Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Everyone loves a bargain, but with luxury goods and the increasing ease of buying such products online, you need to know what to look out for to know if you’re getting the real deal. If you’re buying online, always use a third-party payment service like PayPal, and only purchase from reputable consignment stores who offer in-house authenticating and a money-back guarantee. Below are more #protips from the experts on how to spot a fake luxury product.
1. Do your research
As you well know, luxury goods come in all shapes and sizes with varying hardware embellishments. So it’s imperative to know exactly how big and heavy the bag should be when thinking of making an online purchase. Daniel Lim, co-founder of Reebonz, says you should always request for additional images. “Ask the seller to place a familiar object such as a smartphone or pen next to the bag as a comparison”, to avoid any disappointments, he adds.
2. Shop only at trusted retailers
Michael Finn, co-founder of The Fifth Collection, says you should “deal only with the most reputable resellers and do your homework on them”. Do not be afraid to ask questions, he says. “In particular, are they a registered company? Have they been in business for many years? Do they have an unlimited money back guarantee on the authenticity of every item they sell to you? Is that authenticity guarantee written in black and white somewhere and is it contractually binding?” Responses to these questions will help you make your purchase with greater confidence.
3. How is it being authenticated?
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This is a rather long post, but one we felt we must do. We've had many ask us, "How can you be sure that the pieces are authentic?" or "is this authentic?" The thing is, as consumers of luxury (retail, pre-loved and vintage) goods ourselves, we believe that hard earned money should never go into buying fakes. Worse still, we never want to be fooled to spend our hard earned money on fakes. And we don't want you to either. So, those are just some of the reasons why we've turned to technology to ensure that each of your purchases are the real deal. You see, humans err and experience can make mistakes but Science… Science and data never falter. And we don't just stop at Science. We also offer a *lifetime guarantee* on the authenticity of all pieces listed on our site. Yes, that means you are never stuck with it. It's in our terms & conditions, and we've never hidden that fact. With all that said, we've got a sterling track record. why? Because Science… and trust. Now, tell us again why you'd rather shop somewhere else and give other people your trust and hard earned money? Want to know more about the @entrupy authentication device we use? Swipe left for the videos. #WALKTHEWALK #BUYFROMTHEBEST #LUXURYGOODSAUTHENTICATION www.thefifthcollection.com
Authentication experts have a 70 per cent accuracy when it comes to authenticating a bag. The best way to ensure that what you’re buying is a genuine luxury item is to check how the items are being authenticated. We recommend looking for retailers using both human experts and technology to do this. And thanks to the people at The Fifth Collection, this is made much easier. They invested in and helped develop an AI-powered authentication technology, called Entrupy—look out for this when shopping so you know you’re getting exactly what you wanted. According to Michael from The Fifth Collection, it “correctly identifies authentic items 99.9 per cent of the time”. In fact, ”it gets even more accurate every day because with each scan of a new bag, the artificial intelligence system learns from that new item and gets better”.
4. Get up close
Unfortunately, the fake luxury goods industry is built upon deceiving the human eye, which is made even easier with technology. Images on websites selling second hand luxury goods can be doctored to resemble an authentic luxury bag and sometimes, stock images are used. This basically means you can’t trust the images. Our advice? Get up close and personal. This way, you can at least smell the leather to ensure it’s genuine and spot a Prada from a Frada. #Protip: Request for a video of a product, if possible, which is much harder to adulterate. This is especially helpful when shopping on Carousell.
5. Study the stitching
Impeccable stitching is one of the factors contributing to the high price tags of luxury goods. So pay attention to the stitching—uneven or slanted stitching is a bulletproof sign of a poorly made item, and a counterfeit.
6. Look at the lining
A quality bag is more likely to have a lining made of good canvas, cross-grain leather or microfibre suede.
7. Inspect the trimming
Most leather goods will have a wax casing that is hand painted to cover the raw edges of the piece. A messy and uneven paint job is a sign of inferior quality.
8. Check the hardware
Pay extra attention to zippers, clasps, and closures — they should all have the same colour and finish. For example, “ensure the hardware design comes with the respective model of the bag,” shares Daniel. “For instance, a Chanel Reissue bag should come with the Mademoiselle turn lock clasp and Chanel reissue chain shoulder strap” he says.
9. Examine the Monogram
Logos are created specifically for a particular brand’s use and sometimes, even the fonts are customised. Therefore, it’s important to examine the logos and monograms of luxury goods online as “ateliers will check to ensure that there are consistent and respective fonts used throughout the entire item”, says Daniel. “Ensure consistent stitches and printing (eg. Goyard, Gucci and Louis Vuitton monogram) are used throughout the item—the embossed colour of the interior logo colour should match with the exterior hardware’s colour,” he adds.
10. Smell the leather
The reason why luxury goods cost as much as they do is because of the leather used; it could range from lambskin to pigskin and crocodile leather. Leather bags should smell like leather, so if you smell glue or chemicals, it’s likely to be a fake. If you’re buying a pre-loved bag, the leather handles should have discoloured slightly—fake leather handles will remain shiny and unchanged. For example, crocodile leather doesn’t last very long—which is ironically part of its appeal—and will definitely show signs of wear and tear.
11. Count the number of pockets
Do your homework, examine the bag in the boutique and know the placement of pockets.
12. Look for the details
Is there a hologram sticker where it’s meant to be? Are the serial numbers in the correct sequence? Does the brand offer an authenticity card?
13. Pay attention to the dustbag
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To the @Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, Rihanna (@badgalriri) in a crewneck sweatshirt that reads the 1966 movie title 'Faster! Pussycat! Kill! Kill!' and its director 'Russ Meyer' worn over a striped oversize shirt and metallic shoulder bag, from #GucciFW18 by #AlessandroMichele. #Rihanna completed her look with a knitted vintage-inspired ski mask and crystal and aged metal earrings. © 1966 Russ Meyer Charitable Trust. Used under license to Gucci.
Newer Chanel bags will come in a black dust bag with ‘Chanel’ written in black, while vintage Chanel bags will come in a white felt bag with a black logo. There are two Gucci dustbags, one made from dark brown satin and with the GG logo printed on the front, the other in a solid light brown colour with GUCCI written in gold across the front. Again, find out everything you need to know before making a purchase.
14. Before you buy… Hermes
The Birkin and Kelly styles come complete with an engraved lock and key set, and the lock will have the word Hermès written on the bottom and there will be a matching number that’s placed on the lock and the key.
15. Before you buy… Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton will use one continuous piece of coated canvas that will wrap from the back to the front, which means one side of the bag will have an upside down logo. Not all Louis Vuitton bags are made in France, some are made in Italy and some are made in the United States.
16. Before you buy… Goyard
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#WaveyourOwnBanner! Ever since its inception in 1853, Maison @Goyard has developed and perpetuated a #unique, strictly #handpainted #ArtofPersonalisation As a #Celebration of this #Heritage, Maison @Goyard is pleased to unveil #Bannière, its #new #MillesimeMarquage design The #Bannière #MillesimeMarquage will be available throughout 2017 at all @Goyard #Comptoirs worldwide
Authentic Goyard bags are made from special resin coated linen and are lined with a cotton and linen blend fabric that leaves the bag feeling extremely light. The fakes are often made from cheap cotton and vinyl.
17. Read the fine print
The excitement of buying a discounted luxury bag online often means overlooking the fine print, which might end up costing you a hefty sum. “Most resale companies or online shops do not offer generous return policies like brand boutiques, so take your time to read and fully understand the terms and conditions before you make your purchase” says Daniel. “Shop confidently at boutiques that offer authentication services that guarantee their products’ authenticity and have open return policies,” he adds.
By Debby Kwong and Navin Pillay