Is Your Louis Vuitton Handbag Authentic Or Fake?

Written by Pratima Ati

We have to give it to brands like Louis Vuitton – one, for creating legendary pieces, and two, for the efforts they put in to uniquely ratify their merchandise. Ironically, LV is one of the most counterfeited brands in the world. Counterfeiting is also so rampant because most of us (read #louisvuittonlovers and #louisvuittondreamers) cannot distinguish between a fake and an original. We are also oblivious to the fact that LVs never go on sale and other little details (like stolen or damaged products are not resold locally) that are supposed to make a product a Louis Vuitton (*cringes, and regrets all the shopping from Chinatown). Yes, I had no clue either and lived with that regret for a long time. There’s this and a lot more to know about ensuring you get an authentic Louis Vuitton. How, though? Read on to find out all about it.

How To Know If You Have An Authentic Louis Vuitton

There are some brand basics we need to know to save ourselves from embarrassment, if anything. You don’t have to be an authenticating agency to understand any of this. Here are four easy ways to if you have an authentic Louis Vuitton in a jiffy.

  • Material

Louis Vuitton uses the best materials of the finest quality, which is quite apparent. So, when you look at a bag and know that something is off, it must be. Trust your gut. If you are purchasing from an online retailer, it’s quite a tricky situation, so do not pay in full unless you get hold of the bag. Ask for more pictures. The signature materials are Monogram canvas, Damier Ebene, and Damier Azur, which are all perfect canvases for handbags because they are waterproof, durable, and can be cleaned easily. Louis Vuitton Empreinte leather was introduced in 2010, and was an instant hit. Monogram Vernis Leather, Electric Leather, Damier Carbon are all additions to the classics. So, if you are buying from a retailer and want to know if it is legit merchandise, ask these questions. You’d have your answer.

  • Hardware

Inspecting the hardware is the easiest way to figure out if a product is fake because you will know if the zipper, etc., are made of plastic or other fiber materials and coated with gold color. Plus, the brand name is embossed on it, which counterfeit editions fail to duplicate because they cannot achieve that kind of precision with the materials they use, and also don’t have the technology to do so. Also, Louis Vuitton uses hardware of the highest quality, which is invariably strong, heavy, and sturdy. Other details like the cut of the D-rings to fit the specific hardware that sits perfectly on the leather interlocks without allowing too much space for movement are unique characteristics of the brand and its bags.

  • Date Code

Dare codes are another unique feature of Louis Vuitton merchandise, and these are different from the serial number categorizing that most brands follow. The date codes are a rather new invention, and thus you won’t find date codes on vintage bags made before 1980.

The newest of its collection goes like this – two letters, followed by four digits. For example, FL2079 – where FL stands for the factory it was manufactured at in the United States; the first and 3rd numbers represent the week (25th week) it was manufactured, while the second and fourth numbers represent the year, which is 2009.

Before 2007, it used to be two letters followed by the month of manufacturing and year. The first and third letters represented the month, and the second and fourth represent the year. So, FA1102 would mean it was made in a factory in Switzerland, in October 2012.

The early 1980s – numbers preceded the letters – anywhere between three to four numbers followed by two letters. So, if the code goes 8211CA – it means that it was manufactured in November 1982 in a factory in Spain.

However, a lot of knockoffs might try and randomly replicate this information, so doubly check if the condition of the bag, the design, model, series, and hardware are all in sync. I know it might sound like too much work, but hey, if you are investing on these, and not walking into an LV store or dealer, you gotta do what you gotta do.

  • Stitches

Stitches on LV bags are even, regular, and consistent. Even at the crevices of the handle tabs, the number of stitches on the bag are exact on both the sides of the handles. If the finish of the stitches looks sloppy, count them on either side, and that will give you a clear picture.

Other interesting trivia – if you look closely, you can easily spot a fake.

  • The tail of the letter ‘L’ is short.
  • The letter ‘O’ is quite rounded.
  • The letters in “Ts” should be so close to each other that they look like they are touching each other.
  • LV bags are rumored to be made of vinyl, but they are not, it has to be pure leather.
  • Louis Vuitton original merchandise never goes on sale. So, unless they are pre-owned or from an older series being sold by a seller, do not trust the reduced prices. Even then, you need to authenticate the bag first.
  • Louis Vuitton is also known to burn all rejected merchandise, so be wary of that too.
  • The interior Louis Vuitton logo is embossed inside your handbag – it is clear, concise and nearly perfect. A lot of fake sellers are given away here.
  • Contrary to popular belief, LV bags have upside down symbols in some of their models – like Papillons, Speedy styles, etc.
  • Louis Vuitton bags are made with a single big canvas without seams anywhere, not even at the bottom of the bags. However, there are some pieces that are made of a separate canvas, and they have the upside down symbols.
  • Louis Vuitton bags, suitcases or any other merchandise do not come with tags like other brand products. They are slid into little pockets inside the bag.
  • Louis Vuitton bags are made in France, USA, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Spain.
  • Never trust a seller promising to sell the latest collection that has not been released. That’s a big red flag.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all LV bags have a serial number?

No, they have date codes. LV bags do not have serial numbers, and that is what puts them apart from a lot of brands, plus it is easy to identify a fake. They have date codes, which follow a nomenclature that cannot be messed with. The date code should be aligned with the ‘Made In (country)” tag. So, if the date code says SA (Italy), the tag cannot say Made in France or Spain.

What is the date code?

Date codes are unique manufacturing codes about products of brands. These help customers authenticate bags if they are not directly purchasing from Louis Vuitton stores or a very trusted reseller.

How can I authenticate a Louis Vuitton bag if I’m buying it online?

Ask your seller to share pictures, and a lot of them. Now that you know how to spot a fake Louis Vuitton, insist on their sharing photos of some of the most intricate details – usually, the stitches, the shade of the canvas, the embossing of the logo, handles, hardware, tag, logo or monogram. They are quite telling if you look closely. And, when your gut tells you that something is not right, it probably isn’t.

What if my Louis Vuitton bag does not have a date code?

Some of the older versions do not have date codes, and on some old materials, the date codes may have faded out, so, look for other details to validate it.

So you think all of this is too much to know? Well, you will be thankful someday. Try and get some of your basics right and do not fall for a fake. For, an LV addict knows a fake when she sees one. Have you ever fallen into a trap like this? Or, do you have any other authenticating hacks? Let us know by dropping in a text in the comment section below.

Banner Image Credits: Instagram

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After working in Marketing and Business Development for a few years, Pratima Ati jumped ship to pursue two things she loved – fashion and writing. She’s now a full-time Fashion & Lifestyle writer and has never looked back ever since. She sleeps early, reads often, and when she can't, she finally gives a closure to all the characters living in her drafts. Sometimes, they pass off as poetry too! That, and her training in Indian classical music and playing (learning) the veena keep her sane, civil, and bearable.