The Ultimate Guide To Spotting a Fake Designer Bag

Knowing how to spot if a designer bag is fake is important if you’re browsing secondhand designer bags online. As technologies improve it becomes easier for fraudulent factories and individuals to copy designer bags and create convincing imitations. We’ve even put together a comprehensive guide showing you how to authenticate Louis Vuitton bags specifically, as the low-quality dupes and inferior replicas have become increasingly common.

So, to protect your investment, here are the best tips to spot counterfeit bags—from experts here at Timeless Vintage and other authenticating experts.

1. Look for symmetry

Designer brands have very strict quality control measures. The symmetry of a bag (unless the design is asymmetrical) is critical, and members of the production team will not allow any imperfect bags to reach a boutique shelf.

Place the bag on a table and look at the symmetry of each side of the bag. Are the pockets level? Are the handles, pockets and clasps in all the right places? Any obvious flaws will catch your eye, and you’ll know immediately if something doesn’t seem right.

Louis Vuitton Monogram Manhattan bag on Timeless Vintage

2. Test the weight

Before looking at the smaller details – and only if you’re able to handle the bag in person – lift it and feel the weight in your hands. Designer bags are made from luxurious materials that often carry extra weight. Leather and gold are common features on designer bags, and both can add a considerable amount of weight.

To cut corners and save money, counterfeit bags will use substitute materials that are likely cheaper, but also lighter. Many experts could spot a fake designer bag by simply feeling the weight of the bag in their hands.

3. Look at the stitching

If everything seems OK so far, it’s time to delve deeper. Start by looking at the stitching on the exterior and also the interior of the bag. Uneven stitching could be the telltale sign that helps you spot a fake designer bag.

Uneven spacing in-between each thread puncture, wobbly lines, loose stitches or thread blemishes would never pass quality control at a brand like Chanel or Hermès. Designer bags are usually handmade by artisans; They can spend many hours working on a single bag, ensuring all stitches are straight, tight and evenly spaced.

Stitching on an authentic Hermès Kelly bag on Timeless Vintage

4. Check the quality of the material and lining

Designer brands will use only the highest quality materials. Lambskin leather from Chanel and Saffiano leather from Prada both have an incredibly soft feel that counterfeit manufacturers have yet to replicate. Many designer brands have unique patterning or material production processes that are unique to the brand and hard to copy. The real Louis Vuitton created his signature Damier and LV Monogram patterns as a deterrent to counterfeiters.

So, whether you’re looking to buy a quilted lambskin leather double flap bag from Chanel, or a canvas Damier purse from Louis Vuitton, check that the material is uniform across the whole bag and that it has a symmetrical pattern if present. E.g. quilting on a Chanel bag, or the Gucci GG monogram fabric print.

5. Serial numbers and authenticity cards

Each designer brand has an official and unique way of identifying products. So make sure you’re familiar with the way the brand identitifies the bag that you’re hoping to buy.

A close up of white cotton gloves holding a leather tag with the date code "FL0072" embossed into the leather.
An official date code on a Louis Vuitton bag

For example, Louis Vuitton bags use date codes to identify where a bag was created and when. Chanel bags will feature a numbered code, depending on when the bag was created. Certain bag styles are unique to certain time periods, and counterfeiters will often make mistakes when attempting to copy these codes.

6. Look at the logos and monograms

Designer brands use unique fonts and styles within their logos which can make it hard for counterfeiters to copy the logo accurately. For example, some counterfeiters overlap the CC Chanel logo in the wrong way, so you can use this as a guide when spotting a fake designer bag from Chanel.

The CC monogram on an authentic Chanel Double Flap bag

7. Is the price too good to be true?

The world’s top fashion brands never run sales, discounts or black Friday deals…  It helps to retain a high level of exclusivity. So, if you see a secondhand Chanel Double Flap bag or Fendi Baguette bag at a fantastic price, make sure to compare the price with other official websites. If it looks too good to be true, the chances are, it is.

Buy from a reputable seller.

Instead of taking a risk on eBay, Vinted or an individual seller, look to experts who specialise in re-selling designer items. In our guide to buying pre-loved handbags, we cover some of the most important things to look out for when choosing where to buy your new pre-loved designer handbag.

Featured Image | Louis Vuitton backpack, Photo by Korie Cull on Unsplash


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