How to Authenticate an LV Bag

By Rebekah Brooks

Louis Vuitton bags are expensive designer bags coveted by many people. Due to high demand and high prices, many counterfeits and fakes are sold on the Internet, in secondhand stores and on the street. The trick to spotting a fake bag is all in the details. Fake bags have flaws, defects and minor tell-tale signs that most people wouldn't notice. Knowing what details to look for will prevent you from getting duped into buying a fake bag.

Louis Vuitton bags have distinctive details that can be used to authenticate them.

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Date Codes

Step 1

Look for a date code. Louis Vuitton started putting date codes on its products in the early 1980s to help categorize its products. The location of date codes varies among the different bag styles. They are three to six characters long, usually numbers but sometimes letters, that indicate the country the bag was made in and the date it was made.

Step 2

Verify the year on the date code. If there are two letters at the beginning or end of the code, or no letters at all, and the first two numbers are between 80 and 89, then the bag was made in the 1980s. If the first two characters in the code are letters but the first two numbers are not between 80 and 89, then the second number should be a 9, 0 or 1, which indicates it was made between 1990 and 2011.

Step 3

Verify the last number in the date code is a 3 or 4 or higher if the bag has a multicolored print. Louis Vuitton first released multicolored bags in 2003 and 2004, so if a multicolor bag has an earlier date, it is probably fake. The bag may be authentic if the second number and last number are both 1, because that indicates the bag was made in 2011.

Construction and Materials

Step 4

Examine the stitching of the bag. Designer bags are meticulously stitched and shouldn't have any signs of mistakes in the stitching. Messy, sloppy or inconsistent stitching indicates the bag was not made by the designer's company and is most likely counterfeit.

Step 5

Examine the material that the bag is made from. Designers use high-quality materials, such as leather, that generally contain no flaws or defects. Synthetic material indicates a fake product. If the bag is made of leather that is stiff, faded or flawed, it is probably fake.

Step 6

Read the label. Labels inside fake bags often have misspellings, awkward wording and vague descriptions of material content. The labels are sometimes cheaply made and poorly sewn onto the bag.

Step 7

Check the quality of the print. The print on Louis Vuitton bags is made up of small LV initials in rows and lines. The print on fake bags will often have uneven rows with letters partially obscured by seams. An authentic bag will have even, symmetrical rows that line up on all sides of the bag, and every initial is usually visible.

Step 8

Count the number of colors on a multicolored print bag. Multicolored Louis Vuitton bags have 33 colors. If the bag has fewer colors than that and some of the colors are faded, the bag is most likely fake.