Note: The photos in this post feature a real CHANEL Boy Bag on the left in all shots and a fake on the right
For this month’s article in collaboration with LOVEthatBAG‘s owner Alice and my resident bag guru, we’ll be focusing on her top tips for how to authenticate a CHANEL bag. These stunning bags top many a lust list and are truly a luxury item. They are also some of the priciest designer bags on the market with price increases occurring every few years. Since scooping up my first CHANEL bag a few years ago, a classic 2.55 flap bag, its retail price has naturally not stayed the same. However, from beautiful materials to impeccable construction, a CHANEL bag is a worthy wardrobe investment piece. Since many of CHANEL’s bag styles sell out quite quickly and wait lists do not always guarantee you your dream bag, many people turn to re-sale sites to scoop up their dream bag. This can also be a wonderful way to get introduced to the brand thanks to the option of buying vintage styles and pre-owned models. With this comes the need for you to be vigilant about what you are purchasing. Not every re-seller is as transparent and committed to authenticity as Alice. Some might knowingly be selling fakes, while others might not have done their due diligence before listing items. Thus, it’s in your best interest to always be vigilant when purchasing a designer bag from a third party. A fake bag represents so much more than the desire to save money on the buyer’s part. These bags are a violation of a brand’s intellectual property and many of the networks creating these fakes rely on dangerous and illegal labour sources like forced and child labour. The criminal networks that are closely associated with the production of fake designer goods have also been tied to human, drug, and arms trafficking and the funding of terrorism. Don’t just take my word for it, check out one of the many articles and reports detailing the ties here.
With that being said, check out my interview with Alice below to see just what you should be looking for when purchasing a CHANEL bag through a re-seller and check out her stunning (and constantly updated!) selection of CHANEL bags here.
Things to look for when authenticating a Chanel bag:
Chanel started using date codes in 1984. Since then every bag comes with a sticker with a serial number and corresponding authenticity card. Date code stickers can usually be found on the inside lining and will vary depending on the year the bag was made. A few things to note:
- The first number of a date code will indicate which year the bag was made in starting in 1984 with 0. Date codes starting with single digit number are seven digits long while date codes starting at 10 and up are eight digits long. A nine digit serial number is a clear indication of a fake.
- Over time date code stickers can become detached from the bag and authenticity cards can be lost, so don’t worry if either are missing.
- Authenticity cards have a gold border. The border of a fake card can be unevenly placed on the card and have a holographic / rainbow reflection.
- Date codes on newer bags will have a clear sticker with gold speckles placed over the number.
- Some authenticity cards will have a white circle in the top right hand corner. This indicates that the bag was made after 2005
Chanel “MADE IN” Stamp
Chanel “made in” stamps are usually embossed directly into the lining of the bag or on a leather patch. The colour of the logo stamp will always match the colour of the hardware, so a bag with gold hardware should have a gold stamp.
- Chanel bags are made in either Italy or France. Watch out for stamps that read “made in Paris.”
- Lettering in Chanel stamps is always clean and sharp. Beware of crooked or messy logos with blurred fonts and uneven spacing.
The CC logo is the most recognizable symbol of the brand, and thus good counterfeiters rarely make a mistake with it. However, always make sure that the right C overlaps the left at the top of the logo, and the left C overlaps the right at the bottom.
A good indication that your bag is fake is the type of screws used on the back of the turn lock. A real bag will never use a Phillips head screw (like on this fake.) Chanel typical uses Allen screws (like this real Boy bag) or flathead screws.
Chanel uses a very high stitch count in their classic diamond quilt which allows the bags to last for years. A low stitch count on a fake will make the quilting look puffy and uneven. Also be aware of sloppy or frayed stitching.
Chanel used 24k gold plating on their hardware up until 2008. Hardware on a real Chanel bag will feel heavier and more substantial than on a fake.
Chanel uses several different brands for their zippers whose names will be marked on the zipper pull, the most popular being Lampo but also include: YKK, EP, and zippers with the Chanel logo printed on them.
If it seems like it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Remember that an authentic bag will always use the highest quality leather and materials. If you are buying from a reputable seller, you should have nothing to worry about. Don’t be shy to ask for additional photos or even receipts if they can get ahold of them and use an authentication service. There are authenticators on PurseForum.com that may look at the photos for you.