend to use specific screws and plates for bags.

So, do your research on a brand’s authentic material sourcing.

Look for Misspelled or Slanted Logos

Source: Racked

Nothing says “knockoff” quite like a botched designer logo. Scrutinise the size, font, placement and spelling. Many fakes try to imitate iconic logos but get critical details wrong.

Logos, monograms, and metal hardware should be flawlessly recreated. Look for crisp edges, proper spacing between letters/icons, and high-quality engraving or embossing. Replicas often have blurred, misaligned, or inconsistent logos. Genuine zippers, buttons and clasps also have a substantial, weighty feel.

It’s wise to check the shoebox and dust bags for logos and typos, as luxury houses are sticklers for branding.

Check for Authenticity Cards, Date Code or Stamps & Serial Numbers

Not all authentic luxury goods come with a certificate of authenticity, but there may be a card with the item’s style name and barcode, a serial number or date stamp, dust bags, and care instructions booklet. If possible, cross-reference these against the company’s records.

High-end brands often have online authentication systems to verify your purchase. Thoroughly inspect all packaging and documentation against the brand’s official guides.

Counterfeiters may copy basic cards, but details are often off.

The Authentic Look & Feel

When shopping for luxury goods, pay close attention to the overall quality and craftsmanship. Genuine items use luxurious materials – the leather should be supple, the stitching neat, and the hardware substantial. Fakes often have a cheap, plastic-y feel.

Purchase From Authorised Sellers or Resellers
Buying from the brand’s stores, websites, or authorised resellers is the best way to ensure authenticity. Avoid dodgy sources like street vendors, unknown online sellers, etc. If it seems shady, it probably is.

The key is scrutinising quality, tiny details and being realistic about prices from trusted sources. With careful inspection, you can learn to identify real luxury from clever fakes.

Trust Your Instincts

Lastly, “fake it till you make it” is definitely not the way to go when spending your hard-earned salary on luxury items.

If something seems amiss – funky smells, loose threads, wobbly hardware – it’s likely a knockoff, no matter how convincing. As you handle more real designer pieces, you’ll develop an eye for the impeccable construction and quality hallmarks they’re renowned for.

Don’t fall for it if the price seems too good to be true, i.e., drastically lower than retail; it’s likely a knockoff. Discounted authentic goods are extremely rare as designers and brands protect their brand value.

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How to Tell the Difference Between Quality Counterfeit Watches and Genuine Products

Source: Watchfinder Canada

Examine the Movement

Genuine luxury watches have intricate, high-quality movements visible through the case back. Study the finishing – real movements have immaculate details like bevelled edges and polished screws. Fakes often have basic off-the-shelf movements.

Then again, some ‘AAA’ grade replicas may have genuine movements, but the rest of the watch is made of inauthentic materials.

Check the Materials

Authentic watches use premium metals like stainless steel or 18k gold. The weight and feel should match the materials. Replicas frequently use cheaper alloys that feel light and flimsy.

Do inspect the crystal, too—most real watches use sapphire, which is incredibly scratch-resistant.

According to watch experts, the replicas might look more bloated with its fonts being bigger and the general height of the watches being taller.

Mind the Minute Details

On a real watch, engraved markings and text should be crisp and perfectly aligned. Sloppy printing or misaligned logos are telltale signs of fakery.

It’s wise to study the brand’s official images to compare precisely matched details like lume plots, hands, date window fonts, and more.

Try the Water Test

This simple test can expose shoddy quality control on fakes. Submerge the watch in water – bubbles mean air is leaking in. Authentic watches are painstakingly pressure-tested to ensure water resistance. Just be sure to wipe it dry carefully afterwards.

Know Your Sources

Buy from an authorised retailer to guarantee authenticity. Shady online sellers promising “genuine” items at too-good prices are almost certainly peddling fakes. If the deal seems fishy, it likely is, and stick to reputable sources for absolute peace of mind.

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Conclusion

So there you have it. With these tips on spotting tell-tale signs of counterfeits, you’ll be savvier when shopping for luxury brands.

Trust your gut; if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Stick to reputable retailers you can trust, and always thoroughly inspect items first. Remember, you’re paying for more than just the label, you’re also paying for the quality of materials and workmanship!

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About Hui Juan Neo
A savvy shopper and foodie at heart, I'm always on a lookout for discounts and deals to snag the best bargains.
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