7 Ways to Spot a Fake Designer Bag

Image of pre-owned designer bags. Concept of spotting fake designer bags
Buying a counterfeit designer bag is both a moral and financial disappointment you want to, and can, avoid. Don’t get stuck with a cheap knock-off -- learn to spot fake designer bags from a mile, or a stitch, away. Become an informed consumer and put your money where it counts, in your closet.  

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the dangers of buying counterfeit products include: economic impacts, legal implications, and health and safety risks that are important for you to consider before you buy. American consumers drive not only the American economy but much of the global economy as well; this makes the U.S. a favorite market for counterfeit goods. Such goods are often made of inferior materials, manufactured under unsanitary conditions, and labeled with false information.

The following seven commandments checklist will help you navigate the counterfeit market and avoid fashion fraud:    

Tip #1: Know thy source ✔

The source, or origin, of a bag can tell a lot about who and how the bag was manufactured and thus the probability of it being counterfeit. Check the website for origin and manufacture details and check to see they offer an authenticity guarantee you can validate. The website itself can also reveal a lot about the manufacturer, compare it to others and if provided, call the phone number listed.  

Tip #2: Check the price ✔

Compare the price of the bag you are interested in to others on the market, if the one you’re considering buying is priced considerably lower than similar items on other sites or in other stores, that is a red flag. Price is often indicative of an inferior quality bag and thus a counterfeit bag.

Tip #3: Check the trim ✔

Typically, leather goods will have a wax casing applied to cover the raw and exposed edges of a bag. An uneven and sloppy paint job is a sign of inferior quality.

Tip #4: Check for plastic ✔

A bag with loose, translucent plastic covering the handles is another red flag; this is a good sign of a counterfeit. Authentic brands do not typically sell their products this way.

Tip #5: Check for hangtags ✔

Authentic, luxury bags won’t come with a leather swatch hangtag. These tags are primarily used for shoes and sneakers, and this is yet another red, or plastic, flag; put the bag down and keep shopping.  

Tip #6: Check the smell of the bag ✔

The smell of a bag can give away its authenticity. Many counterfeit bags are produced with synthetic materials, excessive glue, or heavily treated with chemicals. Make sure the bag does not smell like a shower curtain.  

Tip #7: Check the images, lining, and zipper ✔

Bags sold online are often displayed with an image(s), but that image can turn out to be a stock photo. Make sure you request photos of the actual bag with the ability to view it up close and in detail. A video is also a good idea. Next, perform a zipper test: a designer quality zipper will pull smoothly across the bag with equal tension throughout. Lastly, feel the lining; crunchy, papery synthetics or pockmarked suede are huge red flags.

Top 5 Designer Bags that are Most Commonly Faked


Many of today’s counterfeit bags look surprisingly close to the real deal, complete with mock serial tags and authenticity cards. Authentic bags are manufactured with proprietary techniques that are unfortunately often closely replicated and sometimes indistinguishable to the untrained eye. The following bags are among the most faked in the industry, due to their brand name and popularity.

• Louis Vuitton Monogram Bag

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Many counterfeit manufacturers have perfected the monogram pattern on this bag so don’t assume it’s authenticity based on the monogram alone. Look inside of the bag for the date code, which should be stamped on a small leather tag which denotes when and where the piece was made (remember Tip #1!). Another characteristic to look for is the vachetta leather straps and handles, they should be untreated, which means they will develop a rich patina with regular use and wear. The plastic and synthetic materials used in knock-offs don’t oxidize over time, providing a clear indication of a fake. Also, all stitching should be impeccable including the zippers, which should be stamped with the brand name.

• Chanel 2.55 Flap Bag

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The right-facing C on this famous bag should cross over the left-facing C at the top, and under the left-facing C on the bottom. This metal logo might be stamped with an additional notation on older bags, but if it is marked with an “R” enclosed in a circle, don’t buy it, it’s a fake. These double Cs should be affixed to the flap with flathead screws or six-sided star screws. Philips head screws are used on novelty bags where the hardware is made of resin or wood. Also, the underside of all hardware should be stamped with “Chanel Paris.” All authentic Chanel bags have a very small hologram sticker inside the bag that is printed with two tiny Chanel logos and a seven to eight-digit serial number. This number can often be located at the bottom corner of the bag.

• Hermès Birkin

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On this bag, the hardware should be either gold or palladium, and the plates located on the front belting should be nailed in at all four corners. The back of the belting should feature a very faint “blind stamp” stating the year the bag was made and the artisan who made it. The Hermès stamp at the top of the bag should be perfectly straight and match the hardware.

• Yves Saint Laurent

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The Monogram Matelassé Leather Chain Wallet of this brand is the most frequently counterfeit bag of the line. Fortunately, YSL designs bags with a focus on highlighting the quality leather, fake bags often cannot compete with the quality. Nevertheless, you can often see these bags hanging in Chinatown, NY or Santee Alley, LA. The YSL genuine leather has a satin sheen, while fake bags have a shiny plastic or synthetic look and feel. Check the logo closely; many counterfeit bags use a “Y8L” logo instead of the original.

• Gucci

Gucci has made it their mission to take down as many counterfeit Gucci websites as possible. They go after the hosting provider with a “Cease and Desist” notice and Gucci lawyers also issue a “Takedown” notice. This strategy has proven successful, but because Gucci is so popular, another fake website often pops up. Check to make sure the bag is coming directly from Gucci.com, you can contact the website as well to verify their authenticity.

Why You Should Buy Second-Hand Designer Bags

Don’t let your love for fashion put a dent in your budget, shopping second-hand designer bags will not only save you money, but now there are so many cute options it can also be an enjoyable experience. Shop online 24/7 and search down a bag you may have missed in seasons past or find a way to access designers that may not otherwise be readily available in your hometown retail stores.

A number of high-end consignment and resale market shops have opened over the past few years, now you can buy quality used and pre-owned Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Gucci handbags for less. Make your shopping experience financially feasible so you can save your money for other things such as social activities and living expenses. You’ll want to pair your new bag with a nice glass of wine and a night out.  

The pre-owned bag market can be daunting to navigate, but you can rest assured that we have a reliable and certified collection you can confide in. Take the guesswork out of shopping for real bags and let us do the authenticating for you. Below is a list of designer bags found in our collection that are often faked. Learn to love shopping again without the stress of counterfeit collections.

Chanel Timeless Perforated Quilted Leather Bag

This beautiful Chanel leather bag features a double link silver and leather chain handle. Adorned with the classic double C clasp and two inside pockets including one with a zipper. A fun smiley pocket sits on the outside.

Hermès Birkin 30 Ostrich

This stunning pre-loved new Hermes Birkin 30 bag comes in beautiful ostrich leather in a light green color featuring palladium hardware. This bag is very coveted and hard to find. It's a new bag, comes with its box, dust bag, and invoice.

Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 Bag

Very beautiful pre-owned Speedy 30 Louis Vuitton Bag. Featuring a white background with interior suede in burgundy color with an outside pocket and an inside pocket. Equipped with a leather handle and closes with a security key for added protection.

Yves Saint Laurent Black Leather Hand Bag

Beautiful Saint Laurent handbag in black-grained leather featuring one detachable handle and an outside pocket with one large inside zipper pocket. Lined in canvas.

Gucci Monogram Bag

This is very nice Gucci handbag in beige-gray canvas featuring the famous monogram. The handle in gold leather color and the interior in a gold color fabric. The inside pocket zips and has the serial number inside the bag.

There you have it, shop like a pro and buy bags with a clear conscious and a real purpose. Remember that we donate 20% of every sale to charity.
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The Chic Selection is your sustainable marketplace with the finest selection of authentic vintage and pre-owned European luxury designers from the most reliable second-hand boutiques in Europe and in North America. Most of these consignment boutiques have no e-shop therefor The Chic Selection chose to build for them a dedicated  platform giving them a chance to be part of the internet world. The Chic selection offers used, nearly new, rare or limited edition of luxury goods such as handbags, shoes, accessories, watches, jewelry and apparel from brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes, Goyard, Gucci, Christian Louboutin, Balenciaga, Balmain, Bottega Venetta, Cartier, Céline, Chloé, Christian Dior, Emilio Pucci, Fendi, Givenchy, Lanvin, Alaia, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent. The Chic Selection guarantees 100% double authenticity through the experienced knowledge of the boutiques’owners as well as The Chic Selection’s team and experts. More than a website, The Chic Selection founder’s new vision goes beyond the business itself to widespread social betterment, planet care and financing our world’s tragedies through donations that will only be possible with your purchases. All trademarks that show on The Chic Selection site are the property of their owners. The Chic selection is not affiliated with the brands that are being sold but each article is guaranteed authentic by The Chic Selection or a full refund is given .

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