No one would want to spend a fortune buying a designer wear only to discover it was a counterfeit. By the way, did you know that knock-off fashion is a $600bn industry?
Fake fashion and knock-offs are products that are designed to look like they have a high-fashion brand, but are actually cheap, low quality.
While you may not mind carrying or wearing a replica item, it is not okay when you’re taken advantage of by someone selling a clever counterfeit.
This means you need to develop good “detective skills” to find out whether the item you’re spending your money on is the real deal.
Here are six things to look out for when shopping for designer goods.
For instance, if you are buying patterned handbags, the first thing you should check for are the seams. A counterfeit doesn’t have the care and craftsmanship put into it that a real designer bag has, which means the fabric and pattern won’t line up at the seams. This is the quickest way to determine if a designer bag is fake. Remember, when you buy the real thing, you’re not just paying for a recognisable name, you’re paying for quality workmanship. Authentic goods don’t have loose threads or unraveling zippers, so check the item for signs that it hasn’t been made well.
Make sure that the logo is printed correctly. No spelling mistake allowed! On a recent trip to Mandilas on Lagos Island, a trader displayed some pairs of sneakers with the brand name “Bolo Ralph Lauren,” intending to deceive undiscerning buyers into thinking they were Polo Ralph Lauren sneakers. Recently too, a Gucci/Coach hybrid replica was created, fooling many buyers into snapping up a “Goach” bag – the “C” in the Coach logo was subtly transformed into a “G,” which should have tipped off discerning buyers that it wasn’t real. In addition to confirming the authenticity of the logo design, look for the logo in other locations on the item. For instance, most zipper pulls, name plates, and even shoe soles will have the logo engraved, not stamped.
The most common sense way to spot a fake is to consider the price. You must spend much more money on designer goods, so if it’s a screaming deal, it’s probably not real. A general rule of thumb is to never buy something that is priced less than 30 per cent below the original designer price. That’s about how much is discounted at secondhand stores or at seasonal department store sales. Nowhere will you get a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes for N10,000, so you should definitely be wary if a seller offers you a particular brand on the cheap. Unfortunately, the only way to guarantee you’re getting the real deal might be to buy from an authorised dealer, such as a department store.
This is not to bad-mouth any country or continent, but most counterfeits are made in Asia, so a tag proclaiming that your new Hermes scarf was “Made in China” is highly suspicious. Designer goods are usually made in Europe, and will include engravings that say so.
Buying secondhand is a fantastic way to get a deep discount on legit designer items. However, just because you found a designer bag in a thrift shop doesn’t mean it’s real. Secondhand items should show gentle signs of wear, but not disruptions in the quality or the integrity of the item. And again, watch out if the price is suspicious. Thrift store and secondhand store owners know the difference between real and fake, and price items appropriately using that knowledge. Unfortunately, they may also place a high price on a replica item if it has the right logo. Feel the item – leather goods should feel soft and supple; never will they feel stiff or like plastic. While it’s fun to score a thrift store find, it’s important that you still do your homework to make sure it’s a well-loved genuine item.
Designers want to assure you that you’re buying the real thing. Designer bags and shoes always come with the right boxes, identification cards and other info that ensure authenticity. If your designer item arrives in a plastic bag with tags affixed – and without any documentation – it’s most likely a fake. High-end designers never attach the price tag to their items, and they usually send them encased in dust covers, not plastic bags.
In conclusion, be smart and diligent and don’t let greedy folks out there rip you off your hard-earned money.