When you buy a bag, or pair of shoes, or other accessories online, you don’t get a chance to assess the quality of the item prior to making your payment. This means you have to use real detective skills to find out whether the item you are looking at is real or a ‘knock off’. Knock offs are items that are designed to look like high-fashion brands, but are actually cheap, low quality fakes. Since many people don’t mind carrying or wearing a replica item, the knock off fashion became a $600 billion industry (I know, I was shocked as well!). Now, we all pretty much know how a Louis Vuitton bag looks like, but can you spot a fake when it’s mixed with a group of authentic products? I decided I should provide you with the 411 on the fakes of the fashion world (no, I’m not talking about the Yeezy’s) and help you understand what damage (other than the headaches to the fashion police) does knock-off industry cause to the market. Let’s start with the statistics!
In the last 20 years, counterfeit fashion items have caused the loss of 2.5 million jobs worldwide. 7% of total world trade is now in counterfeit goods. By 2015, counterfeiting has caused industries $700 trillion in lost revenues. When it comes to counterfeit goods, the more popular the brand, the more likely it is to be copied. 34% of people say they’re certain they have never purchased replica goods. The five most copied fashion products are: Burberry clutch bags, Chanel handbags, Louis Vuitton wallets, Gucci sunglasses and Cartier watches.
Now that we covered the basics, let’s understand how the knock-off industry works. Most of the counterfeiting takes place in Asia. Since the ‘producers’ have no time to pay attention to details, they do not invest in quality materials, workmanship, not even zippers. The first thing you should check on patterned handbags, such as the Louis Vuitton ones, are the seams. Usually, the fabric and pattern won’t line up at the seams. The patterns on real products always line up along the seams. Authentic goods also don’t have loose threads or unraveling zippers, so make sure to check for these signs while purchasing your next item online. I will focus one item and, hopefully, teach you the difference between the real and fake Louis Vuitton Speedy bag.
This is Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandoulière 25 model. It comes in a Monogram canvas, Damier Ebene canvas, Damier Azur canvas and Monogram Empreinte Leather. It’s price? $900-1500! Now, pay attention to its details, the interior is brown, all the zippers are branded with Louis Vuitton logo. Logos should always be perfect! Anything slightly ajar should instantly raise alarm bells. Most designer handbags feature metal logos, so be ware of anything made of plastic. Even the number of stitches on each side is the same! There should be no stitching at the bottom since the bags are made out of one rolled piece of canvas leather.
The second red flag is the price. It is the most commonsense way to spot a fake. To buy designer goods, you must pay top dollar. So, if it’s a two-for-one or 80% discount offer, it’s not real. Never buy anything that is priced less than 30% bellow the original price. That is the maximum discount the retailers or department stores will give you. Gucci does not sell $50 shoes or even sunglasses. To be honest, the only real guarantee you can have is to buy the item from an authorized dealer, designer online shop or department store. If it’s made in China, it’s definitely not real! Plus, designer items usually come with a lot of goodies such as dust bags and they always (always!) come with an authenticity certificate.
Because… Details are everything!
Now let’s focus on the little perks of buying an expensive item. Most of the high-end brands will make it their top priority to assure you that you are buying the real thing. Their items will always come in the right boxes, identification cards and other information that ensures authenticity. If your designer bag arrives in a plastic bag without any documentation- it’s a fake! High-end designers never attach the price tag to their items, and they will usually send them encased in dust covers, not plastic bags.
When buying a luxurious item, make sure that the logo is printed correctly. You don’t want to end up with a Prado bag, instead of Prada or a Goach bag (Gucci/Coach hybrid replica!). In addition to confirming the authenticity of the logo design, look for the logo or the craftsmanship code inside the item. Logo should always be engraved, not stamped!
As a brand dedicated to the protection of the company’s intellectual property rights, Louis Vuitton believes it is essential to preserve the house’s ancestral know-how and the work of its craftsmen by fighting illegal networks that infringe on human rights, the environment and global economy. In the last five years, Louis Vuitton initiated 10,673 raids and 30,171 anti-counterfeiting procedures worldwide, resulting in the seizure of thousands of counterfeit products and the breaking up of criminal networks.
But, despite the action taken, it’s still pretty easy to get your hands on a replica. Just make sure you’re aware that the only person you are fooling (while wearing/carrying a fake) is yourself.
Cover photo and detail photos: Pinterest
Product photo credit: Louis Vuitton