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Because Nobody Likes a Faker

By Amalah

We’re doing something a little different this week for a variety of rather boring reasons (but mostly to accomodate for my spectacular laziness), and spreading the questions out over a few days instead of posting one massive novel-like column on Wednesdays. And yeah, I KNOW, it’s the Wednesday Advice Smackdown, but back in the old days it probably appeared on Thursday and Fridays WAAAAY more times than Wednesdays anyway, so really? Not very different after all

I couldn’t help but think of you, Amalah, and the horror you undoubtedly would have felt as I attended my first “Purse Party” yesterday. A woman came to my friend’s house and literally dumped bags full of knock-offs on the floor – Kate Spade, Coach, Prada, Chanel, etc.

I’ve seen bags that mimic brand styles that are obviously fake – instead of the “LV” logo there are different letters similarly styled – but these looked (to my untrained eye) legit. Sure, there were one or two with labels askew, but the majority were pretty nice. My question is this: how do they make these knock-offs and how can I tell the difference? I understand that you can sew any label on any bag, but there were bags with “Coach Established 1941” (I think) stamped in the leather. Some even came with storage bags!

You will be happy to know that I did not buy anything. There’s a Tori bag I’ve had my eye on since you featured it some time ago and I couldn’t see spending $60 I could be putting toward the real deal on a cheap imitation. Thanks for giving us the benefit of your experience!


Ah, the fake handbags. There are good fakes and bad fakes, but in the end, they are all fakes and not worth your handbag dollars. Back when I first moved to DC (many many years ago, when I was young and na

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Kelly Phillips

    October 11, 2006 at 11:48 am

    I have been invited to these parties before, and my manta is always, “I don’t buy fake stuff.” Period. I hate fake purses. I grew up in the time of the D & B craze when 8th graders(!!!) HAD to have a D & B. And the fakes were super obvious.
    I may not have gay-dar, but I’ve got purse-dar.

  • Laura

    October 11, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    I’d still be wary about the ebay powersellers. I bought a lacoste shirt and a ralph lauren pink pony shirt from a seller with thousands of +ve feedback and the shirts were definitely fake.
    Luckily I was able to return them…

  • BethanyWD

    October 11, 2006 at 4:48 pm

    One additional thing I’ve learned is the best way to safeguard yourself against fakes (but still get a good deal on e-bay) is to KNOW YOUR PRODUCT. Go to the high-end department stores and examine closely the Coach, Kate Spade or whatever bags. Know what the styles look like, the colors it comes in, what the sitching is like, etc. You’ll soon be able to tell the great craftsmanship of a quality handbag. That way you’ll have knowledge when you’re shopping for a deal on e-bay.

  • Meredith

    October 11, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    Looks like even my shopping temple Target got caught in the counterfit shennanigins:
    When I first heard about this, I was going to email you, Amalah, so you could let your legion of Coach fans that they would soon appear at local Targets, but then decided not to. Because 1) it didn’t even seem like they were selling at much of a discount and 2) part of the reason I love Target is they present the view that hip and inexpensive doesn’t have to equal crap and things of decent quality don’t have to cost a fortune. So why even sell Coach? When Isaac Mizrahi and Mossimo make such cute stuff? Does Target want to become the retailer that sells what everybody else has, but at half price?
    But I digress. For me, it’s another reason to stay away from trendy/overpriced brand names and to love thrift store shopping! (Yet, I love to read about YOUR Coach adoration – go figure.)

  • Kate

    October 12, 2006 at 6:03 pm

    Very informative, Amy! I was at a flea market this weekend and there were fake bags everywhere. I’ve never been much of a handbag girl, so I never buy expensive purses, but I would also never buy something with “Prada” glued to the front of it, because it looks so fake and tacky. A good fake, though, might make me reconsider.

  • Kate

    October 12, 2006 at 6:05 pm

    …Of course, after reading this and looking at the pictures, I totally want a Coach purse.

  • carrisa

    October 13, 2006 at 3:02 pm

    I fell victim on ebay to a fake Coach wallet. It was the first Coach wallet I had ever owned and I had no idea it was a fake.. even after I got it. It wasn’t until I won my second Coach wallet on ebay that I realized the first was a fake. The second was so much nicer than the first I couldn’t believe it. I never left feedback on the first wallet. And it was actually an accident. But a happy accident at that. I also believe that the seller didn’t realize it was a fake either since it was the only Coach item listed in their selling history and they were frequent sellers. So no harm no foul. I’m over it.
    Mostly because the real Coach wallet I got for $4.25 in a Coach mystery auction. And it’s a full sized checkbook wallet. So score one for me!
    And thanks to Amy, among a few others I’m now the proud owner of 4 REAL Coach purses and 1 one real Coach wallet. Because it was your own addiction/obsession with them that turned me on to them in the first place.