Authenticity

At Preloved Clothing Online and Studio 61, we take authenticity seriously. We do not sell fakes nor do we sell replicas. We try and obtain certificates of guarantee and original receipts with bags that we sell. However, some of our bags are vintage or have been owned by our clients for several years and often the receipts do not accompany the bag. So for each item where we do not receive the original receipt or guarantee, we follow a strict 10-point authenticity check. If at any point during the authenticity check, we come up with what we call a red flag, then we stop the process and return the item to its owner.

At every point in the process we are looking for a positive result to our check.  A single red flag means the item could be a replica. Some replicas are excellent and it's easy to be fooled by beautifully grained leathers and shiny hardware. However, when you start digging deep, you see the red flags and you know that the item is not real.

Speaker 1:
Check one. First of all, we are checking the logo and the style of the bag. So we do some research to find the exact style of the bag and what it should really look like. Then we check the maker's logo, de bossed, stamped or so on. We feel how the logo plate may be attached. We look at the stitching on the logo tag. We look at the logo font, the colour, the style, the size. We are also at this stage of looking for a code number associated with that bag. Many high-end bags have serial numbers, which will tell us a lot of information.

Speaker 1:
Once we have that information, we then research it. A quick Google of a authenticity code will bring up information as to whether we're dealing with a fake or whether this is the real deal. This is check one. If a bag throws up a red flag at this check, then we immediately return it to its owner.

Speaker 1:
Point two. Our next point is to check the hardware. We do this very carefully. In particular, we are looking at engraving or stamps on hardware to make sure it's clean and there are no vertical lines on each side of the words. High-end bag producers use high quality machinery that will give a really clear stamp on hardware. If there is any irregular stamping or graining in the metal from using poor equipment, then we immediately know we are dealing with a replica and the item will be returned to its owner.

Speaker 1:
So point two, we're checking the hardware. We're also checking the joints and we are also checking the underside zips and researching the zip manufacturers. Certain brands are associated with certain zip manufacturers. Again, if we see that the zip is not the right zip, then we are probably dealing with a replica and we will return the item to its owner.

Speaker 1:
The third point is the leather stitching. Even in replica goods, the leather stitching can be really good. However, there is always a few telltale signs such as a loose thread, thread not finished properly, one small area of zigzagging, non-straight stitching or something that is not quite straight generally. So we check every single seam and every single aspect of the stitching over the entire bag.

Speaker 1:
Every area, the stitching must be perfect. If there's any irregularities to the stitching or it looks a bit suspect, then again, we know we're dealing with a replica and we return the bag to its client. So just to recap, the stitching on the bag must be perfect in every part of the exterior of the bag. Any unstraight stitching or badly finished stitching, we know we're dealing with a replica and we return the bag.

Speaker 1:
The fourth check is the internal stitching. Now, we are looking in detail at the lining and in particular at the stitching in the lining. Replica bags will not take as much care on the inside. If you look inside pockets, zip pockets, slip pockets, you may see frayed edges and really poor stitching here because this is where they will cut corners to save costs. So if we find any cheap handy work inside the bag, such as frayed edges or poor stitching, we will immediately return the bag to its owner. This is an immediate red flag for us.

Speaker 1:
Point five. We will then look at the interior fabric of the bag and we will feel the quality and we will compare this to other bags that we know are authentic. The interior lining must also be high quality and must be in line with what that producer would normally use. If it is not, then again, we know that we're dealing with a replica and we will return the bag to its owner.

Speaker 1:
Point six. Pattern matching. Bags with patterns, it's usually pretty straightforward to check that they have been made properly. A high-end luxury producer, such as Louis Vuitton, will make sure that where they stitch a seam, the pattern comes together properly. If patterns are mismatched or out of sync, again, we know we are dealing with a replica. So this is a really good quick check to see if you're dealing with the real deal or a replica bag.

Speaker 1:
Usually by point six, if we've got to here, we're pretty confident that the bag is authentic. However, there's always a few last things to check. Point number seven is smelling the bag. Does it smell like leather? Does it feel like leather? Does it feel weighty? Again, if it feels cheap or thin or has a funny chemically smell, then we're probably dealing with a replica, and again, we'll return it to its owner.

Speaker 1:
Another really good thing to check, this is point eight, is how the handles are finished. For example, on a Mulberry bag, you can look down the edge of the handles, and if you can see any white piping stuffed inside the handle, then you know that you're dealing with a replica. A truly authentic, high quality, high-end bag will not have such stuffing visible through the bag seams. You should be able to look through the end of the bag and see a perfect folded closure with clear seams and smooth leather, no stuffing peeping out through the bottom of the handles

Speaker 1:
Point number nine, structure of the bag. Does the bag sit as it's supposed to? If it's a solid thick tote, does it stand up like a tote or does it flop down? If it's supposed to be a floppy soft bag made from soft butter leather, is it standing up too straight and too rigidly? Again, feeling the weight and structure of the leather and how the bag sits and feels in your hand can be a really good indicator as to whether the bag is real or replica.

Speaker 1:
Once we get to point nine, all these nine points, and we know that we are dealing with an authentic bag, we then go back to the owner and we ask them questions. We ask them, "Where did you get the bag? What did you pay for it originally?" We ask as much information as we can. Usually, all that information will tie up with what we already know. However, if the owner then tells us something that we think may question the authenticity, then we are likely at that stage to return the bag to its owner. This is our final check.

Speaker 1:
We hope that this information gives you the confidence to know how we take our business seriously. There are softwares such as Entrupy that you can use that use artificial intelligence to tell whether a bag is real or not. But because we are dealing with so many vintage pieces and pieces from different times and also special items, we feel that nothing can replace a human inspection. We stand by our procedures of quality control and we stand by our confidence in authenticity and checking items.