At Preloved Clothing Online and Studio61, we take authenticity seriously. We do not sell replica bags and try to receive certificates of guarantee and original receipts with all luxury items. We follow a strict authenticity check if we do not receive the original receipt or certificate.
If we come up with what we call a "red flag" during the authenticity check process, we bring the process to a halt and return the item to its owner. Any red flag – even one – means the item is a replica. It's easy to be fooled by some lookalikes with their beautifully grained leathers and shiny hardware. However, when we start digging deep, we see red flags and know that the item is not genuine.
Check Point 1: Style
We research to find the exact style name of the bag. We then compare our bag to what we see online. Our bag must visually match genuine bags of the same style that we find online. We compare and contrast sizing, colour, seam details, handle details, lining fabrics, and interior features. We look at the leather type too. If we find discrepancies with the overall design, we will likely have a replica bag.
Check Point 2: Logo
And then, we check the maker's logo to see if it is embossed or stamped. Next, we touch the logo and the logo plate. We are feeling for texture and how the logo plate is attached. Luxury brands want their logo to be perfect, so we look at the font, colour, style, stitching and size. We also look for a code number associated with that bag. Many high-end bags have serial numbers that give us a lot of information. Once we have that information, we research it. A Google search of logos, fonts and authenticity codes will reveal whether we're dealing with a fake or whether the item is the real deal.
Check Point 3: Hardware
We scrutinise the hardware. We are looking at logo engraving or stamps on hardware to ensure there are no irregular stamp lines. High-end bag producers use high-quality machinery to give an unmistakable stamp on hardware. We immediately know we are dealing with a replica if there is any uneven stamping or graining in the metal from using poor equipment. We also check the hardware joins and the underside of zips. Finally, we research the zip manufacturers since certain brands use certain zip manufacturers. If the zip is not the correct zip, we know we are probably dealing with a replica and will return the item to its owner.
Check Point 4: Stitching
Some replica handbags have excellent leather stitching. However, there are a few telltale signs to look out for:
- Loose threads or stitching not properly finished
- An area of zig-zag hem or crooked stitching
- Frayed or poorly finished edges
- Uneven stitching in tabs or undersides
We check every seam and stitch of the entire bag – it must look perfect. We know we're dealing with a replica if there are any irregularities in the stitching or it seems suspect.
Check Point 5: Inside
We next look at the bag lining and, in particular, at the stitching in the lining. Replica bag manufacturers will not take as much care with the bag's interiors. We look at the inside pockets, zip pockets, and slip pockets and check for frayed edges and poor stitching because here is where makers of replicas cut corners to save money. If we find cheap handiwork inside the bag, we have a replica bag in our hands.
Check Point 6: Lining
We look at the bag's interior lining quality and compare it to other bags that we know are authentic. The interior lining must be high quality and in line with what that brand typically uses, and if it is not, we know that we're dealing with a replica; if it is not, we will return the bag to its owner.
Check Point 7: Pattern
It is pretty straightforward to check patterned bags. A high-end luxury producer such as Louis Vuitton, for example, will make sure that when they stitch a seam, the pattern comes together and matches up perfectly. If prints are mismatched or out of sync, we know we are dealing with a replica.
If we've got to point 7, we're pretty confident that the bag is authentic. However, there are a few last things to check.
Check Point 8: Leather
A leather bag will always have a telltale leather smell, so we follow our nose to check if it smells like leather and feels like leather. There are many different types of leather, and we will do our research to check that the leather used is the correct type. If the leather feels cheap or too thin or thick or has a funny chemical smell, then we're probably dealing with a replica.
Check Point 9: Handles
We next check the handles. For example, we look down the edge of the handles. We know we're dealing with a replica if we see any white plastic piping or padding inside the handle. A truly authentic, high-quality bag will not have such stuffing visible through the bag's seams. You should be able to look through the end of the bag and see a perfectly folded closure with precise seams and smooth leather. We also check the hardware, such as d-rings. The d-rings should be shiny and strong with no visible joins. Cheap hardware is the sign of a replica bag.
Check Point 10: Structure
Our final check is the physical structure. Does the bag sit as it is supposed to? If it's a solid thick tote, does it stand up like a tote, or does it flop down? If it's a soft bag made from buttery leather, is it standing up too straight and too rigidly? Feeling the weight and structure of the leather and how the bag sits and feels is a good indicator of whether the bag is genuine or a replica.
The final step is to determine the price and talk to the owner about the bag's origins. We try to obtain as much information as possible for our online listings and we ask questions to determine provenance. A record tracing the ownership or purchase history helps to confirm authenticity and value.