Before you buy a fake designer handbag, here's what you need to know.

Sam* has an entire wardrobe full of designer handbags. The Chanel Classic Flap, which retails for more than $10,000, sits pretty at the centre of her closet. Right beside it is the highly sought-after Hermès Birkin

To the untrained eye, her collection is a dream; however, what Sam has told no one is that every designer item she owns is fake. They’re actually “super fakes”, which is another term for a high-quality dupe.

Watch: The Hermes Birkin Bag. Post continues below.

Video via Supplied.

“Ever since I was young, I’ve always loved designer handbags, but I just can’t justify the cost. Also, why should I pay thousands of dollars when I can spend a few hundred for a really good fake?” she told Mamamia.

Sam isn’t the only one who buys fake luxury handbags. There's an entire community on TikTok who dedicate their time to finding the best quality fakes. 

Replica handbags are not a new concept by any means. Before the age of the internet, people would travel to places such as China and Turkey to get their hands on exclusive fakes. Now, those same people visit websites like DHgate, a Chinese e-commerce website where replicas are sold for hundreds of dollars.


“I would never rip off a small business, but these big designers are earning millions of dollars a year, so I don’t feel too guilty about it,” said Sam.

While a fake handbag won’t send a label bankrupt, it’s naïve to assume that no one is affected negatively by the industry.

“It’s important to know that if you are buying counterfeit designer goods, you are supporting the unethical manufacturing and distribution of fake items. Consequently, you are supporting the manufacturers’ unethical work conditions and other illegal activity,” Bianca Picherit, co-founder of Trading in Style told Mamamia. And this not even half of what I have 🥵🥵🥵 everything is 🔗❤️❤️ #dhgate #review #unboxing #dhg8 #designer #luxury #haul #budget #budgetfashion ♬ informant telling - presplit audios - byersaudio

What many people don’t know is that behind a superb fake are often people working in slave-like conditions.

Usually, their bosses are gang members, who use the sale profits to fund drug syndicates and organised crime.

“Due to the nature of the industry, there is little transparency around where the items come from or who is supplying the items,” said Picherit.

“There has been evidence to suggest that manufacturers of these counterfeit goods are directly connected to international criminal organisations who participate in human trafficking, drug trafficking, slave labour and child labour.”

The negative impact doesn’t stop there. Often, fake handbags are made using dangerous chemicals and materials such as lead, causing the health and safety concerns to trickle down from the labourer to the consumer.


Most recently, luxury Australian business Cosette came under fire when it was discovered that they were allegedly selling really high-quality fakes, with their customers believing that they were spending thousands of dollars on the real thing.

After multiple people came forward claiming that they were sold counterfeit handbags by the business, NSW Fair Trading stepped in, and an investigation is currently underway.


However, the entire ordeal was a stark reminder that for us as consumers, it’s difficult to know if we’re being sold the real thing.

“With the increase in availability of super fakes, it can be hard to tell the difference between an authentic and counterfeit item,” said Picherit.

“At Trading in Style, we recommend purchasing through a trusted re-seller who has authenticated the item using services such as Entrupy and Luxury Authentication Australia.

“The platforms’ trained authenticators assess many factors including the serial number, the quality of leather and stitching, logo placement and even the quality of original packaging.”

When people think of designer clothing and accessories, their mind is cast to the world’s one per cent. And while that may be the case, the ones who are getting duped are the people who have saved for months hoping they too can treat themselves to a designer handbag one day.

The super fake industry is a multi-million dollar one, and is one that is rife with exploitation. So if you're ever tempted to buy a counterfeit designer item, think about what your money is really buying. 

*This person is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous.

Feature image: Getty.

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