If you are a very 2017 person like myself then you shop online. You shop online A LOT and sometimes you save up for a designer bag.
I tend to try to buy from physical stores where there is no need to check the authenticity of a new bag sold by a random person, but it has happened to me that I bought bags on Ebay where I had to be extremely careful. For example once I bought a Burberry bag on Ebay and it was around 30% off in comparison to its original price in the store. The seller had fantastic ratings and even then I took it to a local Burberry store to check it, because photos can be fake as well even if they look like the seller’s little home.
I do not advise going the second hand route, it is just not something I can advertise. If you cannot afford a bag just do not afford it. It will look like the weirdest shit if you rock a Gucci bag that just does not work with your money situation and will make people think it is fake or just give you the fake fashion snob vibe.
The situation is very similar to the one I wrote on How to spot a fake pair of Nike shoes, but let me add some more here:
Here we go:
Let’s start with the core of it all. If you are aware, not all designer brands have sales at all. For example Louis Vuitton, Hermés (on the classic bags for sure) or Goyard will never ever go on sale, thus to find a NEW bag for half the price will never happen if it is not some rich kid selling off her ‘unwanted gift’ quickly, but trust me if that would be the case someone would buy it immediately. Gucci, Balenciaga, Givenchy and Chanel do go on sale though, so you can find a cheaper item at their store at sale period. So if you see a store saying LV on sale you can cross it out your ‘I trust you’ list forever. And no, there are no BUTs here. And one more brands like Chanel do not even sell online and concentrate on the shop experience.
NO, you should not order UGG shoes from a store that is called “cheapuggsforsale.com” or something similar. Always go to original stores or online true resellers you can trust. There are too many websites that sell fakes. They do get closed down, but be careful and never shop at weird places. Not only will you pay for a fake, you might end up not even receiving it. Oh and pay will paypal ALWAYS. This gives you a lot of protection because you can always request your money back without even sending the product back if it is a counterfeit or has been damaged.
As they say in Russian free cheese can be only found in a mousetrap. A price of a new Gucci bag might be a bit lower due to a sale period, but why would anyone want to sell you a new bag for 1/4th the price if the person can sell it for almost the full price?! Think about it. KNOW THE PRICE. Check the price.
Shopping anywhere that is not a world famous chain store can be very risky, but luckily most sellers who sell designer goods can offer an authenticity card and a bill. Be careful with Ebay photos as they can be taken off the website of the original item.
Every bag of a certain model is identical to its sister. And by identical I mean literally identical. Every single stitch, every single logo, every color, every dot every spot will be on the exact same place and every fabric or leather piece will be cut off the exact same way. You will never even see a button turned the opposite direction that says Chanel. These bags cost so much for this exact reason. They are handmade and they are identical. If you want to double check you can always go on the website and do a comparison and really look into every single thing. Even the quilted diamonds on Chanel bag will look identical, will be cut off at the same place and will have the same type of stitching. Even the size of the stitches and absolutely everything will be the same. If you are looking at the exact model of the exact size it has to be 1000% identical in everything. Also some Asian counterfeit companies manage to create their own non existing models that you will never ever find so make sure that model exists.
Another example is the identical rule of Vuitton that the LV logos on the bag are usually never cut off at visible places. So if you see a bag that has a cut off LV logo right in the middle of the Speedy bag it is a bad sign. Also all the logos are situated specifically to be seen and even the handles of the bags will never cover those. If you are looking for a certain model check where the logos or the prints are exactly and compare.
Update: while searching for a cover photo I found this link which is quite useful as well to understand the comparisons.
There are always those obvious signs out there. When a Louis Vuitton bag says YV or a Chanel bag has OO instead of CC logoed all over.
Plastic over handles
Be alarrrrmeeeed by plastic over the handles as a protection of a new bag. Who on earth would ever do that at a fancy store. If you see white paper wrapped around the handles and any hanging parts that is fine, that is part of protecting the product, but never cheap plastic transparent bags.
The paper tags on the bag as well as the actual tags can say a lot. The typo will always look the same so always always always compare it to the piece from original source. The way a Celine bag’s tag is written for example can be the one thing anyone will be able to spot the fake.
Check the certificate of authenticity card and compare to cards on Ebay, but note that LV or Hermés do not have such cards. Compare the sticker inside or the “number plate” as I call it or the hologram. Open the original website of the bag and compare everything you see.
99% of bags out there are made of good expensive leather, not faux leather. The pioneer of faux is Stella McCartney being the only one big designer who sells luxury bags that are “non-animalled” (sorry for always coming up with new words, thats just me). Otherwise the bags are all leather OR canvas like the famous Vuittons or Guccis with all those logos going on.
If you are shopping on Ebay or Amazon or a website that has some sort of rating system. Check it. If there is anything tricky going on then be careful. I was once buying a pair of sunglasses and after checking the ratings and seeing customers unhappy with the service and questioning the authenticity I decided not to go on with the purchase.
The full experience
Let’s agree. If you can afford a Chanel bag then go to the store and buy it and get the full experience. Most of the items that are a bit cheaper online can be bought at sale in the stores. Be careful, be question everything, double and triple check, pay via paypal and then check again. Don’t waste your money or get tricked.
And last but not least I have gathered some of the stores you can trust online that have designer stuff with seasonal sales and some of these are outlets: