How to Spot Fake Louis Vuitton Purses
When buying an expensive purse from a name brand like Louis Vuitton, it is essential that you know you're getting the real deal. You can spot most fakes by examining the appearance and quality of the bag itself. Other times, researching the seller is enough to give you a good idea about the purse's authenticity.
Look at the Overall Design
The bag’s design should be your first clue about its authenticity. Some fake designs are obviously fake, but others may require a little more research to catch.
- Be aware of designs that are likely to seem real but are actually fake. Multicolor, Cherry Blossom, and Cerises designs are not available in all bag styles. Vintage pieces are also more likely to be scams.
Pay Attention to the Little Details
Your next biggest clue about a bag’s authenticity should be the little details, such as its zippers, interior lining, or date code. Every design is a little different, but there are many similarities between designs that will also help clue you in.
- Avoid bags with an attached tag. Most official Louis Vuitton purses do not have the tag attached. Instead, the tag is separate, often slid into a pocket of the purse. Be especially wary of tags that look cheap and are attached with little more than a thin piece of string.
- Pay attention to the interior lining. Most knock-offs use cheap plastic or suede to line their bags. A real bag may be lined with a variety of textiles, depending on the specific design, but most are lined with canvas, fine micro monogram textile, cross-grain leather, polyester, or microfiber suede.
- Check the date code. The majority of bags made after the early 1980's have a production code stamped on the bag. Since the 1990's, the code includes two letters followed by four numbers. Before the 1990's, the code was a one or two letter code followed by three or four numbers. Some were also simple three number codes.
- Look in the right place. Usually, the date code is located beneath the D-ring.
- Know the specific parts of a particular bag. Even though there are many similarities from bag to bag, no two designs are exactly alike. Research what type of lining, feet, and base, among other details, a particular style of bag should have. Check on the company's website or ask your nearest boutique.
Check the Quality
Real Louis Vuitton bags are finely crafted.
- Examine the stitches. This is best done in person, but if not possible, ask the seller for as many close-up photos as possible. Sloppy stitches suggest a counterfeit bag. Another indicator of a counterfeit footprint is the number of stitches per inch (SPI) of the seam. SPI (stitches per inch) refers to the number of stitches in a single inch of seam. A higher SPI count will translate into greater overall seam strength, (and therefore a higher quality handbag). Authentic Louis Vuitton bags will generally have a higher SPI count than many of the counterfeits on the market.
- Walk away from bags with a tilted pattern. Legitimate bags have careful, even patterns that are well matched and proportionate. A bag with a tilted pattern that does not match up with itself is likely to be a fake.
Know the Seller
The reliability and reputation of a seller can be as big a clue to a bag’s authenticity as the bag itself.
- Research the seller, especially if purchasing a bag in an online auction or through a similar online venue. Check seller feedback. Look for sellers with an overwhelmingly large percentage of positive feedback with comments, and avoid sellers with negative feedback, zero feedback, or private feedback.
- Avoid sellers who offer no return policy.
- Read between the lines. If a seller's product description makes you hesitant to purchase the item, trust your instincts.
- Ask for additional pictures from the seller. They may be using pictures of real Louis Vuitton purses to sell fakes.
- Look for deals, but be wary of sellers offering a bag at a considerably discounted price. A legitimate bag that retails in the hundreds will probably not sell for less than $100, especially not in new condition.
- Avoid sellers that claim to have bags from a "new collection" not yet in stores.
- Avoid sellers that claim to have bags from a "wholesale list" or "closeout liquidation." Louis Vuitton does not discount, have outlets, or do wholesale. Any seller that claims otherwise is not to be trusted.