If you?re like me, not only do you love trolling thrift stores and consignment shops for your everyday wardrobe, but you?re also on the hunt for incredible finds.? For me, those finds typically come in the form of a drawstring handbag.? I once found a Botega Veneta in a thrift store for $78, which at the time was about 10% of the retail price.? On another occasion, I found a brand new Coach bag at a consignment shop for $60.? A question I am frequently asked is: ?How did you know they were real???
Most upscale consignment shops will vouch for the authenticity of their merchandise and offer a refund, if they are found to be counterfeit.? Thrift stores are another matter.? Most of them rely on donations for stock and are manned by volunteers.? You are on your own in these establishments.? Is that a reason to forgo a purchase that might be the find of a lifetime?? No way!? Not if you?re armed with the proper knowledge.? Here are some of the methods I use to smoke out the imposters:
1)????? ?Made in? label ? This is an easy one!? If it?s made in China, it?s not a real Prada.? Look up where the handbags you love are made, so that you can pick out that give-away immediately.
2)????? Stitching ? All high-end hand bags have completely perfect stitching.? This is true across the board.? If there is even one centimeter of a flaw in this department, it?s not real.?
3)????? Lining ? The quality of the inner lining in a high-end purse is of a similar quality to the outer material. ?If the outside looks nice, but the inside lining is a cheap nylon or the like ? toss it!? It?s bogus.? Note that most top designer bags have a ?signature? lining, so if you become familiar with your favorite designer?s linings, you have some key information.
4)????? Hardware ? The hardware on an expensive bag will be of the same high quality as the leather (or other goods) and lining.? Many companies also have ?signature? hardware.? For example, every bit of hardware on a Prada bag ? from the smallest grommet to the largest clasp ? will be stamped with their name.? Their zippers are made by a company named Lupe.? Find that stamp on the zipper head, and you?re likely looking at the real McCoy.
With these tricks-of-the-trades in mind, be sure to do further research on the designers you love.? Many have signatures like Prada?s hardware stamps.? Know what they are before you head out to find the bag of your dreams.
Also, develop an ?eye? for quality.? If you live in an area that has company stores for these high end brands, visit them to study the merchandise and speak with the sales people.? You can also visit department stores like Bloomingdales that carry both the high-end and less expensive lines.? Look at similar bags from both categories right next to each other.? Rather than just focusing on which one you like better, key in on fabrication, hardware, detailing, stitching, etc, as comparison points.
Now you have all the info you need, when hunting for an authentic designer bag.? Be sure to send me picture of your next find!