If you think nice packing and a receipt prove the authenticity of any posh product, you need to be a little more cautious. With big brands comes bigger responsibilities—not just to take care of your investment, but to first make sure what you are purchasing and taking care of is original and actually deserves your money, love, and attention. Plus there are few things as embarrassing as unknowingly carrying a counterfeit bag and getting called out.
For six consecutive years (2006 to 2012), Louis Vuitton was declared the world’s most valuable luxury brand. The label’s LV monogram that appeared on its products like luxury trunks, watches, jewelry, books, scarves, sunglasses, shoes and leather goods was as much a symbol of pride for the world’s leading international fashion house as it continues to be for its clients.
When a luxury brand is so highly sought after, there are more companies trying to get a slice of the attention by ripping off the designs. So how would you really know the difference between the real and the fake pre-owned Louis Vuitton? Here are 10 ways to distinguish between an original and a fake, new or pre-owned Louis Vuitton:
Know your Louis Vuitton
Whether you are buying a new or a pre-owned Louis Vuitton, it is very important to know what you are buying before actually buying it. Check all of the details that prove a certain bag is authentic. Also keep in mind that if someone can forge a bag, they can forge a receipt and any other accessories as well, so don't assume a bag that comes with all of those things is legit.
Carry out detailed research prior to making the purchase, by following these steps:
- If you are planning to buy a pre-owned Louis Vuitton online or at an auction, try to go to the original Louis Vuitton boutique first. Check out the bag’s look and feel there. Feel the texture and know the price. If someone is selling you a pre-owned Louis Vuitton bag in good condition, there will be a little price difference, but if it is too much, it should raise a red flag.
- Check LouisVuitton.com to find the types of trunks and bags that exist, and the one you want to purchase. Note down the specifications and anything that could be a deciding factor when you are examining the pre-owned Louis Vuitton being sold to you. LV Catalogs could also help you know more about the original product you want to purchase.
- Note down the name, model, color, pattern, logo placement, material, accessories and all relevant details about the bag you have in mind. Do not expect to just go online or to a pre-owned Louis Vuitton auction and purchase one that you fancy there.
Many fake versions of some new or even pre-owned Louis Vuitton products that don’t even exist in an LV collection are surprisingly sold in the market at a very high figure, and the consumer ends up paying the price (in the literal sense as well!) due to their lack of knowledge.
Double-check the reliability of the pre-owned Louis Vuitton seller
There is no reason not to! You are spending a big chunk of your money—you should take your time and examine the product closely and carefully. If you are buying your pre-owned Louis Vuitton online, make sure the website you are buying from is reliable. Check the customer reviews and the site’s reputation. Ask the people around you if they have made any purchases for first-hand feedback.
If you can, ask a LV salesperson if they know about pre-owned Louis Vuitton bags being sold at such website. Louis Vuitton has a great resale market, which is a sign of the brand’s strength. A good salesperson working at an original LV boutique can always guide you where and how to buy a pre-owned Louis Vuitton.
A picture is worth a thousand words
And in Louis Vuitton’s case, a thousand dollars! Ask the online pre-owned Louis Vuitton seller to show you lots of images of that bag, especially the front, back, base, lining, date code, LV monogram, and the embossed “Louis Vuitton Made in …” stamp.
Ask the seller if there are any damaged areas inside or outside of the bag. You are purchasing a luxury product and you need to know exactly what you are paying for. Do not hesitate to ask for more pictures. Also, ask for details such as where the bag was purchased from (Louis Vuitton has over 460 stores in 50 countries), when it was purchased and ideally the original receipt.
Leather or canvas?
A majority of LV bags are made up of leather, but many genuine bags are also made using coated canvas—the trim, however, is always leather. Before making the purchase, make sure you are familiar with the material used in the bag, and if it is what the original bag was also made with.
Feel the leather trim, it should not feel oily or slippery; it should feel dry. Also, genuine Louis Vuitton bags don’t come with trims wrapped with tissue, polyethene or soft paper – only the fake ones have those coverings to make sure the material doesn’t erode or fade away and the stitches don’t come off.
The stitching should be flawless
Check for the stitching to be even. It should be perfect, to say the least. There should be no back-and-forth stitching. The same number of stitches will be found in similar locations of bags of the same type. For example, on any size of a Monogram Speedy bag, the leather tab that the bag’s handle attaches to will always have five even stitches.
There is however an exception. During the late '70s and '80s, Louis Vuitton licensed out the production of its Monogram pieces to a US-based production company called the French Company, to cater to the US market. Bags manufactured by the French Company may be slightly inconsistent. For example, the FC Speedy 30 does not really have five stitches across the top or Louis Vuitton embossed on the bag. This is the exact reason why you should know your bag and do research prior to grabbing your wallet for the purchase.
Are upside down LVs genuine?
There is a common misconception amongst prospect buyers that an upside down LV monogram on the bag implicates that it is a fake one. This is not true. Many authentic Louis Vuitton bags will have upside down LVs at the backside. This is because Louis Vuitton uses one continuous piece of leather that when wrapped from the frontside to the backside the LV monogram becomes upside down. This means an original Louis Vuitton should have upside down LV monograms on the backside and no seam at the bottom.
Can an authentic Louis Vuitton bag be ‘Made in USA’?
Yes, it can! While genuine Louis Vuitton bags have been made in France for almost 25 years, LV has also produced bags that are made in Spain, USA, Italy, and Germany. It is a common misconception that all genuine Louis Vuitton pieces have to be marked “Made in France."
What does the font say? Read between the lines!
Observe the font style. Louis Vuitton uses a certain font and sticks to it. A few counterfeiters have started to replicate it as well, but if you look closely at the original font above, you will notice how the “O” is very round.
Notice the date code
Your genuine Louis Vuitton bag should have a date code and a serial number, but NOT a model number. An original LV has a 6-character date code. Starting from the left, the first two characters are letters and the rest of the four characters are numbers.
Don’t let the "extras" mislead you
While it is always a nice feeling to get some extra stuff with your product, this is the exact tactic many counterfeiters use to lure in new luxury buyers. An authentic LV bag may only come with a dustbag and a leather strap, and that's it.
The dustbag could also tell you a lot about the genuineness of the bag. If the dustbag has anything more written on it except for “Louis Vuitton” or the monogram “LV,” it is fake!