The reason authentic Louis Vuitton products can cost several thousand dollars is simple: Its pieces are hand-made from the highest quality materials. Unfortunately, just like other high-end luxury brands Gucci and Prada, Louis Vuitton items have also fallen victim to counterfeit operations. The illegal selling and purchase of counterfeit luxury goods has become so serious that in 2006, Louis Vuitton partnered with the New York City government to tighten restrictions. Still, identifying authentic Louis Vuitton pieces can be tricky without a clear set of distinguishing guidelines.
Examine the stitching for color, quality and tightness. The thread of real Louis Vuitton leather goods, such as belts, handbags and luggage is a creamy, golden color, not brown or beige. The thread spacing on an authentic Louis Vuitton is uniform and perfectly straight, without gaps or loose threads. Counterfeit Louis Vuitton stitching is uneven, crooked or insecure at the ends.
Feel the exterior and interior of the leather good. Counterfeit manufacturers many use real leather or suede, but the appearance, quality and texture differs. Authentic Louis Vuitton leather goods are made from only the highest quality natural leather and feels soft, smooth and even. The leather on a fake feels rough, rubbery or bumpy.
Examine the embossed tag. Louis Vuitton embosses each item, belt and luggage with its company name and manufacturing location, such as Spain, USA, France, Germany or Italy. The embossed stamp of a real Louis Vuitton is straight, bold and easy to read. The stamp of a fake item is crooked, poorly embossed, difficult to read or made somewhere besides these locations.
Look at the exterior pattern. Real Louis Vuitton items are symmetrical in every way, including color, pattern and hardware position, making the two sides indistinguishable. On an authentic Louis Vuitton piece, the first and last shapes of a patterned row are identical. The color of these logos and shapes is a golden hue, not yellow or mustard. A fake Louis Vuitton item contains unsymmetrical seams or pattern lines, inconsistently colored designs or are colored a stilted version of yellow.
Open and close the zipper. Authentic Louis Vuitton zippers move securely and easily. A real Louis Vuitton zipper shouldn't stick or jam and should close the item completely without gaps in the material.
Notice the packaging and tags. Real Louis Vuitton packaging is luxurious and secure. Dust covers, intricately designed cases for sunglasses and Louis Vuitton tags throughout and inside the entire piece are standard. Fake Louis Vuitton items have blank tags, without the name or logo, and are often packaged in cheap plastic or tissue paper.
Examine the lettering on the inside of the sunglasses. Real Louis Vuitton sunglasses have centered, evenly stamped lettering, logo and signatures. The lettering, signatures and model stamp on fake Louis Vuitton sunglasses is often high, slanted or becomes faint due to uneven ink toward the end of the line.
Open and close the sunglasses. The real sunglasses should open and close smoothly, without feeling floppy or rickety. Fake Louis Vuitton sunglasses are made with single attachment screws, feel stiff or flap open easily to indicate poor quality.
Examine the pattern symmetry. On authentic Louis Vuitton sunglasses, the pattern-engraved metal strip over the lens is perfectly symmetrical, beginning and ending with the same design. Fake Louis Vuitton sunglasses display only partial shapes, unsymmetrical patterns or start and end with different shapes.
Some of the expensive counterfeit handbag models are quite convincing. Take the bag to a Louis Vuitton store or to another luxury accessories store such as Gucci or Christian Dior to ask the salesperson about its authenticity. The sales staff at high-end specialty stores are familiar with signature traits of other authentic luxury pieces and can tell you whether the piece appears real or fake.
Don't buy a Louis Vuitton bag off the street or through an online general merchandise store. The official Louis Vuitton website is the only online site that sells current, authentic models.
Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.