How to Identify Authentic Louis Vuitton Bags
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 most. Louis Vuitton bags have a number of key authenticity indicators that include date codes, materials, and craftsmanship. This guide was designed to give a brief overview of all of them. As with any authenticity guidelines, there are always exceptions, but here are some key points to look at when determining whether or not your Louis Vuitton bag is real.
Louis Vuitton Date CodesThe date code is one of the first inspection points for determining a bag's authenticity. Newer date codes typically have two letters followed by four numbers. The letters are called a factory code and correspond with where the item was made. The numbers indicate when the piece was made. 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. If you're curious, our blog post How You Can Know The Difference Between Louis Vuitton Date Codes and Model Numbers has more information.
Correct Logos and Embossing on Exterior MaterialsThe most popular Louis Vuitton materials are Monogram canvas, Damier canvas, Epi leather, and Monogram Vernis leather. Here are some 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
Monogram Canvas MotifsThere 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. 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.
Correct Leather Trademark StampsLeather trademark stamps are those that feature the ® 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 above 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. For more information, see the Correct Hardware Stamps section below.
Correct Hardware StampsWhen 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 StampsLike the leather stamping mentioned in the Correct Leather Trademark Stamps section above, authentic hardware should be clearly and evenly stamped. In the counterfeit example above right, the top zipper pull features deeper embossing than the bottom zipper pull.
Correct Hardware Trademark StampsMetal 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.
A Quick Note About Louis Vuitton HardwareThere 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 TrimThe 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.
Proper Louis Vuitton Interior MaterialsLouis 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. For example, Monogram and Damier canvas Speedy bags are lined with canvas. A non-canvas lining is a red flag and means that the bag needs further authenticity inspection. The Louis Vuitton photos on our store site are great resources for determining which linings correspond with specific bag styles.
Alcantara Microfiber LiningMade 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 nappy 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 TrimWhen 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. 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. If you have any authenticity questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
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