It’s undeniable that Louis Vuitton is one of the most coveted status symbol handbag brands in the world. Their classic designs and characteristic “LV” monogram pattern are known to almost everyone and are markers of this brand’s iconic and exclusive status.
With so many people being familiar with these bags, you’d think that one would be able to recognize a fake bag in an instant, right? Unfortunately, it’s not so simple.
Due to their luxury status, high price tag, and celebrity endorsers, everyone seems to want to get their hands on one of these iconic styles. Unfortunately, this has led to a massive influx of knockoff reproductions, or dupes as they’re often referred to as.
Did you know Louis Vuitton is the most counterfeited luxury brand in the world? Counterfeiting is so bad that a court ruled eBay pay LVMH, the parent company of Louis Vuitton, $61 million because 90% of the bags on eBay were counterfeit.
Since these bags have been around for so long, counterfeiters have only gotten more skilled in the recreation of Louis Vuitton bags. Moreover, e-commerce websites have only made weeding out the fakes more difficult for those looking to score a deal. So how does one spot a fake Louis Vuitton bag?
Today, we’ll be talking all about how to tell if you have a real Louis Vuitton bag and some of the key ways you can spot a fake while shopping.
10 Ways to Spot a Fake Louis Vuitton Bag
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One thing to remember about high-end luxury bags is that everything is done to perfection. There’s a very small margin of error. Bags are often quality tested multiple times before being shipped out. This means you should be suspicious of any small sign of inconsistency. This is especially true with Louis Vuitton.
However, this is a brand that is well-aware of how common fakes are, so LV includes many ways to tell counterfeits from their authentic Louis Vuitton bags. Here are some details to pay attention to.
Louis Vuitton’s signature monogram pattern is often the first thing you’ll notice about one of these bags. Everyone knows that “LV” and quatrefoil repeating pattern, sometimes coming in multiple colors. So it probably comes as no surprise that this is the quickest and best way to spot a fake.
The LV monogram pattern will never be crooked or cut off at a seam in the center of the bag. The classic LV logo pattern consists of the monogram and three distinctive quatrefoil designs. This consistently repeats in the same order across the bag.
Keep in mind that some Louis Vuitton styles are made with one continuous piece of leather, resulting in the pattern being upside down on one side for certain styles. This is not always a sign of a fake.
Unlike a brand like Chanel, Louis Vuitton bags are available with dozens of different linings. Some have a micro monogram pattern, red or honey canvas, leather, or microfiber suede. Your best bet is to do a bit of research on the type of bag you’re looking at and match what you have to the authentic bag.
Fake Louis Vuitton handbags will likely not have a high-quality interior, since it’s not as important to passing the bag off as the real thing. Be on the lookout for cheap brown suede or even plastic.
Stitching is often one of the tell-tale signs of a fake designer handbag. This is especially true with Louis Vuitton.
First, the stitching should be absolutely flawless. No unevenness, odd spacing, or loose stitches should be found anywhere on the bag. In fact, Louis Vuitton bags should have the exact same number of stitches on both sides of the bag with no variation.
Another important aspect is the color of the thread. The real deal will almost always have mustard yellow or (more rarely) brown stitching, as opposed to a bright yellow or other color.
4. Heat Stamp
The heat stamp on a Louis Vuitton bag is their mark of authenticity. Anyone who deals in authenticating Louis Vuitton handbags will tell you that the lettering and heat stamping is one of the most important factors in telling if your bag is legit.
Some producers of fake bags have gotten very good at recreating the brand’s font, so you’ll have to have a keen eye to spot any irregularities.
You’ll find the heat stamp either on the outside or inside of the bag. Newer bags might have the stamp on a cloth or leather tag on the inside while older bags may have the stamp on the lining or on an interior pocket.
If it’s on the outside it can be found on a number of places – the trim or strap are good places to look.
Professional authenticators, Lollipuff, have some pointers on recognizing these subtle differences on the main Louis Vuitton stamp:
- The tail on the L should be very short.
- The O’s are very round and look bigger than the L.
- The T’s are almost touching each other or are so close that it looks like it.
- Lettering should be thin to somewhat thin, clear, and very crisp.
- Study the general font used and how it is aligned.
The handles of a counterfeit bag can often be a forgotten detail. There are a few key things to look out for and (more importantly) avoid.
First, always rely on your sense of touch. In a real bag, the handles will be made of soft, smooth leather that oxidizes and darkens with age. The handles are also often trimmed with a contrasting burgundy edge that will also get darker over time. If this trimming looks bright red, painted on, or plastic, it’s a fake.
Zippers are another detail that can often be overlooked when it comes to the creation and purchase of counterfeit bags.
The zipper pull should always contain Louis Vuitton’s signature monogram or brand name cleanly and precisely. Notice any variation on the brand’s font or pattern that doesn’t look quite right.
Also, make sure to give the bag’s zipper(s) a quick test. It should glide open and closed smoothly and be cleanly sewn in without any loose threads or unevenness. A red flag is a zipper that gets caught on itself or is hard to close.
Even on a very good replica of a Louis Vuitton bag, the hardware can often be a good giveaway as to what’s fake and what’s authentic.
The first thing to keep in mind is that all larger pieces of hardware, clasp, or other closure, should bear the signature monogram. It should also be crisply etched, centered, and evenly placed on the hardware.
Even the rivets should be stamped with the full “Louis Vuitton” logo. One way to confirm if your bag is real is to also check the rivets on the inside of the bag for the brand name and make sure they all match each other.
Louis Vuitton’s hardware bags is also made from high-quality solid brass, which is durable and evenly colored. Many fake bags will cut corners with cheap, overly shiny gold plating.
8. Date Code
While Louis Vuitton bags don’t have proper a serial number, the code you will find is the date code. Bags made before the early 1980’s didn’t have a date code, but almost every bag you’ll find in circulation today should have this code printed somewhere on the bag.
Do note, however, that Louis Vuitton did away with the date code in March of 2021 and replaced it with a hidden scannable RFID microchip.
It’s not always easy to find the date code on the pre-microchipped bags. But this selection of numbers and letters will give you an insight into when and where the bag was made.
The code is hidden away by design not to interfere with the aesthetic of the bag. The five most common locations of the date code are:
- On a leather tab inside the inner seam of the main lining
- On a leather tab inside the inner pocket lining
- Heat stamped onto the exterior leather trim
- Heat stamped under the inner flap pocket
- Heat stamped onto the inner top pocket seam
A more recent style of the Louis Vuitton date codes will consist of two letters at the beginning, indicating where it was made, followed by four numbers that show the approximate date the bag was made. Here are some examples:
2007-2020: There are two letters followed by four digits. The first two letters represent the factory location. The first and third numbers represent the week of the year it was made and the second and fourth numbers represent the year it was made.
AA-1039 would indicate that the bag was made in France on the 13th week of 2009.
1990-2006: There are two letters followed by four numbers. The letters represent the factory location where the bag was made. The first and third numbers reflect the month it was made and the second and fourth represent the year it was made.
For example: BO-0023 would indicate that the bag was made in Italy during February 2003.
Unless the bag is very vintage, this code should always be present and make sense. If the numbers indicate that the bag was made in say, 2050, you’ll know that you have a fake on your hands. This product code authenticator is a great way to quickly figure out the date and country your bag was made in.
Keep in mind that the stamping on the bag should match this as well. (For this example, if your factory code indicates the bag was made in a French factory, it would say “made in France”).
Where are Louis Vuitton bags made?
Though Louis Vuitton started in France, production has expanded beyond France to Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Germany and the USA.
9. Dust Bag
Louis Vuitton dust bags are simple and can be either an envelope or drawstring style. They will always be a soft tan or beige color with the signature “LV” or “Louis Vuitton” logo in the center. The dust cover will also be made of 100% cotton and have a label indicating it was made in either Spain or India.
10. Certificate of Authenticity
This tip is the simplest, and a bit ironic: if your bag comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, it’s not an authentic Louis Vuitton bag. Your bag may come with a cream-colored card listing the bag style and barcode, but never authenticity cards.
Scoring a genuine Louis Vuitton bag is something that many fashionistas dream about. But be sure to rely on your instincts.
At the end of the day, it’s always best to refer back to the age-old saying: if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. These bags are well-known, expensive, and prized by collectors, so it’s very unlikely someone would let go of a real Louis Vuitton item for a price that doesn’t make sense.
Otherwise, be sure to pay attention to these markers of quality above all else. Louis Vuitton’s $1,000+ price tags aren’t for nothing. The real bags are made using premium materials and craftsmanship, which has kept them so popular (and replicated) all these years.
Hopefully, this guide will have you fully prepared to find and authenticate your new favorite handbag! Be sure to head to this post for some of the most popular LV bags or this one with 14 other luxury brands with beautiful designer bags!