Fakes, or Not?

How to detect fake luxury handbags
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Think takes a peek at the shady side of the fashion biz… fakes.

So you're walking along the high street, carrying your new Louis Vuitton bag which you just spent five hundred - who am I kidding? - Five thousand buckaroos on, and you were so eager to carry it to show off to the world that you emptied your handbag to use your new one immediately.

Still reeling from the orgasmic feeling of the purchase, you suddenly spot another two tai-tais walking towards you, and horrors of horrors, they are carrying the same bag! When the saleslady (excuse me, executive) at LV told you there was only one piece!

Glamour turns to anger: what is going on?

In a word, IMITATION. And the blame goes to the Chinese. And Koreans. But mainly the Chinese. And if you're gonna get mad, you may as well get even. So us Thinkers are gonna teach you Thinkees how to read the signs of the Lous Vuitton, Guci, and Pralas, so you can plot the public embarrassment of those who carry them.

The design

Do your research. Every celeb worth their close-up carries a status bag - the pages of Heat, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar are full of them. Check sites like www.vogue.com or the designers' own sites (www.gucci.com, www.vuitton.com, www.dior.com) to see the styles and details of authentic merchandise clearly. Never seen a Murakami visor? That's because they don't exist outside of eBay Auctions.

The fabric

When paying big bucks for a designer bag you're definitely paying for the name, but also the craftsmanship, for which some kid in Ethiopia probably earns 5 cents an hour. Heh. The reason a real Hermès Kelly bag costs an arm and a leg is because they're hand made.

You won't see shoddy workmanship on a legitimate bag - puckered leather and wonky stitching are sure signs of a fake. I mean, come on, that Ethiopian kid probably lost his sight for that stitching. Give him some credit.

The shine

Most designer leathers do not shine, and are very pliable, unless its particular design calls for it. An LV monogram with a lot of shine, and hard leather, is likely suspect. Leather shine due to use, still makes the leather look dull and classic.

The details

Don't overlook the smaller features. The zips, handles, buckles and other trimmings are often what lets down a fake. Hermès bags should have an 'Hermès Paris' stamp, while genuine Louis Vuitton leather goods say 'Louis Vuitton Paris, Made In France'. Monograms should be clearly printed, not smudged - and stitches should be tiny and discreet, not clumsy and gaudy.

Most importantly, don't forget to look INSIDE OF THE BAG! Seams and sewing inside of the bag are just as important to the quality as is the external presentation.

The interior

Often the interior of the bag is most obviously the easiest to test for validity. Serial numbers, and the lining of the bag should be soft, without tears or bad prints. Prada bags have the Prada print all over its lining, and the same goes for Gucci, on soft satin silk that should not be prickly.

The price

This is surely the most clear indication of the bag. Do you really think you're gonna pay 280 buckaroos for a Louis Vuitton messenger bag? Try ten times its price. If you are paying too little for the bag, or your cheap friend is, then it's time to throw that fake word around, while you sip your margarita and smile and your "friend" turns a bright red.

Well, now you're ready to go assault and embarrass poor strangers on the street. Maybe they should consider having a new reality show. "Are you for real?" sounds like its pretty fun, and plenty of embarrassment for the people on the streets.

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