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Balenciaga

Here is a guide on how to spot a fake Balenciaga bag from luv2shop-hate2spend, an eBay community member.  These are the important things that you need to look for on a fake Balenciaga bag:

The Leather
One of the reasons Balenciaga handbags are so popular is because they are made from some of the softest, thinnest, and most lightweight leather available. Once you’ve touched a Balenciaga handbag, you will be instantly “hooked”! The leather is very thin, but extremely durable. The type of leather used by Balenciaga is a very distressed looking type of leather. Every bag has a unique appearance. You’ll find lines, wrinkles, folds and smooth spots all over the bag’s body. No two Balenciaga bags look identical.

Most of the fake bags are made from cheap leather, which has a shiny and stiff appearance to it. The leather on the fake bags looks more “cracked” than distressed.

fake-twiggy-front
fake-twiggy-back
authentic-black-city-front
authentic-khaki-first-front
authentic-seafoam-twiggy-front
authentic-seafoam-twiggy-side-resized

Look closely at the fake bag’s appearance. See how shiny it is? An authentic Balenciaga bag doesn’t have this much shine to the bag. You’ll also notice that the bag’s material appears more “cracked” rather than distressed. Almost as if those lines were intentionally put there:

The leather on the fake bag is too even and structured. It looks the same all over the bag. An authentic Balenciaga will usually “collapse” when empty. This is because the leather is so thin and soft, whereas the fake bags tend to hold their shape even when they’re not stuffed.

Here is a close up comparing the leather of an authentic bag to the “leather” of a fake bag.

side-by-side-comparison-front-resized

side-by-side-comparison-back-resized

When you look at it this way, the differences in the appearance & texture of the leather, become much more apparent. You can actually see the stiffness & cracked appearance in the fake bag versus the soft and distressed look of the authentic.

The most obvious difference between most of the fake Balenciagas and the authentic Balenciaga is the leather. The Authentic’s is so soft that there’s no way the bag will stand upright unless it is very tightly stuffed. As I mentioned above, the authentic bags tend to collapse when you set them down, even when the bags have many things inside. It doesn’t take much inside of a fake Balenciaga bag in order for it to retain its shape.

The Tassels
The tassels that are connected to all of the zippers should be just as soft as the bag’s leather. They should hang loosely, and feel like velvet in your hands. The tassels on most fake bags are stiff and hard, and do not hang loosely.

The Hardware
The hardware on the fake bag is too silver & shiny. The hardware on an authentic bag is either brass or “dirty” silver. See the tonal differences in the authentic bag?

authentic-balenciaga-ring
fake-balenciaga-ring
straps3

There are other differences also, if you look closely. See the hardware that connects the handles to the bag? On an authentic bag this hardware is rounder and wider, while the hardware on the fake bag is much more narrow and longer. Also, the studs on the bag. The studs on the fake bag have a very flat appearance to them and look as if they protrude from the bag. On an authentic bag, the hardware is three-dimensional and appears to “blend” with the bag. Also, the hardware on a fake bag is single-toned, meaning that it is only a single shade of silver (or brass). The hardware on an authentic bag is multi-tonal, and looks like different colors in different light.

Another thing to look at are the small rings on the zippers where the tassels are tied. There should be small rings on each of the zippers (the top zipper, the front zipper and the inner zipper pocket). All of these rings should be sealed or welded closed so that there are no gaps and/or spaces. Most of the fake bags (that I’ve seen) have small gaps where the ends of the ring meet. These rings are also made from a type of metal that cannot be easily bent and/or “pinched”, whereas the rings on the fake bags tend to be much to thin and can be easily bent or pinched together, or in some cases, easily fall off.

The Straps
The shoulder strap of an authentic bag should should be one solid piece with small openings at the ends where the hardware fits into. The leather on the shoulder strap of most fake bags are folded over the hardware and wrapped around it, creating a double layer of leather. The hardware at the ends should have a rounded, curved appearance to it, while most of the fake bags have more of a squared appearance to this hardware. There should also be a small eye hook that connects the hardware together. The tip of the eye hook should have a flat head and should be pushed up through the corkscrew shaped hardware. It should not stop just below it, as it does on most of the fake bags. The detachable shoulder strap is almost always connected to the bag, it is also never wrapped in plastic (or bubble wrap) and tucked inside the bag.

strap1straps2

The Zipper
As I’m sure most of you know, authentic Balenciaga bags are made with Lampo zippers. The thing that most people don’t know is that Lampo makes two different types of zippers. An authentic Balenciaga should have the type of Lampo zipper that is written in italics with a line underneath which extends from the bottom of the “L” and the TM symbol in the upper right corner. The other type of Lampo zipper, which is printed in uneven, capital letters is NOT the type of the zipper that should be found on an authentic Balenciaga bag. The word “Lampo” should be embossed on the zipper (printed in raised letters), whereas most of the fake bags have the word “Lampo” engraved into the zipper. Please be aware, however, that there are many fake bags with authentic Lampo zippers. YOU CANNOT TELL IF A BAG IS AUTHENTIC BY LOOKING AT THE ZIPPER ALONE!!
authentic-balenciaga-zipper
fake-balenciaga-zipper

The Handles
The handles are weaved, or braided with leather. Balenciaga calls it “sueded leather”, which has a raw appearance to it and looks more like rope or a shoelace. It shouldn’t be finished leather, coated or protected. The following picture shows the difference in the braiding on an authentic bag and a fake one. See how the braiding on the fake bag looks like it has a protective coating over it:

balenciaga-handle-comparison

The Tags
The Classique (small), the City Classique (medium) and the Voyage (weekender) should all have a leather tag with a silver plate on the front side. The Office Bag (large) and Boston Twiggy should just have leather tags with no silver plate (some older Twiggy bags had silver plates, but this was changed in 2004). Most of the numbers should be the SAME on every bag in one style. The only number that is different is the first number on the top of the silver plate (the one that starts with “No.”). The number 103208 is the model number of the Classique (small) and should appear on the bottom of the silver plate and should be the first set of numbers on the back of the leather tag, followed by the numbers 213048. The model number of the City Classique (medium) is 115748 and should be found on the bottom of the silver plate and should be the first set of numbers on the backside of the leather tag, followed by the numbers 3444. The model number of the Voyage (weekender) is 110506 and should be found on the bottom of the silver plate and should be the first set of numbers on the backside of the leather tag, followed by the numbers 213048. The model number of the Twiggy bag is 128523 and should be the first set of numbers on the backside of the leather tag, followed by the numbers 3444. The model number of the Office Bag is 132110, followed by the numbers 1669. All of these numbers should be found on all authentic bags for the current season. Many fake bags have one set of numbers on the silver plate, with another bag’s model number on the backside of the leather tag. The numbers and “made in italy” should be evenly centered on the backside of the tag. On many of the fake bags, these numbers are printed too high on the tag, or sometimes printed unevenly. The pics below show the tags from an authentic Classique and a fake Classique. You’ll notice that numbers on the backside of the tag inside the fake bag are the numbers that should appear on the tag of a Twiggy bag!

authentic-balenciaga-tagfake-balenciaga-tag

The Cosmetic Mirror
When purchasing a brand new Balenciaga bag from an authorized retailer, the cosmetic mirror that is included with the bag comes tied around the rear handle of the bag so that it hangs. It does NOT come wrapped in platic (or worse, bubble wrap!).

The Extras
You may notice that many of the bags that you find listed, will include all the “extras” wrapped in plastic. The only item that comes with an authentic Balenciaga bag that is wrapped in plastic are the extra tassels, that are included with every bag. While I’m sure it’s always POSSIBLE that a seller might wrap the accessories for protection during shipping, this is not how brand new bags are normally sold and is another way that may help you determine if the bag is fake (but again, you should not rely on this alone).

A few other things you should do when considering placing a bid on one of the Balenciaga bags listed on ebay,
(1) Contact the seller and ask them when and where they originally purchased the bag. This shouldn’t be a big secret. There are only a handful of retail locations that are authorized to sell authentic Balenciaga handbags. Many of the online sites that are selling bags with the Balenciaga name, are actually selling fake bags. (The fake Black Twiggy bag pictured above was purchased for more than $1100 from one of these sites!) You can usually tell that these bags are not authentic because either the colors are wrong, or they have way too many available. There are waiting lists that are months long at most authorized retail locations. It’s impossible for any retailer to have as many of these bags available for immediate shipment as some of these websites have.

(2) Familiarize yourself with the names of the styles, the colors and when they were released. Only a handful of colors are produced each season, and they are almost always “retired” at the end of each season. The only colors that are continuously produced are black and white. Red is an older color from approx 2 yrs ago, so if a seller has a brand new red bag which they claim they just bought, chances are it is not an authentic Balenciaga bag. You can get a list of the current colors from any authorized Balenciaga retailer.

(3) Know your seller. Check their feedback. How many Balenciaga bags has this seller sold? Do they have a continuous inventory of these bags, as well as other designer bags. Do they have more than 2 or 3 black bags currently available? Black is the most popular color and the hardest to find. It would be next to impossible for any ebay seller to have more than 2 or 3 black bags available for bidding.

(4) Unless the bag has been previously used, it is IMPOSSIBLE to purchase an authentic Balenciaga bag for less than its retail price. At its current price, with sales tax, the lowest possible price to buy a brand new authentic Balenciaga handbag (in the US) is approx. $1000. If a seller has a brand new bag that they’re selling for much less than this, chances are, the bag is not authentic. You know the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not.”

Special thanks to luv2shop-hate2spend, an eBay community member, for taking the time to write such a comprehensive guide on Balenciaga bags.

Please report any counterfeit item on eBay HERE to protect other buyers from fraud. Let’s look out for each other and make our eBay shopping experience more pleasant.

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