Thai Expert Explains How to Recognise Counterfeit Designer Handbags
When distinguishing a fake Chanel purse from a simple thing, the details make all the difference in the world. Does it have consistent and smooth stitching? What kind of texture does the grain have? Is it more like leather or more like vinyl? How near is the fastener to the logo that has been engraved on it?
The distinction can mean the difference between paying a hefty sum for someone’s expert forgery and acquiring a valuable piece of fashion history, particularly for consumers who are addicted to particular brands, individuals who collect vintage items, and investors who are looking for lower price tags.
In the previous six years, Somrutai “Aon” Sangchaiphum’s eyes have scrutinised the contents of hundreds of different bags, so she is quite familiar with the information presented here. The proprietor of Thailand’s only second-hand luxury fashion store, SF Brandname, recently discussed the intricate process of product verification with the Bangkok Post. Thailand is well-known for the high quality of its knockoffs, so this was an interesting topic to discuss.
The journey started with a single bag. Before Aon’s store opened in 2014, one of her adolescent goals was not to have a Balenciaga City bag. one day, because she knew that her parents would not pay for it, she had to put aside some of her allowances so that she could buy it used.
However, as everyone in the circle of brand addicts is aware, it does not end with that very first taste. When the young girl wanted to buy her next luxury purse but did not have a job or access to her parent’s credit card, she had no alternative but to sell the one she already had.
She explained her decision to earn money by reselling items by saying, “I could sell the bag for the same price as when I originally got it, so I thought of it as a ‘use profit,’ and decided to make money off of reselling these things.”
When she had that realisation, she knew it was a potential opportunity for her business.
Big Fake Business
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2019, the black market in Southeast Asia for knockoffs of handbags, watches, and gadgets generates upwards of £35.9 billion (THB1.1 trillion) yearly. Southeast Asia is no new to the production of counterfeit products. On the western outskirts of Bangkok, police detained a Chinese guy in his 50s who had a warehouse stocked with thousands of counterfeit items of clothing and bags that had been smuggled from China only the previous week. Its worth on the market was more than one hundred million Thai Baht.
According to a survey published in March by an online statistics company called Statista, the fake handbag and luggage business is responsible for costing manufacturers a total of EUR1.6 billion (THB59 billion) this year.
Even while there are consumers who purposefully purchase counterfeit items, the vast majority of customers are duped without their knowledge.
While some professionals are protective of their expertise, Aon believes action should be shared with the general public and make them better shoppers. After opening her business in partnership with four brand-name specialists, consumer education on how to spot fakes was one of the first things she offered. They were, in part, motivated by all of the queries that were raised in the online communities for collectors.
“There are so many posts in those groups every day requesting a kind-hearted member to help them verify whether the preowned products they purchased are real,” she added. “There are many posts in those groups asking for assistance checking whether the preowned items they bought are authentic.” Because there are so many, we can only assist a portion of those in need. There have even been customers who have attempted to market copies at our business, and in this day and age, they seem extremely authentic. On the other hand, we have never failed to deliver.”
Identify the imitation product.
Aon has seen counterfeits that were almost indistinguishable from the originals; in some cases, it took just a whiff to determine which was which, which is why he recommends doing a comprehensive check of products in person. In addition, she emphasised over and over that verification should never, ever be based on a single characteristic.
The young specialist then proceeded to outline the fundamental criteria that must be met to verify the genuineness of the Chanel Classic bag, which is consistently ranked among the most desirable handbags in the world.
She said that the price of the 10-inch Chanel Classic bag in caviar skin continues to skyrocket annually. The price was THB 191,000 (about £7,000) a year ago, but it has now increased to nearly THB 220,000. Because of this, most individuals choose to purchase previously used items rather than brand-new ones. Making a profit with this method is a lot easier. It takes ten years for a freshly purchased Chanel Classic bag to be resold at a lucrative price, and throughout that time, the bag must be maintained in excellent shape.
She recommended checking the stitching, the material, the scent, and the details of a high-grade imitation Chanel bag while making a side-by-side comparison with an authentic Chanel bag.
To begin, the stitching on an authentic Chanel bag should be tidy and slanted rather than straight, and there should be minimum gaps between the stitches. This was mentioned at the beginning of the paragraph. The diamond pattern as a whole should give the impression of being continuous and all in alignment. However, according to Aon, it is the characteristic that is the least necessary to look at since it is the one that is the simplest to replicate.
In terms of the construction, she said that the grainy texture of the bag should have a leathery feel since it is constructed from pebbled calfskin and would get softer with use. On the other hand, knockoffs are typically crafted from PVC leather, which has a texture that is quite rough to the touch. She said it needs to have a natural odour, but the smell of leather is something that even raw materials might lose with time.
After thoroughly inspecting the bag’s outside, one needs to proceed with the investigation and investigate the bag’s inside details. The use of illegitimate fonts and lettering might be a forger’s Achilles’ heel, according to Aon.
The expert on preowned luxury goods recommended paying close attention to the fonts used for the hologram number and brand stamping on the bag. The fonts used in the stamping of the authentic Chanel are noticeably more robust, particularly the letter ‘R’ that appears in the circle.
She explains that the code number on the holographic sticker inside the bag should be “digitally produced” for a genuine bag, but a fake bag is more likely to look “stretched and type.” Stickers on simple items should have an X-shaped cut in them, and they should attach securely to the bag.
The snap stud is tucked in near the Chanel emblem on the authentic Chanel bag, while on the counterfeit bag on the right, it is considerably higher up.
The final advice the professional offers is to examine the snap’s location about the brand logo engraved on the bag’s flap. According to her, the stud should be positioned near the brand name; however, it is considerably farther away from the imitation.
Authenticating high-fashion things is a difficult skill that may cause severe headaches; thus, turning to technology is the last choice suggested. SF’s Brand name relies on authentication technology developed by Entrupy, a company located in New York City that claims to have a success record of 99%. A claim that her establishment is the only one in Thailand to use the technology. Authentication services begin at THB 2,500 per bag as a minimum fee.