Coach handbags are some of the most sought-after accessories in the fashion world. Unfortunately, since imitation is the best form of flattery, counterfeits of these items have risen in popularity right alongside the brand itself. While Coach won’t hand over information on how to tell the difference between real and fake handbags, you can still definitely look for clues yourself.
To ensure you are in possession of a real Coach item always buy it from a reputable source. While the Coach website does not offer information on distinguishing counterfeit items from real–because of the help it would provide counterfeiters—it strongly suggests you buy any Coach product from a licensed Coach outlet: 1) Coach stores; 2) Coach factory stores; 3) direct Coach catalog sales; 4) authorized department stores; 5) authorized specialty stores; 6) limited duty-free locations; 7) corporate accounts; and 8) coach.com
Authentic Coach Details
Examine the bag closely for the distinctive Coach logo. It should be a double C pattern with the second C inverted, like a mirror image. Many times counterfeits use Cs in a CC pattern or another letter altogether, like Os or Gs. The logo should be totally symmetrical.
The credo patch is the leather tag stitched onto the inside of all Coach purses. Unless your Coach handbag is vintage, in which case this detail is not mandatory, it will have this patch sewn not glued or clipped onto the inside of the bag and will be stamped with the four- or five-digit serial number specific to that bag.
Quality of Construction
A seam that begins on the front of the bag and continues on the back will line up perfectly on a Coach bag. Poor stitching is a sign of an inferior product. Also, the Coach logo, if present, should remain unbroken on either side of that seam. The Cs that meet at the center seam should align.
Check the zippers. All Coach handbags use YKK zippers. They are a higher quality zipper. The pull, or handle of the actual zipper, is never a typical zipper (like on a pair of jeans). It is usually a metal chain or chains.
Problems With Fakes
Counterfeit Coach bags will not be made of high quality leather. You may also notice dents, discoloration, scratches, rips or tears—any of these signal cheaper quality materials.
Check the lining of the bag. The seams should be taut; the liner of fake bags may overlap and reveal poor stitching. Craftsmanship is impossible to impersonate. If your Coach bag has the Coach pattern on the outside, then the inside lining of the bag will not include the pattern. The opposite is true as well. Coach never puts its logo pattern both on the outside and inside of its handbags. However, a counterfeit product would.
Even though it is an American company, Coach does produce some of its handbags in China. A made-in-China tag doesn’t mean it’s a fake. However, Coach does not make bags in Korea or Thailand, so if yours bears the name of either, it’s likely not the real thing.
References and ResourcesCoach: Reporting Counterfeits
eBay: Detect Authentic Coach vs. Fake Coach
American Chronicle: How to Spot Fake Coach Handbags