With their massive popularity, Louis Vuitton bags have strong resale markets, which makes authenticity a huge topic. Over the years, we’ve received thousands of questions about authentication from our customers, so we designed this guide to answer the ones we hear the most.
Louis Vuitton bags have a number of key authenticity indicators that include date codes, materials, and craftsmanship. At Couture USA, our authenticators are heavily trained to authenticate Louis Vuitton and many other brands. This guide was designed to give a brief overview of each of those categories. As with any authenticity guideline, there are always exceptions, but here are some key points to look at when determining whether or not your Louis Vuitton bag is real.
Correct Logos and Embossing on Exterior Materials
Louis Vuitton currently has a variety of materials with hundreds of styles and color combinations. The most popular Louis Vuitton materials are Monogram canvas, Damier canvas, Epi leather, and Monogram Vernis leather. Here are a few key points to keep in mind about each:
Authentic Monogram canvas has the following symbols: interlocking LV initials, four-pointed stars, suns, and flowers
Authentic Damier check squares are uniform in size (approximately .65 inches each)
Authentic Epi leather items typically feature a lightly embossed LV in one corner
Authentic Monogram Vernis items usually have a slightly pearlescent shimmer
Touching and looking at these materials closely can also quickly determine the authenticity of a bag before you even take other factors into consideration. Counterfeit materials tend to have more variations in pattern alignment, color, texture, and weight. The product photos on our website are great resources for determining material authenticity.
Monogram Canvas Motifs
There are many misconceptions surrounding Monogram canvas. Although many people believe that LV logos are never cut off and that they’re never upside down, this isn’t true. The Speedy is the perfect example of an upside down logo, since it is made from one continuous piece of material.
Generally, LV logos won’t be cut off, but there are exceptions. The Ellipse, Croissant, Tulum, and Tivoli bags are examples of bags with cut-off logos along the edges because of the way these bags are designed.
As much as possible, Vuitton aligns Monogram canvas motifs on all four sides of a bag. In many cases, patterns will align horizontally, vertically, or diagonally depending on the bag style. Due to the manufacturing process, it’s not uncommon to see minor variations in alignment along seams and zipper lines. However, you should be able to count the LVs across and going down in order to match them with an authentic one every single time.
Correct Leather Trademark Stamps
Leather trademark stamps are those that feature the ® trademark symbol. On authentic stamps (like the one pictured below left), round “O” letters are the first inspection points. Vuitton “O”s should be perfect circles.
Counterfeit bags often have inconsistent leather trademark stamps. The counterfeit stamp on the above right uses a slightly different font than the authentic stamp on the left. On the counterfeit stamp, the embossing is inconsistent (especially on the ‘made in’ portion). The authentic stamp, however, is clear and even. Counterfeit stamping often varies in depth, clarity, size, and position.
Trademark stamps may vary slightly from year to year, and from factory to factory. Also, keep in mind that LV hardware stamping differs in appearance from leather stamping.
Correct Hardware Stamps
When it comes to hardware, the LV logo and trademark stamps appear on zipper pulls, logo plaques, and handle rings. The depth, size, and clarity of stamps are common inspection points when determining authenticity.
Correct Hardware Logo Stamps
Like the leather stamping mentioned in theCorrect Leather Trademark Stampssection, authentic hardware should be clearly and evenly stamped. In the counterfeit example, the top zipper pull features deeper embossing than the bottom zipper pull.
Correct Hardware Trademark Stamps
Metal trademark stamps feature slightly oblong rather than round “O”s. One example is the Inventeur plaque, pictured below. The machine marks on this authentic plaque are smooth and neatly finished, with no jagged edges. Counterfeit stampings will typically have machine marks within the letters and not be as smooth.
A Quick Note About Louis Vuitton Hardware
There is a popular myth that the finish on authentic Louis Vuitton hardware doesn’t chip, flake, or wear off. This simply isn’t true, as most modern day Vuitton hardware is made from plated metal. Padlocks are one of the few types of Vuitton hardware that are made from solid brass.
Well-Applied Glazing on Leather Handles and Trim
The glazing on the edges of authentic Louis Vuitton handles is always carefully and evenly applied. Counterfeit bags often have sloppy or uneven glazing. Glazing color can differ on counterfeit Louis Vuitton pieces as well, but the glazing should not be a vibrant red.
Proper Louis Vuitton Interior Materials
Louis Vuitton uses a variety of interior lining materials, depending on the bag style. The most popular are canvas, microfiber, cross-grain leather, and Vuittonite. One way to inspect authenticity is to see if the lining is correct for the bag style. Take into consideration that some styles of bags may have a different lining depending on the exterior material. For example a Monogram Neverfull will have a canvas lining, but an Epi Neverfull will have microfiber. A lining that doesn't correspond with the exterior material and style of the bag is a red flag and means that the bag needs further authenticity inspection.
The Louis Vuitton photos on our websiteare great resources for determining which linings correspond with specific bag styles.
Alcantara Microfiber Lining
Made especially for Vuitton, Alcantara microfiber is thick with a very plush feel. Its high quality sometimes makes it difficult to distinguish from suede.
Counterfeit Alcantara microfiber lining will typically feel much thinner than authentic microfiber. Many counterfeit microfiber materials will have a visibly thinner pile and/or a coarse surface like the example above.
It is common for counterfeit pieces attempting to mimic microfiber to have a low-quality pigskin suede lining. Low-quality suede is easily distinguished from microfiber by the visible pores in the suede material (as seen above).
Well-Stitched Seams, Zippers, and Trim
When evaluating authentic LV stitching, we are looking for proper stitch color, pattern, count, and alignment. Authentic Vuitton stitching isn’t always absolutely perfect, but it’s always well-crafted.
Generally, Louis Vuitton bags will have a high level of consistency, but its not uncommon to see slight variations depending on bag style or material. The counterfeit zipper above right has many glaring imperfections, including poorly cut leather, sloppy glazing, and uneven stitching.
Louis Vuitton Date Codes
The date code is one of the first main inspection points for determining a bag’s authenticity. Date codes will feature two letter and four numbers to indicate where and when the piece was made, however, vintage date codes will differ slightly depending on the year.
*Keep in mind that date code fonts have varied over the years, but the thin Sans-Serif font is the most common.
The letters in a date code are referred to as 'factory codes.' These codes are meant to correspond with the 'made in' stamps on a separate leather piece. When authenticating a Louis Vuitton piece, matching the factory code letters with the country listed on the 'made in' stamp is a good first step towards verifying a bag. For guidance on how to decipher Louis Vuitton date codes, check out our blog post A Quick Guide to Authentic Louis Vuitton Date Codes.
Keep in mind, date codes should not be confused with model numbers. A model number is typically printed on a separate small piece of paper, rather than stamped directly into an item. Model numbers indicate the item’s style name, not when and where it was made. Remember: Model numbers will never be found printed on a Louis Vuitton piece. If you’re curious, our blog post How You Can Know The Difference Between Louis Vuitton Date Codes and Model Numbershas more information.
Accurate authentication takes knowledge and practice. The best way to know that you’re getting an authentic Louis Vuitton is to educate yourself and know what you’re looking for. However, it is imperative to also remember that as the years go by there will be slight differences in the materials and craftsmanship of the items. Comparing your Louis to others will also help you determine if its real or fake. Although we only mentioned a few ways to tick off the authenticity checklist, there are still many other factors to consider and will vary from bag to bag.
There are several companies that do offer authentication services. Mypoupette, CarolDiva, and Authenticate4U are all reputable authentication companies who would be happy to review your item for a small fee. ***