Spot a Fake Gucci (with Pictures)
How to Check if a Gucci Handbag is AuthenticTweet
Do you suspect that someone you know is toting a fake Gucci monogram bag? Are you afraid that the ‘unbelievable deal’ you got on eBay is actually a counterfeit? Well, you are not alone. Following the success our feature on how to spot a fake Prada, we have received over a hundred emails from our members, all asking this: How do you know a Gucci bag is real?
In an age when even the serial numbers can be faked, the only way to tell if a designer bag is real is to closely inspect its details. The best way to check if your monogram bag is authentic is to compare it to these high-resolution pictures of real Gucci handbags, all straight from the brand’s official website and magnified for clarity. These official images will allow you to easily spot the differences between a good fake and the genuine article. We will be using some of Gucci’s most copied monogram bags as references: the Rania Top Handle GG Canvas Bag, the Joy GG Supreme Canvas Bag, and the Gucci Nice Microgussima Tote.
You probably already know all the obvious red flags that indicate a bag is a fake—wrong spelling of the logo, shoddy materials, and the like. We will not discuss those anymore. Instead, we will focus on the details that differentiate an authentic Gucci purse from a very good fake. Here are the factors to examine:
Most Gucci bags use leather zipper pulls in the same color as the leather trims. This is always true. You will never find a leather zipper pull in a contrasting color. Also, the cut of the pull should be perfect; the length between the stitching and the edge of the pull should be the same all the way around. Anything sloppy indicates a fake.
If the zipper is metal, then ‘Gucci’ should be engraved on it. This is a telltale sign of a real Gucci purse. This Boston bag features such a type of zipper.
The stitching should always be tight and even; there should absolutely be no missing stitches. Gucci typically uses threads that are the same color as the material. Below you will see that a light blue thread was used to stitch the light blue leather trim on the GG supreme canvas. If the thread does not match the material, you probably have a fake.
The only exception we have found so far is the Gucci Emily Chain bag in antique rose, which features contrast stitching. For most other handbags, though, the thread is the same color as the trim. This is one of the details that let you know a Gucci bag is real.
There is a myth that on authentic Gucci bags, the monograms ‘line up’ when stitched together. To check, we looked at multiple official-display bags and found out that this is not true. As you can see from this picture of the right side of a Gucci Nice Microgussima Tote, the small GGs do not necessarily line up at the seam. (This image is from the official Gucci website.)
Authenticating the Gucci lining can be very tricky. The material used and even the number of inside pockets vary depending on the factory of manufacture, at least according to The Purse Blog Forum, members of which contacted representatives from Gucci. This explains the inconsistencies in the lining of authentic bags. Newer monogram handbags from Gucci now use natural cotton linen lining. Unfortunately, this makes them much easier to replicate.
Still, some standards never change. For example, the color of the lining always matches the dominant color of the bag, especially in older bags that used monogram or ‘crest’ lining. This is a very important detail. You will never see a black lining in a brown bag; if the exterior is brown, the lining is brown. If the exterior is black, the lining is black. Even for difficult colors like turquoise or gold, Gucci uses a matching lining.
Here is an image of a Bridle Medium Tote uses a cotton jacquard lining with Gucci’s ‘crest’ pattern.
Most of the hardware used on authentic bags are engraved ‘Gucci,’ from the closures to the magnets, the rings attaching the handles to the body, the hooks, the bottom feet, and even snap hooks (found on adjustable straps). Replicas use shabby metals that rust in just a few months. Real Gucci hardware lasts decades. The photo below shows the hardware on a Joy GG Supreme Canvas Bag.
Note that the spur detail on the Nice Guccissima is NOT engraved. However, this particular bag has a very special detail: it has equestrian-inspired numbered holes on the handles.
Alongside Louis Vuitton, Gucci is one of the most counterfeited bags today, and it is easy to see why. The logo bequeaths instant status. The urge to carry this status item on the cheap has also risen; after all, not everyone is willing to pay $$$$ for a bag. So coveted are these fake arm candies that sadly, the United States is now the second-largest consumer of imitation luxury goods in the world.
If you cannot afford a real Gucci, do not buy a fake. There are many other bags with a similar style and within your price range. Carrying a fake does not just make you look tacky—it also tells the world that you are willing to support sweatshops and unfair labor practices just to feed your aspirations for a status symbol. If Gucci really is your dream bag and you are willing to save up for it, wait for sales and markdowns. We continue to monitor trusted retailers for Gucci discounts, and if you sign up to become a member (free), you can get first dibs once your favorite bags go on sale.
*All images are from the official Gucci website and have been magnified for clarity.
Published March 20, 2013
"In an age of very good fakes when even the serial numbers and so-called 'authenticity cards' can be copied, the only way to tell if a Gucci bag is real is to closely inspect its details."