Fashion Advice 101: How to Spot Fake Designer Items


“Actually, I am very glad that people can buy Armani—even if it is a fake. I like the fact that I am so popular around the world” –Giorgio Armani


There are a lot of reasons why one would like to don or spot a designer label. Among them includes that distinct accomplished aura of clutching something that was priced rather exorbitantly, that sophisticated veneer it gives your entire ensemble, a bit of pride in ownership and so many more. These expensive designer items are well-sought for by consumers, but because they come at an expensive price, some may not be able to afford it all. These very same consumers will be constrained to look for an alternative.

It is precisely because these items are so popular and well-sought for that unsavory charlatans have come to imitate a designer’s work and pass it off as a legitimate product and at a lower price. This is a welcome avenue for these insalubrious manufacturers and a cheaper alternative to buying authentic items for the consumers. However, these hurts the profits of designers who have worked years to perfect their craft and may lead consumers to unwittingly buy a fake product despite looking for an authentic one—an easy mistake to make knowing how these items are meticulously copied to boot. So, to avoid scenarios wherein you would inadvertently purchase a counterfeit product with your hard earned cash, here are some tips to help you determine if a product is truly genuine or not.


1.)    Understand the difference between a genuine product or a knock-off


Having an awareness of the difference between a knock-off and a real designer would enable you to make an informed choice as regards the item you are purchasing. In bags for an instance, an authentic designer bag is made by the well-known designer but can also be made by a less-known designer but the focus lies on high-end designers. Every aspect of the bag (logo, charms, attachments, etc.) is part of the original design and is done right down to the number of such features and positioning. These features help you determine a products authenticity. It does not matter whether these bags may be wholesale Steve madden bags or retail bought designers, the elements remain the same.


2.)    There are legal knock-offs


Not all knock-offs are necessarily wrong. Some are legitimate knock-offs and are legal. These are called “designer inspired” items but are not exact replicas or direct copies. These are the items that do not claim to be the original product and does not attempt to use any of the trademarked logos, features or symbols. A closer scrutiny would reveal that some aspects would deviate from the original in very evident ways to avoid copyright infringement. If you are incredibly particular with authenticity, then be sure to know all of the aspects of your chosen designer product.


3.)    Be store wise


To avoid getting duped into purchasing knock-offs, do your designer shopping only at designated renowned retail stores for such designer items. These stores would usually carry the same name as the brand you are looking for—quality department or boutique stores are also safe bets. Their staff should be adequately knowledgeable as regards their product, its quality and pedigree and can guarantee authenticity.


4.)    Avoid buying from flea markets or online


Exercise caution when shopping for designer items you cannot personally inspect. For one, it is wiser to assume that any designer item bought at the flea market or a street vendor is suspect and may be a knock off. Although it is a bit of a stretch, it is better to be safe than sorry. Though there are legitimate sellers online who are selling authentic designer items for less as they might have been already used before, you cannot double check personally if these items are indeed legitimate. So, if you are intent on getting only original items, it is best to go to a licensed reseller or to the designer’s very own retail store.


5.)    Be realistic about the price


Designer products are not only made with the highest quality materials, but they are also made with the designer name attached to them. They do not come cheap because you are not paying for the materials or the product itself, you are paying for the prestige of the designer label and the name. These products are well crafted and they are akin to status symbols which is why they are exorbitantly priced. In a way, these items are hardly practical buys and are mostly considered as luxurious expenditures. So, if you come across a designer item with a price that seems to be almost too good to be true, it probably is. Realize that the item must be a knock-off and look for an authentic one. However, if you do wish to purchase the cheaper alternative in the form of legal knock offs, be sure you do not pay as much as you would their authentic counterparts and always check the quality.


6.)    Ask the vendor if the bag is real, a copy or a fake


Before asking vendors, be the judge and ask yourself if the product is authentic and keep your emotions in check and your common sense with you while you are at it. Then ask the sellers regarding the product’s legitimacy. Sellers who would avoid making eye-contact with you, are fidgety or evasive may have something to hide and could not be trusted in telling the truth. Do not expect the same behavior from street vendors however. Lastly, always check if there are any certificates of authenticity accompanying the product you have bought as more often than not, authentic items come with these.


7.)    Know the signs of a knock-off bag


There are innumerable tell-tale signs that can point to a bag’s inauthenticity. One example is the stitching. Stitching on authentic designer products are immaculate and done to perfection. If the stitching seems poorly and haphazardly made, chances are it is a fake. Another thing to watch out for is the material. If it is made from leather, it is supposed to smell like leather. Small features such as these will help you determine whether a product is genuine or not.



In a world wherein everyone wants a slice of luxury for themselves, counterfeit designer products are inevitable. But smart shoppers and fashionistas should be a step ahead of these unsavory vendors. With the tips above, you should be able to distinguish what are legitimate products and what are cheap knock-offs and save yourself from spending hard-earned cash on fake products that should only cost a fraction of what you bought it for realistically.




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