Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Shopping Pre-loved Louis Vuitton (Or Any Designer)

I love this print.
It was launched in 1896. Do you know why? 

The Damier (checked) print was so widely copied that the Louis Vuitton company created the iconic monogram print to combat counterfeits. 
It's a problem that still exists today.
I've been on Canal Street in New York City 
"No, I don't want a bag."  
The signature L.V. canvas is the most counterfeited design in history. For that reason shopping for used or pre-loved Louis Vuitton bags can be intimidating.

Why did I start collecting when so many fakes are floating around?
What if I think I'm getting authentic but get a fake instead?
The thought of that is kind of scary.
 The L.V. handbag comes in and out of popularity but for as long as I can remember I've admired it. 
I just love the antique and vintage look to it. 
There have been some (my husband included) that have questioned my spending so much on a bag. 
I counter that argument with the timelessness of this design. 
The Gucci bag that I longed for 35 years ago (and never got) is still in style today. 
How about the vintage all leather Coach?
My niece and I haggled for one at the GreenFlea flea market for her roommate.  

Iconic styles wax and wane in popularity but they will always be around.
I've told my husband that in the long run I'll save money because it will never be "out".
Did he buy that argument?
No but I had to try.

The price point was out of reach when I'd made the decision to make my first purchase so shopping for a second hand or "Pre-loved" bag was the only option available to me. 

I bought my first bag from a reputable re-seller in town.

She had gone out of business by the time I wanted a different style of bag so I headed to an auction site.
There are no outlets stores or seconds for Louis Vuitton and 
the company reportedly destroys anything that doesn't pass the standards of quality. 
All those 70% below retail sites for new bags are counterfeiters.

Before you commit to buy here are some steps to take. Touch and feel an authentic bag.
It has a very distinctive feel.
My friend Laura had one and I saw that thing everyday for the five years she worked for me.

Research the characteristics of the bag you desire.
Look at the L.V.s and qua-trefoils. 
For instance on the Petit Bucket there will be a certain number going across and down.

Observe the stitching. 
The yellow threads on the Vachetta leather are distinctive.
For example all tabs on a vintage pochette will have the same number of stitches going around the tab. 

If the Vachetta trim is still a very light color on an older bag it could mean the seller never had it out of her closet or it could be vinyl and therefore the bag is fake. 
Most of the fake bags don't turn that honey color. 

Look at the inside. 

The tags inside the bag are of a finer quality than a typical bag. 
The linings are consistent through out the years.
If the style bag you desire is still available new from Louis Vuitton you can visit that website to look at the distinctive characteristics of the interior and exterior of the bag.
Occasionally, the bag has been revamped by Louis Vuitton but it's easy to fact check that on an internet search.
The Neverfull, a new iconic bag, got revamped last year. 
Its remodel is commonly talked about on blogs and forums. 

You cannot rely on the fact that there is a serial number inside the bag or that original receipts, bags, boxes and authentication cards are included in a sale or auction. Those can be copied as well.
There should be many photos of the bag on the auction site. 
If there are only a few - walk away. 
Once you have seen a bag that looks authentic, check out the seller's feedback. 
If there is negative feedback and accusations of selling fake bags I will pass.

Study the Os in Louis and Vuitton. 
They are very rounded and distinctive. 
Most of the older counterfeits say "Made in France" but the fakers have even figured that out. You can easily do some research and find out which countries manufacture Louis Vuitton.
They are even made in the U.S. 

Finally, if you still aren't sure, there are authenticators that for a small fee will tell you if your bag is genuine. 
Make sure you have buyer's protection with any designer purchase. 
Don't let the thought of getting a fake deter you from an auction site.
I was able to return a fake Dooney and Bourke for a refund. 
Most reputable sellers do not want negative feedback.
With a little research you can find a great bag.
Linking with,
Savvy Southern Style 
Common Ground 
French Country Cottage


  1. Very interesting info Katie! I've never even considered buying any. This is a harder than I ever imagined process. You sure know your purses!

  2. I've never owned one of those bags. It's definitely good to know what to look for though if buying a used bag! I guess I'll just keep buying the non-designer bags for now.

  3. I am planning to buy a pre-loved LV bag but I am really afraid of buying fakes. It's sometimes hard to differentiate the real from the fake. Thanks for the effort in writing this. It's really helpful. :-)

  4. I quickly realized that these handbags were way out of my league and reluctantly bought my handbags at discount stores.