Monday, June 2, 2014

Designer Knockoffs: Don't Be Duped!

With the internet, it is easier than ever to get great deals on designer brands. This is especially true when buying second hand. But it is important to remember, just because it is on a well known auction site, doesn't mean that it is automatically authentic.

Online auction sites can sometimes be flooded with designer knockoffs. I myself have been duped with a counterfeit Rebecca Taylor dress that I purchased off a well known auction site, a while back. I bet y'all can guess which site I'm talking about. For those who don't, here is a hint. The site rhymes with "Sheebay".

I eventually realized the dress was a fake when I was one day looking at the fabric / care tag. The label said the dress had to be turned inside out for cleaning, to prevent damage to the beading. The only problem is, the dress didn't have any beading and never did.

With a mismatched label, I then new that my beautiful Rebecca Taylor sundress was indeed a fake. By that point, too much time had passed and I couldn't file a complaint against the seller. $100 down the drain. What was most surprising is that the seller had 100% positive feedback. But that is why I'm writing this article. To warn you guys and provide some useful tips to spotting fakes.

Tips to Identifying a Possible Designer Knockoff

Designer fakes typically occurs with the more expensive and popular brands, but not always. I once stumbled across a dress by Bebe that was, without a doubt, fake. I've even heard of buyers stumbling across fake A&F! Do these sellers have no shame?

Although, it may be difficult to determine the absolute authenticity of a garment, I have listed some helpful tips and tricks to look out for when shopping online. This should help greatly reduce your chances of getting duped by a designer dud.

Examine the Designer Label

Designer fakes are sometimes pretty easy to spot. You just have to do your homework and examine both the label and the care instruction tag.

There are pages around the web dedicated to spotting fakes for particular designers. For example, this page gives extensive detail on identifying true Diane Von Furstenberg dresses.

And this Juicy Couture Buying Guide shows pictures of a fake vs real designer label.

See the differences? What makes the process tricky is designers often change of the look of their labels. It can vary by appearance depending on the garment and the year so one year the juicy couture label could be orange, the next it could be green or purple.

All designer labels have different key identifying marks so do a google search on the brand you are wanting to buy. Knowing what the designer label should look like will definitely help narrow down the chances of getting a knockoff / designer dud. Unfortunately, there are not always guides available. In that case just use your best judgement. Misspellings on the tags are a definite giveaway.

An Ebay Buying Guide search engine is also available. Simply type in the designer brand you want to identify.

New With Tags Doesn't Necessarily Mean Authentic

Just because the outfit has a store price tag attached, doesn't mean it is automatically legit. Counterfeiters have gone as far as printing off fake tags to make it look as though it is straight off the rack from Nordstrom, Saks etc. The newer the item appears to be, the bigger the profit.

Sloppy Seems and Polyester Posing as Silk

Look at the details of the garment. If the outfit has crooked seems and / or fabric that has a cheap polyester feel (especially if it's supposed to be silk), it is most likely a fake. This is because the quality of knockoffs  are almost always complete shit and bound to fall apart at the seems in a matter of weeks if not days.

Be Skeptical of Bulk Listings

Sellers who happens to have a several of the same designer garment, in multiple colors and sizes, are usually not a good sign. This is especially true if all the garments are all sized at 6 and below. This is because most designer knock offs are not made in sizes 8 and up.

Missing and Mismatched Labels

A lot of times (but not always), fakes will be missing the care label all together. But keep in mind, just because an outfit is missing the care label, doesn't mean it is automatically a fake.

Sometimes the label is cut out for aesthetic reasons (especially for sheer outfits) or simply just wears out and falls off in the wash. This is especially true with vintage pieces.

If the care label is intact, make sure it matches the garment. If the dress is supposed to be 100% Silk and dry clean only, make sure the care label says it. Don't be afraid to message the seller and request to see a photo of the "Fabric / Care Label".

Ebay has a strict policy against selling counterfeit merchandise, but sellers peddling knockoffs manage to still find ways to sneak through the cracks.

I myself refuse to use auction sites anymore, due to the countless listings for designer fakes that seem to be growing by the year. I instead shop at outlets like Gilt, Hautelook and Nordstrom Rack, for my deals.

But if you do decide to buy from an auction site, the best piece of advice to keep in mind is, "If a deal sounds to good to be true, it usually is". The seller has to make a profit, and if they are selling a designer piece at an incredibly low price, be skeptical. No one ever wants to end up with a designer dud.