Fashion Law, Fashion Law Feature

Is your Birkin real?

How to tell if your designer purse is real 

Third in my series of fighting fakes is how to spot a fake Birkin. I am not an expert in deciphering if a Birkin is real or not and that is why I will only get them straight from Hermès; however, I constantly spot fakes. I don’t know if these people know that they are carrying counterfeits but I would be happy if I can stop one reader from being suckered into a fake.
Authentic Hermes birkins, Hermès orange and vert veronese in a faceoff
My Birkin faceoff
Buying a fake is unfashionable and far from a harmless crime. Contributing to counterfeits may promote child labor, terrorism, unsafe work conditions, hazardous materials, drug crimes, human trafficking, and higher pricing on legitimate goods.
Authentic 35cm Hermes birkins, Hermès orange and vert veronese green
These are authentic 35cm Birkins purchased at Hermès boutiques.  

How to spot a fake handbag

I know, I know: “it’s not a bag. It’s a Birkin”These babies keep value better than cars. Cars automatically lose value when you sign your name to buy and drive them off of the lot. Birkins can be sold after use at prices higher than purchase.

Counterfeit Birkins commonly have:

  • Handles that are longer than usual
  • Floppy handles
  • Leather sewn by machines
  • Bulges in the leather, particularly on the sides
  • Glue showing
  • Fake or cheap leather quality
  • Deeper stampings and engraved marks
  • Wrong accent stamped
  • Misaligned interior zipper tags
  • Plastic wrapped handles
  • Dust bags stitched badly or with poor stamping
  • Flimsy clochettes
  • Authenticity cards
  • Misaligned purse feet
  • False guarantees that an Hermès store will authenticate the handbag
  • Authenticity hang tags
  • Clochettes that are cut too long or not wide enough to fit the other end through it

Genuine Hermes 35cm Hermès orange birkin

Birkin bags go through quality inspection so irregular bags are not sold. There is no such thing as a window display discount. Do not expect to find these leather or exotic skins at Hermès’ private sales in the U.S. or the twice yearly sales in Paris.

Real Birkin specs:

  • Handles do not collapse
  • Impeccable stictching
  • Sizes in centimeters: 25, 30, 35, 40, 45
  • Hardware: silver palladium, 24k gold plated, ruthenium, and guilloche (for special orders)
  • Leathers: come in smooth or textured different varieties
    • Barenia
    • Box – smooth leather
    • Chamonix
    • Chevre – goat leather
    • Clemence – veined like Togo but softer (see my vert veronese/green above)
    • Epsom – stamped leather
    • Togo – Sturdy heavy leather, like clemence but hold shape better (see orange above)
  • Exotic skins
    • Aligator
    • Niloticus crocodile
    • Ostrich
    • Lizard
    • Porosus crocodile
  • Colors:
    • Along with the usual suspects each season brings about a new crew
    • Early retirement may happen to colors, but like Jay Z the colors come back for a round
  • Stamps: date stamp letters match the year made and the number is the craftman’s identification
  • They come with lock, key, booklet… what’s that? No, it is not a rain jacket. It is two rain jackets specially made for your birkin
  • Leather is not cured so your natural oils and other things may discolor it
  • These bags can be refurbished sent away to the Hermès spa for a facelift and chemical peel 😉
  • Price increases can occur more than once each year
  • Educate yourself: visit an Hermès boutique and familiarize yourself with the different leathers
Counterfeit Hermes exotic rare Birkin
This is a counterfeit being sold on instagram as authentic. 
It shows counterfeits may be dressed in Hermès twillies and have a structured frame.
These are other fakes by the same seller. I reported the account after snapping screenshots.
These are other fakes by the same seller. 
I reported the account after snapping screenshots. 

Hermès does not authenticate handbags. SAs do not like to offer the handbag for purchase unless they feel you have a respect or love of their leathers and goods. Hermès does not expect or want their products resold; they want you to purchase directly from them. If you do want authentication from the store you can try to send your bad to the spa or ask to get your initials stamped on the handbag closure. If the handbag is fake it will not be cleaned or stamped.

Do you have additional tips of how to tell if a bag is fake?

Hermes Birkin in original box and packaging
Keep in mind that not all counterfeits are created equal. Some counterfeits are actually made of leather and some people sell real dust bags and shopping bags, etc. So exercise caution when shopping and receiving a designer purchase. Someone might try to trick you or someone else buying you a gift may get tricked.

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