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Tips from an expert: How to spot a fake designer handbag

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Fake designer bags Credits: Courtesy Fairfax & Favor

Recent data reveals a concerning trend that a significant portion of young consumers, approximately 37 percent, purchased counterfeit designer goods in 2022. Moreover, the global counterfeit goods market exceeded the GDP of Austria and Ireland combined in 2019.

This surge in counterfeit products has persisted, with estimates suggesting that up to 10 percent of all designer goods sold may be fake, and a staggering 80 percent of individuals have unknowingly purchased counterfeit items at some point in their lives.

With the proliferation of social media and third-party ecommerce platforms, discerning the authenticity of designer items has become increasingly challenging. In the UK alone, Google searches on how to identify authentic designer bags have surged by 5 percent in the past three months, indicating a growing concern among consumers.

Charlie Cooke, Assistant Press Manager at Fairfax & Favor, gave FashionUnited expert guidance on detecting counterfeit designer bags:

Poor stitching

Authentic designer bags exhibit meticulous stitching consistent with brand standards, whereas counterfeit versions often display frayed or inconsistent stitching, indicative of inferior quality.

Suspicious packaging

Genuine luxury items are accompanied by premium-quality packaging. Any deviations, such as missing or substandard packaging, can signal a counterfeit product.

Spelling mistakes

Errors in logos, taglines, or care instructions are common in counterfeit goods. Thoroughly inspecting all text on the item can reveal telltale signs of forgery.

Lack of manufacturing and care instructions

Authentic products always include care instructions. The absence of such labels suggests a potential fake or pre-owned item.

Purchase from Unknown Sources

Official brand stockists guarantee the authenticity of their products. Consumers should exercise caution when purchasing from unofficial sources or unfamiliar websites.

No unique identifier codes

Genuine designer handbags often feature unique identifier codes, facilitating verification of authenticity with the brand.

Off-branding and incorrect fonts

Discrepancies in logos, fonts, or color schemes compared to authentic products may indicate a counterfeit.

Fabric and composition

Inferior materials, such as imitation leather, differ in texture and flexibility from genuine leather. Genuine leather products may also bear certification stamps.

Poor quality hardware

Authentic hardware is durable and resistant to fading, unlike cheaper alternatives found in counterfeit goods.

Unique silhouette or colourway

Beware of designs that deviate from the brand's established offerings, as they may signal counterfeit items. The Impact of Counterfeit Goods:

Purchasing counterfeit goods not only harms a brand's reputation and sales but also perpetuates unsafe working conditions in rogue manufacturing facilities. Moreover, counterfeit products may contain harmful substances and lack quality assurance, compromising consumer safety and longevity. Consumers are urged to conduct thorough research and purchase designer items from reputable sources to ensure authenticity and uphold ethical standards.

Handbag quality Credits: Fairfax & Favor