Recognize It When It's Fake: Louis Vuitton

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

For the end of the year, when everybody is hunting for presents and the merchants are taking advantage of everything, I thought I would start an interesting topic that is very close to my heart: shopping for luxury goods without the threat of buying an imitation. Who hasn't heard of websites boasting of having the best prices for a Louis Vuitton or Chanel bag or the occasional eBay seller presenting a vast array of designer bags and accessories? There are even regular and vintage shops selling so-called designer items, but can you really trust everything they say? If you are thinking of buying a luxury item, especially during the holiday frenzy, there are a few tips and tricks worth reading first.

The threat of fake goods is one of the biggest issues in the luxury industry, creating losses of about 9.2 billion dollars yearly. Due to its highly recognizable logo and extreme international appeal, Louis Vuitton is the most copied luxury brand worldwide. Only 1% of all products bearing the LV brand or logo are actual Louis Vuitton goods. Being their most noticeable asset, the bags pose the biggest threat of being counterfeits. Here are a few tricks to spot the difference between a genuine bag and its fake version:

1. The price. As with all luxury goods, a Louis Vuitton bag comes with a cost, when the sale seems too good of a deal, it could be because the product they are trying to sell you is not actually genuine. Moreover, Louis Vuitton does not discount, doesn't have any outlets or irregular dealers, nor does it wholesale. Louis Vuitton goods can only be purchased in regular Louis Vuitton stores.

2. Make sure that the specific version of the bag that you want to buy was actually made by Louis Vuitton. For example, while there are definitely many Luis Vuitton bags in Vernis versions, Vernis was never made in black, so a black Vernis version would definitely be fake. You should thoroughly check the bag you want to purchase on the Louis Vuitton website or in a store before you start looking for it elsewhere.

3. The LV monogram is never interrupted by zippers or stitches and is placed evenly on the bag, with respect to the handles, the sides or the other elements on the bag. Due to the fact that many of their bags are made out of a single leather piece, it can happen that the monogram is upside down on the backside of the bag for some models, this doesn't mean it's fake. Also because of this, there will be no visible seams and no leather patches interrupting the monogram.

4. The handles will be beige in the beginning, but will turn darker over time. If the bag you are planning to buy is new, but has dark handles, it's definitely fake. Moreover, due to the high quality of the leather, the handles of an original purse will never be wrapped in plastic wrappers to prevent damage. You should also have a good look at the clasps, as they should be sturdy, made out of brass or gold metal. Fake bags usually have plastic clasps painted with a layer of gold paint.

5. The real bags are handcrafted with the greatest attention to detail. The edges of the handles reveal red and yellow stitches and the stitching should be very even and regular. Sloppy stitching or a low number of stitches per inch is a sign of counterfeiting. On most bags, the same number of stitches should be found in similar locations on similar bags. Some vintage pieces may defer from this rule. 

6. No monogrammed bag is sold in a plastic covering, nor does it have tags or canvas samples attached to it. The tags are usually tucked into a pocket or included in an envelope together with your receipt. You will normally receive two tags, one that will say Louis Vuitton and the material that the bag is made of - monogram canvas, vernis, epi etc. The second tag will contain the model number, the correct French name of the bag and a bar code. You may or may not receive a care booklet.

7. The leather and the labels inside the bag contain an inscription that demonstrates the authenticity of the product: Louis Vuitton Paris Made in France. Louis Vuitton uses a very specific font for all the markings on the labels, one of the most visible signs is the extreme roundness of the O. While this may be a rule for most bags, if you spot a bag made in Spain, US, Germany or Italy, don't discard it as a fake right from the beginning! For over 25 years Louis Vuitton has also produced some of its bags in these countries, so be sure to check the other signs as well before ruling it out as a fake based on its country of manufacturing solely.

8. If you're buying a monogram bag, the LV logo should be clearly printed in gold with small brown lines throughout. If the color is solid or has a green tint, it's probably not genuine. 

I hope I managed to make you at least a bit curious about this dark side of the fashion world that is represented by counterfeiters. If you want to find out more about counterfeit signs on Louis Vuitton bags and other big brands such as Dior, Balenciaga or Prada, you can check out this really great website called They not only offer reviews of signs of counterfeiting, but also tell a great story around the bags, when they were created, how they earned their it-bag status etc. It's a really great read!

Do you have any counterfeiting stories you would like to share?


francesca romana capizzi said...

I didn't know about these tips, thanks for sharing!!
Merry Xmas!
Don't Call Me Fashion Blogger

Monika said...

Merry Christmas!

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