As counterfeit goods spawn quicker than bedbugs in heat, their quality is improving to a likewise frightening degree. Coupled with all the sales of these things on the Internet, on sites like eBay and other very convincing operations run by counterfeiters, it's getting pretty difficult for even fashion savvy consumers to tell the fake rags from the real bags. The counterfeit purses come with what seems like good-quality leather, authentic-looking tags, and very accurate metal hardware. Women all over the city are increasingly duped by what they think are real bags being sold second-hand for an astounding bargain.
Take Karineh Gurjian-Angelo, a photographer whose work includes accessories shoots and has shot many high-end purses. She bought an Yves Saint Laurent handbag on eBay for $300. She wasn't convinced it was real when she bought it, but she was convinced it was real when it arrived with pretty YSL tags. Eventually the bag's handle broke, and she took it to a YSL store to have it fixed.
Instead of repairing it, the sales associate told her it was fake.
He pointed out all the subtle ways he could tell it wasn't authentic, including the bag's improper lining and lack of embossing on the bottom. She was mortified.
"I felt like I was back in school in the principal's office," said Ms. Gurjian-Angelo...
There is also fashion student-slash-fashion blogger Vickie Laliotis, who bought a vintage Chanel bag from her local second-hand shop. She examined it, determined it was real because of the logo and hardware, and bought it for $100.
"I figured, well, why would they make a fake out of such nice leather?" said the 27-year-old, who lives in Victoria, British Columbia.
Later, Ms. Laliotis deduced from the lining and other markings that her purchase was a fake. She tucked it away in her closet. "I couldn't wear it. I just feel like a fraud," she said.
The Wall Street Journal offers some guidelines for determining if your second-hand handbag is fake or real. Brands say the only way to ensure you have an authentic product is to buy it firsthand from either their stores or an authorized retailer. In other words, you'll know your bag is real if you have enough money to buy it full price instead of being a big cheapo about it.