How to Spot Fake Designer Bags

Updated April 20, 2020
Fake designer bags

With the cost of designer handbags rising every season, many women who desire the look of high fashion without the high price tag turn to fake designer handbags. Unfortunately, fake bags are not only poorly constructed and less durable than the true items, they are also illegal.

Identifying Fake Designer Bags

Savvy consumers can easily spot fake designer handbags even if they've never seen a true designer bag. The quality of workmanship and other factors stand out on fake bags, and when designers are highly renowned for the exquisite work of their products, fakes are easy to notice.

Identifying Fake Purses by Cost

One of the biggest indicators of fake bags is the price. True designer bags can be discounted, but they are never marked down to rock bottom clearance prices. Any seller that claims to have designer bags at too-good-to-be-true prices is telling the truth in one respect: the prices are too good to be true because, after all, they're not prices for true bags. If you see a Louis Vuitton Bag, for example, being sold for $40, you can bet your money it's a fake, since the prices for a real bag from this designer usually start at around $800.

Seller's Location and Amount of Bags Sold

The location the bags are being sold at is another indication of their authenticity; you won't be finding a genuine bag at a flea market or from a street vendor. To keep demand soaring, designers limit the number of each style in circulation, often restricting the number of bags one consumer may purchase in a specific time frame (typically three bags of one design per month). Any seller with a dozen of the same type of purse is likely trying to sell knockoffs rather than the genuine article.

Features of Fake Designer Handbags

The bags themselves are always the biggest source of verification about whether they're authentic or counterfeit. When examining a bag that may be fake, check different features, including:

  • Fabric and materials: Fake bags use lower quality materials; leather may feel like plastic instead of being soft and supple or the dye job of the fabric is uneven and splotchy.
red designer bag
  • Stitching: Authentic designer bags have tight, even stitches, while knockoff bags may have loose, shoddy workmanship, uneven stitches, or even missing stitches where fabric (especially on the interior) is glued rather than sewn.
  • Labels: Interior labels of designer bags will say made in Italy (or other authentic location), and while some fake designer handbags do as well, others will stipulate made in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, or other manufacturing nations.
  • Designer logos: Most designers affix signature logo plates to their bags. Those plates should be crisply printed, while fake plates may be blurry or slightly inaccurate. A common trick is to misspell the designer's name: Prada becomes Proda, for example. Also look for logos printed on interior linings - fake bags often lack this detail.
  • Authenticity documentation: Designer bags often come with certificates of authenticity to prove their origins. Fake bags will be missing this paperwork, though sellers may claim it will be mailed or was simply lost.
  • Incorrect styling: Counterfeits may be offered in colors or styles that authentic bags are not. Don't believe sellers who try to claim that the unusual design is simply rare and therefore a better deal.
  • Misaligned details: Bags that use rivets or crystals, such as Juicy Couture handbags, should have straight lines and symmetrical spacing; fake bags are less carefully assembled and may have poorly aligned accents.
  • Initial damage: Designer bags are carefully wrapped (typically in paper or tissue) for protection until they reach the consumer. Any bag that exhibits damage when it is supposedly "new" is likely a fake item - look for scratches, scuffs, small tears, and other seemingly minor imperfections. The fashion handbag industry prides itself on superior quality, and such scratch-and-dent items would never be permitted to be sold.

Illegal to Buy and Sell Counterfeit Handbags

Because of the lucrative profit margin on designer bags, the temptation to counterfeit sought-after styles is very tempting for unscrupulous manufacturers. Asian nations, in particular, have the necessary technology to create knockoff bags with slight differences that can still fool the majority of consumers, especially individuals that may not be intimately familiar with true designs. Some fakes may even be produced in European nations, giving them the authority to claim they are made, for example, in Italy (one of the most respected nations for high fashion).

vendor display fake designer bags

Poor Quality Found in Fake Purses

To increase the profit margin of counterfeit bags even further, the quality of fake purses is far lower than actual designer bags. Pleather or plastic may replace true leather, and gold-plated hardware may replace true gold pieces. Eager and naïve consumers often fail to note those discrepancies before inadvertently purchasing a knockoff piece.

Fake Handbags Illegal Use of Company Trademarks and Logos

The use of company trademarks and logos is prohibited by the Lanham Act. Counterfeit handbags are those that are duplicated to resemble the actual bag including small details like company logos are illegal. Handbags that are knockoffs but don't steal the company logos and trademarks and aren't considered illegal.

Your Purchases of Fake Handbags Support Criminals and Terrorists

You aren't breaking the law if you only purchase a counterfeit handbag or a knockoff designer handbag. However, if you attempt to resell a counterfeit handbag, you can legally be charged. Before purchasing a counterfeit designer handbag or cheap knockoff, you should consider who you are supporting with such purchases. Both types of handbags are sold by criminal organizations that also sexually exploit women and children through human trafficking. In addition, the proceeds usually support terrorist activity.

How to Spot Fake Designer Bags and Take Action

If you find yourself with a fake bag, the affected designer may want to be notified so they can alter their designs and make such counterfeits easier to spot. Furthermore, it is a good idea to report any suspicious transactions or suspected illegal activity to proper authorities.

How to Spot Fake Designer Bags