Why Shopping Pre-Loved is Safer Than You Think
These days, we can’t help but awe at the celeb style; from Kylie’s new Balenciaga mini to Rihanna’s abundance of Dior accessories that she sports daily. We all love certain pieces and I’m sure many of us would kill for a Chanel Le Boy or a Hermes Birkin, but it’s the price tags that actually kill us. With prices increasing for almost every luxury brand yearly, our wallets can’t keep up and we must resort to either cheap alternatives or… buying pre-owned.
“But how are you sure it’s real?!” is a question I frequently get. “Why is it so cheap?!”. Buying pre-owned is a learning experience. Sure, there are a bunch of fakes flooding the market. Super-fakes pop up all the time with popular styles of bags such as the Lady Dior, Balenciaga City, and Prada Saffiano styles. As a buyer of these specific bags both new and preowned, I’ve learned how to tell between the real thing and the replica through years of studying purse forums, dollars spent on authentication papers, and time wasted fighting with shady sellers.
The first thing you do is learn about the seller. 0% feedback? 99% chance of it being a fake. If the price seems too good to be true, I can assure you that it definitely is too good to be true. Most high end bags do not lose value and if a person actually dished out retail price for it, they won’t be selling it for anything less than 50% of the retail price. Of course, this may depend on the condition of the item. Shoes lose value a lot quicker than bags since wear is shown easily, so you shouldn’t be shocked if you see a pair of Loubs for $400 that were just in store for $1400.
Many people are convinced that it’s impossible to tell between a real and a fake because people have gotten so good at replicating. That’s totally incorrect. A factory based in a rural region in China has nothing on handmade Italian goods made with the highest quality and skill. For example, Louboutins are by far the easiest to tell between real and fake. The fake ones are known to have bright red, matte-effect soles with round features. The red also scrapes off much differently on the fakes, having huge chunks of paint fall out from the center whereas real Louboutins gradually rub off and show indents and scratches normally in some areas. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand or style of shoe, it’s recommended to go see them in person first.
It gets a bit tricker when it comes to bags. Chanel’s, for example, are still considered very easy to authenticate. Though the technology is improving for the popular models such as the Le Boy and the timeless quilted bags, there are a few details that the counterfeiters just can’t grasp. The serial codes and authenticity cards are easiest.
Chanel has a number serial code that represents the year that the bag was made. The font and sticker details vary from year to year, and a full list with photos is available on https://www.yoogiscloset.com/authenticate/chanel. The authenticity cards, which don’t need to be available to authenticate, are supposed to be black with a darker, matte gold border and number indentation. The fakes sport a hologram-effect style on the card and have a basic “Arial” font as the numbers.
When details like this aren’t available, it gets tricker. Louis Vuitton, for example, has become huge in popularity over years and years, giving the replica producers time to improve their technology. The date code should be six characters: two letters representing the country the bag was produced in and four digits representing the week and year it was produced. Though Louis Vuitton has changed the letter codes for countries and made the number codes represent the week of production instead of month to throw the counterfeiters off, it is still hard to tell. A bag missing the date code at all is most likely to be fake, since they are engraved into the leather inside the bag, whereas Chanel’s can actually have the hologram sticker fall off eventually.
When it gets harder to authenticate, you must pay attention to hardware and stitching details. Keep in mind that no matter how many bags are produced in an official Louis Vuitton factory setting or any other brand, they would never let a bag pass inspection with uneven stitching. Nothing should be uneven, including the stamping and even the pattern on the bag.
It is crucial to keep in mind how important it is for a luxury brand to uphold its status. Put yourself in their perspective when it comes to authenticating. If a bag looks of poor quality or has obviously cheap, bright gold metal hardware or a letter looks out of place on the logo, it is a counterfeit. Luxury brands go to extremes to make sure that their products look the best as well as last longer. This also goes for how the item is represented when new.
Many new, fake bags have obnoxious plastic wrapping on handles and hardware. They also sport tags hanging off of them with either string or plastic. Celine would never allow an item to be put on a shelf with such an appearance. This also ties with the issue of who is able to sell new, authentic items. If you see a seller boasting about how many new bags they have for sale, be wary because not everyone is allowed to resell designer items. Once again, the price usually tells if it’s real or fake. I’ve seen a lot of “I got this as a gift and I don’t like it” stories where the prices are obnoxiously low. This is a common excuse sellers give when selling fakes because they can’t be held liable since they act as if they know nothing of the bag.
Though manufacturing and distributing counterfeit goods is illegal under federal terms, many still do it because
a) buyers don’t know any better and dish out hundreds to thousands of dollars on a bag that cost $20 to produce or
b) people still feel as if they’re saving money by buying a replica bag
Sure, you’re spending $400 on a bag that looks near identical to one in stores for $2700, but what will that ever do for you? The leather is not the same, it is cheap and rips easily. The threading rips and frays. And you will never have a shot at reselling it and getting some money back. Plus, there will always be authenticators like me roaming around and silently judging you. Many think that buying a fake bag is no big deal, but in reality, you are supporting illegal trade, human trafficking, child labor and indentured servitude in many cases. Since producing counterfeits is illegal worldwide, the only people who actually do it are usually involved in mafia’s, so any type of human rights are typically ignored for the workers.
Think twice before purchasing your next bag, and if you’re looking to buy pre-loved, go through a reputable seller or educate yourself using online threads such as The Purse Forum. Designer Daydream is a proud reseller of only authentic items and will be happy to assist you in authenticating a bag as well. Check out all items on www.DesignerDaydream.com and follow us on Instagram @DesignerDaydream!