I have been getting lots of questions regarding real vs replica. I have found that the whole replica bag industry is huge. It seems that with every popular designer bag, there is a fake counterpart. There are even people out there who have fake bag parties, and yes, people buy those fake bags. The question is, how do you tell.
It seems that you can look up all sorts of factors that will let you know, but the best way is to become extremely familiar with the real. For instance, Louis Vuitton has several different styles and what may be true for one is not true for the other. Also, depending on the year the bag was made, it may have been made a certain way for that particular year. The point is, real bags change so much, due to counterfeiting, that chances are, you may have a real bag that has a different lining from another real bag or it may have been made someplace else than its real counterpart. The best way, however is to look at the quality of the bag.
Shiny gold, loud smelling fake leather, or poor stitching are all signs of a replica. If you look at a bag and every stitch is in place including the stitching around the interior tag, as opposed to glue on the interior tag, its real. With replicas, there is no attention to detail. There may be no stitching within hidden compartments or smaller handles. If your bag has a really loud smell, like a leather smell, but it is overbearing, it is a replica. Shiny gold that tarnishes is also a sign.
When buying online and companies are advertising real designer bags for less, most of the time, unless they are used, they are replicas. If you go on official sites, they will let you know, that they do not discount and they can only be purchased from authorized dealers like department stores or the actual designer store. For instance, you cannot buy a Louis Vuitton bag new for less than $200 online, and if you go on the Louis Vuitton site, it will state their authorized dealers.
At Swap Couture, we use people who work for the actual designer, the internet, and we go into the stores ourselves and compare. This is done with every bag to insure that the bags that are sent in by you, are real!