5 dead giveaways your designer bag is a fake.

The designer handbag is a high-end girlie wardrobe staple.

Whether it's a Chanel purse, a Louis Vuitton weekender or a YSL crossbody that's screaming your name, designer bags are everywhere at the moment. And we mean everywhere.

But the reason they've swelled as a major topic in girl chats and headlines alike is, sadly, not because everyone is suddenly rich AF and can afford to get their hands on these babies by the boatload.

READ MORE: 'I attended a lunch where everyone had a designer handbag. My friend told me "most were fakes".'

Nope, it's the fact that people are being duped by designer duds, after Australian luxury retailer Cosette was accused of selling more than $700k worth of designer handbags that were actually fakes.

Watch: Inside Mia Freedman's wardrobe: Crossbody bags. Post continues after video.  

Video via Mamamia.

A recent investigation by the Sydney Morning Herald and A Current Affair into the company, which sells (apparently) high-end labels at discounted prices, has left a whole lot of people wondering if their arm candy is all it promised it would be. 

Cosette's denied it’s ripping off shoppers, and stands by its promise that all items are genuine – but with more than 460 complaints made to NSW Fair Trading thus far (and an investigation underway), it's understandable that secondhand shoppers and thrift-shop bargain hunters have been double-checking their designer buys lately.


Of course, there's nothing wrong with a dupe of any kind – especially if it saves us all a little cash in this crazy cozzie-livs moment we're all experiencing. 

But if you're looking to bag yourself (sorrycouldnothelpit) a luxe accessory of the legit variety – or trying to determine whether the bag you've been toting around is actually what she claims to be – there are a few things you're going to want to know.

We spoke to Jenna Issacman and Bianca Picherit, founders of Australian luxury consignment retailer Trading in Style (and all-round experts on all things designer-circular-economy world) on exactly how to tell a real designer bag from a fake.

1. Check the serial code.

“The first thing we look for is a serial code inside the bag," shared Jenna and Bianca. “If there isn’t a code, we cannot authenticate it through our third-party authentication service."

A serial number is a piece's unique identifier – its photo ID, in a sense, and a pretty big part of the designer bag validity puzzle. It's usually a several-digit number and will be located in different places depending on the brand, but it's easy enough to google whereabouts a serial number should be placed on your luxury piece (if it is, in fact, the real deal).

If you do find some digits on your bag but they seem random, you can even do a little digging online to find out the sequencing each brand uses for their serial numbers. If it's not a style match, you've probably got an imposter on your hands.


2. Assess the quality.

Let's be real, there are a lot of very good fakes out there these days, so quality isn't necessarily an indicator of a sneaky copycat. But sometimes you just... know. You know?

“The material of the lining on the inside [of the bag], and logo placement and spacing can be a clear sign of a fake," explained the TIS gals. Cheap fabric linings that tear easily, and logos that aren't quite in the right spot, are upside down, inverted or (quelle horreur) misspelled are a big clue something's amiss with your arm candy.

“The quality of the hardware can also be inconsistent, which is an indication of a fake item,” said Bianca and Jenna.

Even the smell of the bag should be closely inspected (yes, really). And don't forget to get up close and personal with the stitching, as poor quality in this department can be a dead giveaway that the label on your purse isn't all it seems.

For example, “a genuine Chanel bag will feature up to eight to 12 stitches on each side of the diamond”.

“[If buying online] request images of the outside and inside of the bag so you can look at all angles carefully.

3. Examine the packaging.

Presentation is everything, and designer brands know this. They're not slapping their carefully crafted pieces into any old plastic bag – the boxes and dust bags they come in are part of the whole experience. 

“We recommend looking closely at the quality of the packaging, box, logo placement and dust bag," suggested the TiS founders. "If it seems too flimsy, or if the logo is skewed, this is an obvious sign of a counterfeit item.”


4. Get a receipt.

When it comes time to buy, be sure you get proof of purchase, say Bianca and Jenna. 

“Always ask for an original receipt or a certificate of authenticity before purchasing the item," they shared. "At Trading in Style, we always ask for an original receipt."

It's worth noting, too, that a reputable on-seller should take extra steps to make sure they're not flogging fakes. “Without an original receipt, we will authenticate the product via our third-party authentication service," said the Trading in Style experts. "The service requires numerous images of specific details to ensure its authenticity.”

The takeaway? Know you're shopping with a company you can trust.  

5. Be honest with yourself about the price.

Sorry we have to be the ones to tell you this, but if the price tag on your new 'Birkin' seems too good to be true, it probably is, say Jenna and Bianca.

Their advice, if you're looking to save a few bucks on your designer bag purchase?

“Research what you are looking to acquire and then compare prices from reputable resellers." 

And if you're going for a pre-loved luxury handbag, “Only purchase items from a trusted reseller that you know always thoroughly checks all items and authenticates prior to selling."

Image: Mamamia.

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