To catch a counterfeit: 6 pro tips for spotting a designer fake

To Catch A Counterfeit: Six Pro Tips For Spotting A Designer Fake (Partner)
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To catch a counterfeit: 6 pro tips for spotting a designer fake

Do a smell test.

It sounds strange, but inhaling the scent of a leather bag or boots can be the easiest way to decipher authenticity. Does the item have a synthetic or plasticky aroma? If so, move on.

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Pick it Up.

If a bag with a chunky chain-link strap or shoe with hefty metal studs feels particularly light or hollow when you lift it, put it back down, and walk away.

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Test the lining.

The lining of many high-end bags (particularly Chanel’s) isn’t fixed at the bottom of the silhouette—meaning, you should be able to lift the lining straight up from the tote.

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Items in seemingly mint condition often come complete with their original packaging—including a card of authenticity. Read it carefully. A spelling or grammatical error is an instant red flag.

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Know your labels.

Check to see if the iconic logos are off-centered or tilted. Additionally, most luxury brands have specific labeling methods that should be noted. For instance, Chanel uses a specific hologram, Fendi tags are firmly fastened to the bags' lining and cannot be easily peeled off.

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Look (very) closely.

Sometimes, the biggest giveaways are in the tiniest of details. A faux pair of Isabel Marant sneakers, for instance, may look identical to the original apart from some uneven or slanted stitching. Another helpful hint: Certain brands, like Hermes, have an exact number of stitches for their leather goods.

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When it comes to vintage shopping, scouring your favorite consignment store or local flea market can be like panning for gold: Though you often turn up empty-handed, when you score, you really, really score. And yet, if spotting that '70s Chanel crossbody or barely-used Céline Trio feels too good to be true, it easily could be.

That's because the resell market is, unfortunately, chock-full of counterfeits. I'm not talking your run-of-the-mill knockoffs. These are expertly-crafted fakes, some of which are even manufactured in factories shared by the designers they are imitating. They look so legit, they've been duping resellers and owners for generations. Creepy!

That's where our friends at Vestiaire Collective come in. From diminutive '50s-era Hermès Kelly bags to current-season printed Isabel Marant dresses, the Paris-based luxury resale site specializes in the cream of the pre-owned crop. In the slideshow above, their experts share some no-fail tips for identifying phony merch. Read on!

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