Top 5 Details You Have to Look for When Authenticating Your Luxury Fashion Purchases

Top 5 Details You Have to Look for When Authenticating Your Luxury Fashion Purchase

 

You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal – William S. Burroughs.

Whether it’s Gucci, Louis Vuitton, YSL or any other luxury brand, counterfeiters have created an inferior knock-off of it, hoping to scam unsuspecting customers.

 

As the end of the year fast approaches and it’s time to buy holiday presents for our friends, family and ourselves, we’re literally inundated with signs, flyers, billboards and most importantly, targeted ads across all of our screens, one should take pause to ensure that the merchandise we so strongly covet are quality-crafted authentic pieces and not cheap, imitation knock-offs that merely have the price tag of luxury fashion apparel.

 

Counterfeit Items Exist at Retail Locations, Warehouses and Even Online …

If you’ve ever walked across Canal Street in Manhattan, Camden Market in London, or Beijing’s Silk Market, you’ve no doubt come across eager vendors hawking the latest high-end luxury fashion pieces at an unbelievable fraction of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. How is this possible? It’s quite simple really: they’re counterfeit. As in fake, not authentic, cheap imitations that might look strikingly similar to the real deal in a certain light, but upon a closer inspection, it’s clearly an inferior product.

NYC’s own famous Canal Street is famous as a locale for cheap counterfeit goods.

Take a Look at these Top 5 Tips from ShopUnder

If this has ever happened to you, don’t beat yourself up. The knockoff fashion apparel industry is huge, with scam artists forever at work improving their imitations just enough in order to fool the less than critical consumer. It’s estimated that just under 10% of global world trade are counterfeit products. Plus, everyone gets cheated at some point, and while it’s definitely not a pleasant affair, there’s really no other choice but to learn from your mistakes and to become a savvier shopper. Take the time to look over these 5 super helpful tips on how to spot the difference between authentic haute-couture and those pesky fake imitations before you go on your next shopping spree.

1. Interior & Lining

Not too many people are concerned with how the inside of their handbag might look like or the lining of their manteau and counterfeiters know this. So they’ll spend their time and efforts either acquiring or manufacturing imitation products that will look virtually indistinguishable from the real thing … but only on the outside. For instance, did you know that the interior of many Celine handbags are crafted using suede or leather? So if you come across a Celine bag that looks legit from the outside, but it’s a canvas or nylon bag on the inside, that’s a deal-breaker!

The interior of a real Birkin purse and a counterfeit Birkin purse. Notice the difference in color and stitching near the edges.

But that’s not to say that some fashion labels don’t use canvas or nylon fabrics for the interior of the products. Every label, collection, and individual product is unique, and it requires just a bit of googling to obtain the information that you seek in order to make sure you’re not getting ripped off.

2. Packaging & Documentation 

Isn’t it suspicious that those hot new Ray-Bans you just bought were wrapped in a brown paper bag and tied up with string? It is suspicious, and if that happened to you, then you might have gotten your hands on a pair of fake sunglasses. ShopUnder only sends out authentic items that have been received with the designer dustbags. In fact, authentic merchandise always comes in the proper, original packaging, even if you’re getting from a third party vendor. For instance, most, if not all legitimate purses and bags come in large, drawstring branded dustbags with designer documents. The designer documents typically will contain model names and numbers of the product and serve as a kind of certificate of authenticity. Some large items, like jackets for example, might not come in any kind of packaging, but their tags will contain codes that can be authenticated online.

 

 

Authentic luxury fashion apparel always ships in dustbags that come straight from the manufacturer.

3. Labels & Logos (spelling and visibility)

Ever bought an Ives St. Loorent vest? Or a pair of Shannel shoes? Here’s where knowing how to spell instead of relying on spellcheck will finally pay off! You’d be surprised how many times eager consumers overlook or just don’t know the proper spelling of a brand label name and end overpaying for something is relatively worthless. And if the logo name is spelled correctly, pay closer attention to the quality of the label.

Make sure the lettering is bright, bold and clear to read. Labels that are fading should sound major alarms that they aren’t the real deal. Again, it’s always good to arm yourself with the right information to serve as a basis of comparison, so do yourself a favor and google pictures of how authentic designer logos and labels are suppose to look and examine your prospective purchasing with a super-critical eye. It is your money after all.

Do your research online in order to find out what the label on a specific item is supposed to look like.

Though, at this time, you should be made aware of a pretty funny exception to this rule. How would you feel about buying a GUCCY sweater? Would you think it’s real, or would you think it’s a cheap knockoff of one of Italy’s most famous fashion labels, Gucci? Believe it or not, (and all you have to do is to visit Gucci’s website to see for yourself) when Alessandro Michele was appointed as head creative director of Gucci in 2015, he launched a whole collection of clothing and accessories that have GUCCY written all over them. Why did he do this? Because he can. It’s very meta and one thing’s for sure, they’re authentic.

It looks like a counterfeit, but it’s not. Stay on top of trends and add to your knowledge of haute-couture.

4. Stitching

Another aspect of haute-couture clothing that the naive and inexperienced consumer might neglect to pay attention to is the stitching. It’s kind of hard to blame them, after all, stitching is hard to see. It’s super-small and more often then not, the colors match the overall item making it even hard to see. But if come across a coat or a purse or a scarf where the stitching looks sloppy, loose or if it’s coming undone, that’s a definite deal-breaker. Fashion house designs pride themselves on being able to craft superior products, and stitching, while a complex issue than you might think, is fundamental and integral to the overall integrity of the product.

Expensive clothing and accessories are supposed to last a lifetime, but they certainly won’t if the stitching looks like it’s about to come undone before you even buy it.

A close up of the stitching on a pair of UGG boots. Notice how the stitching in the image on the right side seems to be falling apart!

5. Fasteners, Buttons, & Zippers

Another telltale sign of counterfeit luxury apparel that you should be on the lookout for are the various kinds of hardware like fasteners, buttons, and zippers on an item. Again, this falls under the same principle of a counterfeiter’s neglect of an items interior. The counterfeiter thinks that as long as the overall product looks good enough to pass as the real thing, eager consumers won’t pay attention to the small details. But you should! What good is a brand new Valentino Peacoat that you spend luxury dollars on if the button keeps falling off? Or if the zipper to your new Celine purse doesn’t work after a day? Most of the time, many fashion houses use the hardware on their items as a method to advertise their logo, and as a means of further adding additional style and creativity. For instance, Versace zippers are uniquely distinct and stylized, which not only look cool but serve as an anti-counterfeiting measure. Pay attention to the small details, and if they check out, chances are you’ve got your hand on some bonafide luxury fashions.

When you pay attention to detail, the big picture will take care of itself.

Stay Informed and Shop Authentic

And there you have it dear fashion friends. Five of the most common details to look out for when authenticating your luxury fashion purchases. There’s obviously a whole lot more to know, and as mentioned previously, every brand and product have unique features to them that might not necessarily carry over on to another. For instance, did you know that Fendi, a major Italian designer of gorgeous purses and handbags, implants RFID (radio frequency identification) chips into their product’s tags? This goes a long way in helping to authenticate their awesome designs, which unfortunately fall prey to counterfeiters all too often. And while the labels and vendors like ShopUnder do their due diligence to ensure consumers are paying for high-quality products, the consumer also has to do their part too with a critical eye, research and by staying tuned to more hot posts like this one from ShopUnder.

The difference between an uninformed shopper and a smart shopper can end up costing a whole lot…