So today during an exciting thrifting expedition I encountered a Prada purse I couldn't leave behind. I'm not usually a Prada fan but I am a fan of purses (check), and uniquely shaped ones at that (double check). I had no idea if it was real, but at $7 it was safe to assume not and I snatched it up for my cute-purse-collection. When I got home I began researching it, and unfortunately I was correct. But that doesn't mean every purse in a thrift store falls subject to being a fake! In fact I've gotten lucky with a Coach (.50 cents!), and a Gucci's ($5!).
We see them every so often; dusty and cracked in the corners of thrift shops, under dirty clothes at yard sales and ridiculously priced at flea markets. But if you're not a designer-die-hard-super-know-it-all, how are you suppose to know what's real, and what's fake? I've compiled a few general tips to take into consideration when thriftin' designer items.
1.Search for an authenticity card. Usually, these are leather tags sewn into the inside of the purse with serial numbers. This should be the first thing you try, but remember not every designer uses them, not every bag style has one, outlet bags don't always have them, and vintage bags especially usually won't have them. The tags can also be faked.
2. Look at the stitching. Designer bags are known for their quality, stitching will always be meticulously straight and even.
3. Look at the logo. Something will be off, if you are familiar with most designers this will be easy. The font will be slightly different, somethings things will be spelled oddly. For example, in Prada the 'R's leg will be straight (fake) instead of curved (real), on a Coach the 'C' on signature fabric will be more of 'G'.
4. Any leather bag will be genuine leather, no pleather!
5. Most designers have their name engraved on the hardware, note not all do, and not all bag styles will though.
Want to know a little more about a specific bag? Here are a few tips direct from representatives for the top 9 designer bags (In no particular order).
Have a different designer you're curious about-email me, I will do what I can to answer your questions!
1. 'G' placement in the signature fabric is meticulous, any imperfection is a dead giveaway. 'G's will always be touching, but not overlapping.
2. Real bags hardware are metal, no plastic!
3. The bottom of any Gucci bag will have a seam stitch going straight through the bottom. No stitch=fake!
1. On the Signature fabric the 'C' will be meticulous, no 'G's, the pattern will start in the dead center and feather out perfectly.
2. Tags on the handles will be leather stamped with the same color as the tag, or metal, embedded. Metal will not be shiny.
3. Signature bags will never have a signature lining. It may be solid, striped or say 'Coach' but never signature on signature.
1. All the hardware will have the Prada name on it.
2. Inside tag will have 'PRADA MADE IN ITALY' on it.
3. Lining may be solid, striped or read 'Prada', but will never read anything else. (Fake's might say 'Italy')
1. Logo will be engrained into leather-no imprints.
2. All Fendi hardware has their name on it.
3. Threads will be never be a contrasting color as the bag.
1. Signature prints start dead center and feather out evenly.
2. Stitching will always be consistent on the handles. For example, hardware sewed on might have five stitches along the top, 5 along the bottom, and 5 along each side.
3. Since the 80s, LV's have come with date stamps under the D ring. In the 80s it was a 2-3 letter + 2-4 number code (IE: ABC1234), in the 90s and beyond it has changed to 2 letters + 4 numbers (IE: AB1234)
1. All Chanel bags have serial numbers, google the number on the bag, Chanel has used the same numbers for over 25 years. Any variation of those numbers is a definite fake.
2.All hardware on the strap has name engraved on it.
3. Patterns will always line up perfectly at the seams.
1.Diors are only manufactured in Italy. Inside tag will read 'Christian Dior Paris', and the backside will say 'Made in Italy' any variation is fake.
2. All Dior's have a 6 digital serial number.
3. All Dior bags have a dark nylon lining, no other lining style or fabric is used.
DOLCE & GABBANA
1. All D&G hardware is engraved and imprinted with logo.
2. A D&G is meticulously made, and each can stand up on it's own even after years of use. (Empty, not full)
3. Threadwork, purse color, zippers, and lining will always blend well together. No contrasting colors.
1. All lines in pattern will align perfectly with the seams of the purse.
2. All Burberry's have gold or silver hardware, no bronze or nickel plated.
3. The inside tag says 'Burberry London', the underside will say 'Made in Italy'.
Still unsure about your purchase? Take it to any dealer, they can authenticate right there! Many designers have hologram stickers that can only be read by a dealer. Sometimes searching a serial number on the bags website can help as well. Just remember, while you can get lucky sometimes, don't count on it. If you see a cute, cheap bag-pick it up because it's cute and cheap. Not because it might be real. I'm not a purse expert, these tips are were compiled after research. For real verification please see your local designer dealer.
Don't forget, after you've purchased your sweet find, check out my cleaning post to get it looking shiny new!