How to spot a fake

Ever nabbed a bargain too good to be true? An expert reveals how to tell whether you’ve got your mitts on the real thing

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Ever nabbed a bargain too good to be true? It might have been just that. Winnie Lee, founder and buyer at Vintage Heirloom and designer bag expert, reveals how to tell whether you’ve got your mitts on the real thing.

Many high-end designers suffer from issues with rip-off merchants making counterfeit copies of their products to sell on the black market. Consumers wind up being ripped off, while brands can suffer a serious knock to their reputation. Then there are the issues of child labour and human trafficking, which often go hand-in-hand with counterfeiting enterprises. Often, to the untrained eye, it’s incredibly hard to spot the difference between the real thing and a knock-off, but Winnie Lee, founder and buyer at Vintage Heirloom, an online store that specialises in vintage designer purses, bags and luggage, has made it her mission to help shoppers keep the wool from being pulled over their eyes. ‘There is no one single way to authenticate a luxury designer product – but there are many things to look for when you’re authenticating,’ she explains. Although most are visibly poorer quality, Winnie admits you may find one that is a good copy of an original product. ‘In our experience, even good replicas cut corners on one or more areas during construction,’ she adds. Here, Winnie uses the example of a Chanel 2.55 bag to guide you on your next shopping trip.
Vintage Heirloom ships worldwide. www.vintageheirloom.com (+44 207 251 8113).

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