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

I attended a social event over the weekend, and rather than take notice of everyone's minimal makeup, white leather sneakers or gold jewellery, something else caught my eye.

Nearly every woman in the room exhibited a very obvious designer handbag slung casually over her shoulder or dangling neatly from her arm.

I say 'very obvious' to emphasise these were not subtle bags, like you might shop from minimalist (albeit also very popular) labels like The Row or Khaite.

READ MORE: 5 dead giveaways your designer bag is a fake.

Instead, I’m referring to monogrammed Louis Vuitton canvas and huge metal adornments reading YSL.

I mean – picture FENDI printed in screaming capitals.

Watch: How to be a woman in 2023. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

By the time I was home from the day, showered and ruminating in my bed, I couldn’t help but mention my observation casually to another friend who had also joined me at lunch.

"Did you notice nearly everyone today carrying a designer handbag?" I quizzed over text.

My eyebrows were raised when her reply came back the following morning.


"Yeah, but a lot of them were fakes," she responded.


"How do you know?" I pressed further.

"Some because I’ve been told, others I can just spot," she said.

Call me ashamedly naïve, but I hadn’t thought to consider the luxury bags housing my friends' high-end lip-glosses and latest model iPhones could be counterfeit goods.

But really, it shouldn’t be the most shocking fact.

This is particularly true given the rise, prevalence, and relatively easy access to fake handbags.

This is also layered with the mounting pressure for young people to don designer goods.

It only takes a brief scroll through some of Instagram and TikTok’s youngest cohort of influencers to notice the influx of content creators parading luxury labels in almost all of their posts.

No 'outfit of the day' or now more commonly known as, 'fit check', is complete without the addition, or in some cases central focus, of a luxury purse.

Carrying a bag with a huge logo plastered across its strap or fabric seems to be the easiest way to signal 'high end' – far more than opting for designer jeans or a cashmere cardigan.

But, for the average young woman, the increasing price of designer goods is simply unattainable.

Listen to What Are You Wearing? Mamamia's fashion podcast. Post continues below.

I myself saved for a small designer clutch some four years ago.


And since the purchase, this bag has risen by almost $800 in price.

No other item in my wardrobe has been whacked with such an overwhelming price increase in a similar short time frame.

For the ladies I lunched with, the purchase of counterfeit luxury goods appears to be conscious, but this isn’t the case for everyone.

A recent investigation by the Sydney Morning Herald and A Current Affair uncovered that the Australian luxury retailer Cosette had sold handbags to a number of customers who allege they are fake.

Cosette, which has a prominent online presence and also a storefront in Sydney, denies the claims. NSW Fair Trading has started an investigation.

For many customers who have purchased from the store, I imagine there will be a painstaking decision now of whether to authenticate their goods, some of which have probably been parading as real for months or years, or continue living blissfully ignorant to their validity.

Whether the bag you’re carrying is deliberately or unknowingly fake, it still begs the question – what’s the value in knowing if it’s authentic?

Does a surge of fake designer goods devalue the real thing?

Is the opposite true?

Does it even matter at this point?

Feature image: Getty.

Calling All Skincare Enthusiasts! Complete this short survey now and go in the running to win one of four $50 gift vouchers!