Founded in 1854, Louis Vuitton is one of the oldest luxury fashion retailers in the world.
A pioneer in monogrammed handbags, the brand has produced numerous handmade bags that have become coveted products for both women and men.
The Paris, France-based brand produces handmade pieces with precise craftsmanship and top-quality Italian leather.
Before they reach the stores, each bag goes through a process that requires a lot of time, love, dedication, and effort to ensure perfection down to the smallest detail, hence the large price tag.
How to Spot a Fake a Louis Vuitton Bag
Unfortunately, as the popularity of a brand or product increases, counterfeit copies and fake Louis Vuitton bags emerged.
However, spotting counterfeit bags can be done if you know what to look for.
The quality of materials, hardware like the zipper pull, and craftsmanship like the details on the inside of the bag, the monogram pattern on the outside of the bag, and even a serial number are maintained in the production of each genuine Louis Vuitton bag.
1. Handcrafted Finish
One of the most common ways to tell the authenticity of the bag is by checking its finish. Like other luxury designer handbags, Louis Vuitton styles will have perfectly aligned stitches and be of the same length.
The artisans behind the production are so skilled that the number of stitches on one handle is the same as the other. People who make fake bags don’t have the skill to replicate this.
Another essential characteristic is the color of the stitching. Louis Vuitton coats its threads with a particular type of resin to add extra durability and strength; this resin also gives the seam a distinctive mustard-yellow color. Counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags often use brighter, synthetic, yellow, or orange threads.
2. Brass Hardware
Louis Vuitton Bag connoisseurs know that the next thing to check is the hardware.
A real Louis Vuitton bag will have high-quality golden brass hardware that comes either shiny or matte. For shiny zippers and locks, you can do the reflection test; the brass should reflect exactly like a mirror.
Obviously, the zippers won’t jam when you try to open the bag. Also, Louis Vuitton’s hardware is manufactured in their french fashion house. They create their own zippers and do not use any other branded zippers.
3. Symmetrical Patterning
Another crucial thing to note about the monogrammed handbags is the print monogram pattern.
In the case of Louis Vuitton, the classic LV should be symmetrical. The letter L should always be slightly lower than the letter V. If the letters are crooked or not perfectly aligned, the bag, swimsuit, or product is not the real thing.
It is also essential to look at the location and consistency of the monogram in the print. If you look diagonally, the order of the row should be a fleur-de-lis, a circle, another fleur-de-lis, and then the LV logo. The alternating strip should contain only the symbols of the fleur-de-lis.
For logo embellishments, make sure they are symmetrical and well done. The logo of the Maison usually writes “Louis Vuitton Paris” on two lines.
4. Vachetta Leather
The leather straps that make up the handles are made of leather called Vachetta, which is made from natural, untreated European calf leather and therefore darkens with oxidation and time.
Counterfeit items have straps that remain the same light shade over time. The leather should darken to a beautiful golden tone as the piece ages.
Even many fans of the brand prefer the shade that the straps acquire over time rather than the light tone of the new piece. This is another reason vintage Louis Vuitton bags are so popular.
Date Codes Microchips
Each bag USED to have a date code and a tiny leather label with engraved letters and numbers to indicate where and when the bag was made. As of March 2021, all Louis Vuitton bags are microchipped.
Why? It’s tougher to create a fake Louis Vuitton bag. LV is following in the footsteps of brands like Moncler and Ferragamo which have been using similar technology successfully for years.
Where is the microchip? Consumers don’t know… and LV employees don’t want you to know because they want it to stay put and not be tampered with.
The Louis Vuitton date codes were a little harder to find because they were tucked inside the lining. The internal code of Louis Vuitton handbags was composed of two letters and four numbers. The letters indicated the country of origin and the numbers indicated the week of the year of manufacture.
For example, AH2115 means that the product was produced in France in the twenty-first week of 2015.
6. Stamp, Shape, and Font Size
Another feature that Louis Vuitton keeps consistent is the print’s pattern. Inside the bag, you will find a leather label with the “Louis Vuitton Paris” stamp. Pay attention to the font format, spacing, and quality of the logo, because copies often “give themselves away” in this detail.
The first thing you should look at is the style of the letters. On original stamps, the “L” has a short base, and the “O’s” are large and round, not oval. Take a close look because this is where many copycats fail. Also, the two “T’s” are very close together – almost touching.
The stitching around the stamp should be clean and consistent. Loose threads, uneven stitches, or an asymmetrical symbol are red flags.
7. Common Sense
Last but not least, good old common sense will always be an excellent “thermometer.”
If a bag that costs $5,000.00 at the store is being sold for $1,000.00, you already have reasons to suspect its authenticity, even if it is from a second-hand or consignment store. Generally, second-hand bags’ prices depend on the product’s demand and the piece’s condition.
All luxury bags come with a dust bag or dust cover as well.
TL; DR – A Real vs Fake Louis Vuitton
Do all LV bags have a serial number?
Authentic bags do not have a serial number or model number on the real bag, which differentiates them from many brands and makes it easy to identify a counterfeit.
How can I authenticate a Louis Vuitton handbag if I buy it online?
Ask the seller to share photos, and lots of them – close up and wide. Now that you know how to identify a fake Louis Vuitton, you should insist that they share pictures of some of the more intricate details – like the stitching, the shade, the logo, straps, hardware, tag, or monogram.
Contrary to popular belief, LV handbags have upside-down symbols on some models, like the Papillon bag and the Speedy bag, for example.
Louis Vuitton handbags are made from a single large canvas, with no seams anywhere, not even on the bottom of the bags.
Louis Vuitton handbags, suitcases, and other merchandise do not come with labels like other brands’ products. They are placed in small pockets inside the bag.
Louis Vuitton handbags are made in France, USA, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Spain.
What if my Louis Vuitton bag doesn’t have a date code?
Some older versions do not have date codes. The date codes may have disappeared on some older materials, so look for other ways to validate them.
Finally an easy way and probably the best way to tell if you have a fake handbag is to take the designer bag to a Louis Vuitton store and ask an employee. They are the true experts! My sister used to work for the luxury brand and can spot fake LV bags from a mile away!
Now you know how to authenticate a Louis Vuitton, what’s your favorite?