Fake fashion is a $450 billion dollar business. Big brand names like Louis Vuitton handbags are prime targets for counterfeiters because many of their knock-offs are so convincing, they easily fool the average consumer. Louis Vuitton’s signature series of canvas monogram bags are among the most widely counterfeited handbags in circulation. So whether you’re in the market for the stylish LV Neverfull, the more conservative Batignolles or Lockit Horizontal, or the must have Mahina, here are a few tips to make sure you’re not getting ripped off.
First and foremost, beware of purchasing Louis Vuitton handbags from online auctions such as eBay or any websites that are not approved by Louis Vuitton. Authentic Louis Vuitton products are sold exclusively at Louis Vuitton stores, by calling 1-866-VUITTON, and on eLUXURY.com, the only site authorized to sell Vuitton merchandise.
One easy way to spot a fake Louis Vuitton handbag is by examining the interior of the bag. An authentic bag will be canvas lined in red or honey, fine micro monogram textile, cross-grain leather, tone on tone polyester, or microfiber suede. Counterfeiters pay little or no attention to the interior, and most knock-offs have interiors lined with plastic or cheap tan or brown suede.
Pay attention to detail. Louis Vuitton uses brass and gold metal hardware, not gold painted plastic. The zippers of authentic Vuitton handbags should have the letters “LV” neatly imprinted. Examine the bag carefully to make sure that it appears like a style that Louis Vuitton has actually designed. If the bag is of horrible quality or a nonexistent style, it is probably a replica. Remember that just because something has the “LV” logo, it doesn’t make it an authentic Vuitton product. Compare styles of any questionable handbags on the official Vuitton website, www.LouisVuitton.com.
Another way to determine authenticity is to make sure that the LV’s are lined up and the material is not tilted. Monograms should be clearly printed gold letters with brown lines through the LV’s, and should not be solid colored, cutout, smudged, or have a greenish tint. The threading should look neat, thin, and be done with accuracy. If the LV’s are upright on both sides, it may be a fake. Many Louis Vuitton handbags have the logos upside down on the other side.
Common sense would dictate that someone selling a Vuitton bag from a collection not yet available in stores or that has a waiting list, is probably just peddling a knock-off. Louis Vuitton does not sell handbags on street corners and they have not authorized street vendors to carry their products. You can be sure that any Vuitton products being sold in Chinatown are replicas. Louis Vuitton also does not offer “wholesale” or “closeout” items. If someone is selling an authentic bag considerably below retail, do your research to verify that you are getting the real thing.
Keep in mind that counterfeiters have successfully copied everything from the date codes Louis Vuitton began using in the early 1980’s to mark their products, to receipts, gift boxes, boutique shopping bags, authenticity cards, and even care booklets!
If you’re considering buying a Louis Vuitton knock-off, bear in mind that counterfeiters are nothing more than common criminals. The sale of counterfeit goods is a tax-free, cash only business that contributes to organized crime and helps keep open the sweatshops that skirt child labor laws in third world countries. If that alone doesn’t convince you, consider this: no matter how good a counterfeit Louis Vuitton bag looks, it’s still a fake and will never give you the satisfaction and pride of ownership that the genuine article brings.