Separating the Real from the Fake

There are many excellent guides on the internet that help me determine whether my finds are genuine. Here a few general rules of thumb I have picked up that apply across the board:

  1. Counterfeiting has only become popular in the last twenty to thirty years. An older vintage piece is likely to be genuine. Generally speaking, the older and more obscure the item, the more likely to be genuine.
  2. Bags, sunglasses and watches are the most profitable to counterfeit as they are the most recognizable, most branded, most coveted and most easy to fit (one size fits most). When you find an older garment with an only an interior tag to identify it, there is a much better chance it is genuine, particularly if it not Chanel or Louis Vuitton.
  3. Since the explosion of the luxury counterfeit market most high end brands use serial numbers to identify their bags. Some brands do not, but it is prudent to check the internet before paying for a second hand luxury bag. Google knows all about fake serial numbers too!

You might think that it is more likely to find authentic luxury goods in a consignment shop, but I have actually had more luck in thrift stores. Not all consignment store buyers are well versed in identifying fakes, and, frankly, not all customers really care. The market for fakes extends to second hand as well. There are, however, individuals that will donate their older or unused luxury goods to charity shops and I have found a few gems that way.

Would you carry a luxury “fake”? Have you ever been duped by a close imitation? (I certainly have!)

 

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