August 22nd, 2006, 06:41 PM #1
Marc Jacobs Handbag Counterfeit information
This is very valuable information for anyone who wants to spot a fake marc jacobs!
ABOUT MARC JACOBS
Marc Jacobs is still a relatively “newcomer” when it come to his own personal line of handbags. As the lead designer for Louis Vuitton for nearly a decade, his own line of bags has only been around for less than five years. During this time, his popularity has grown tremendously, as high profile celebrities such as Sofia Coppola, Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox-Arquette, Jennifer Garner and Reese Witherspoon (to name a few) are frequently seen carrying his latest and most popular designs. His bags have been featured on hit TV shows such as “Sex and the City”, “Friends”, Six Feet Under”, "Desperate Housewives" and the Academy Award nominated movie “Lost in Translation.” He frequently names his bags after personal friends and business associates, and models are willing to walk the catwalk displaying his latest creations for FREE!
As the popularity of Marc Jacobs handbags has grown, so have the number of copy-cat and replica bags by other designers. Many have tried to copy the silver padlocks, multi-pockets, and large O-ring designs, but none have been able to capture the beauty and intricate styling of a Marc Jacobs original. Much worse than the copy-cats, wannabees and the replicas, which are sold at retail and outlet stores legally, the number of counterfeit bags has grown tremendously over the last twelve months. When the first counterfeit Marc Jacobs bags were produced, they were made from “leatherette” (a man-made leather-like material), were stamped with an imprint of the Marc Jacobs name on the front of the bags, and didn’t include the silver nameplate and/or engraving. Most buyers recognized these bags as fakes, and mainly steered clear of them. A few sneaky sellers on ebay, took photos of these bags, using computer photo editing programs to remove the imprint stamping, and tried to pass the bags off as the real thing. Smart buyers knew enough to ask whether or not the bag had the actual nameplate and engravings of an MJ original, and when they were told that they did not; they avoided bidding on these bags.
One year later, MJ’s popularity has trippled, and the quality of the counterfeits are much better (or worse, depending how you look at it!). Most are made from inexpensive leathers, the hardware is engraved and they include the silver nameplate. It is now much harder for buyers to determine which bags on ebay are fake, and which ones are actually the designer’s originals. There are some obvious (and not so obvious) things to look for, and I’m here to point those things out to potential bidders, and anyone wanting to educate themselves a little more. You don't have to be an expert, or even know that much about Marc Jacobs bags to recognize which bags are real and which are fake. If you take the time to look closely and compare the bags with known authentic ones, it actually becomes much easier. The most important thing that you can do is educate yourself, and know what you're buying. A good rule of thumb when shopping for a designer handbag online is the following: IF ONLY ONE DETAIL OF A BAG IS INCORRECT AND/OR MISSING, THEN THAT HANDBAG IS NOT CONSIDERED AUTHENTIC AND IS NOT RECOGNIZED AS AN AUTHENTIC BAG BY THE DESIGNER!!
THE FIVE BASIC STYLES (a/k/a The "Classic" Collection)
There are five basic Marc Jacobs handbag styles, which are produced every season. These are usually referred to as the "Classic Collection." The main difference in these styles from season to season, are the colors. During the first two years of production, the Classic Bags were made with brass buckles & hardware and were lined with suede. Nickel-plated silver hardware and silver padlock pockets replaced the brass during the third season. Canvas linings replaced suede in the Classic Collection, although a few styles, produced exclusively each season as limited edition bags, were still lined with suede. Suede linings in the Classic bags made a comeback during the 2004 Fall/Winter line, and buyers now had choice of canvas or suede lining in most of the Classic styles. The 2004 Fall/Winter collection also produced a limited number of Classic bags with brass padlocks and hardware. A preview of the 2005 Spring/Summer line promises a comeback of brass buckles/hardware, as well as a few styles with silver buckles/hardware. The Marc Jacobs Classics are made of extremely soft Italian calf leather. Sometimes the texture is described as "buttery soft." The leather tends to have an "uneven" grain, giving every bag its own unique appearance. You'll never find two MJ bags exactly alike when it comes to the leather. Some bags may be smooth in areas and "rippled" or "grainy" in others. This is what makes each individual bag distinct in its appearance. The classics are NOT made of pebbled leather, but there have been fake bags produced using a pebbled finished leather. All of the zippers & hardware are engraved with Marc Jacobs’ name in a rounded, smooth lettering and include a nameplate inside the bag with the Designer's name. Marc Jacobs uses the "riri" brand of zippers on most of its bags, including all of the Classics. A few style are made with LAMPO zippers, with more styles being produced each season with these types of zippers. The name of zipper brand can be found on the backside, or underneath, on the part of the zipper that faces the inside of the bag. Many of the fake bags that have been found are made with the YKK brand of zippers. There have been a few fake stella bags with the riri marking, but this marking has appeared on the top part of the top zipper only & not the backside of ALL the zippers. Although some Marc Jacobs styles include a leather key fob & strap, they do not come with leather tags or a "sample" piece of the leather attached to the bag. This is usually a warning sign that the bag is fake.
The Marc Jacobs Classic Collection includes the “Stella”, “Sophia”, “Venetia”, “Multi-Pocket” (which is available in two sizes) and “Cammie” bags. The newest member of the Classic Collection is the "Blake" which was introduced during the 2004 Fall/Winter season. These bags are released every season in new colors. The only continuous colors are black, and more recently, white. In addition to the Classic Collection, new styles are released each season, in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most of these “Limited Edition” bags are lined with suede. All of the bags are released in approx 5-6 colors each season with names such as “Geranium”, “Honeydew”, “Berry”, “Cucumber”, “Petal Pink”, “Seafoam Blue”, "Bark", "Rose Quartz", etc. They're never referred to as simply blue, red, pink, green, etc. Occasionally, a new style produced for one season may be carried over into the following season (an example of this are the “Quinn” and “Anouck” bags – released during the Spring/Summer 2004 season, and carried over into the Fall/Winter 2004 season). The most commonly counterfeited styles are the Stella, Sophia, Multi-Pocket, Blake and the Venetia bags. However, there have also been several fake Quinn, Blake, Satchel and Anouck style bags.
STELLA – The Stella bag is the largest (and most popular) of the classic collection, measuring approx 15” across, 11” high and 4” deep. There are two front pockets with silver padlocks, a front zippered pocket, a full zip top opening which unhooks at one end to make an open-top tote (although this season saw the release of a zip-top opening which does NOT unhook), an inner zipper wall pocket, and double adjustable shoulder straps with large square buckles and belt loops.
Some of the differences in the fake stella bags are a boxier, square appearance (the edges should be slightly curved, giving the bottom a round appearance when laid flat), missing or incorrect colored top-stitching, and larger thick shoulder straps (the shoulder straps should be approx. 1.5” wide). On some of the fake bags, the front zippered pocket goes all the way from one end of the bag to the other, when the actual stella should have space between the ends of the front pocket and the ends of the bag. On the stella bag, the letters "riri" (representing the brand of zippers) can be found on the backside (the part that faces the inside of the bag) of ALL of the zippers (the top zipper, front pocket & inner pocket). The name of the brand ("riri") should also be stamped on both sides of the silver end piece which stays attached to the bag and hooks into the zipper pull (which means the stella bag has a total of FIVE riri markings). It has been reported that the brand of "YKK" zippers are used on most of the fake bags, however, there have recently been a few fake stella bags with the riri marking. These bags did not include all five markings, however, and the backside of the zippers were not marked with the proper size (please see section below on zippers for more information). Stella bags do NOT have leather tabs at the end of the top zipper. The zipper is flat and lies completely within the top "lip" of the bag. The shoulder straps on an authentic stella have squared ends, whereas many of the fake stella bags have triangular or pointy ends. Also, the hardware of a stella bag does not come wrapped in tissue paper and/or plastic, and the straps are NEVER sold detached from the bag & wrapped in plastic. (It is always possible that a seller may wrap the hardware to protect it during shipping, but the bags do not come like this from the manufacturer, as some sellers of fake bags state)
SOPHIA – The Sophia is a hobo shaped shoulder bag, and is sometimes referred to as “stella’s little sister.” The bag is approx 13” across, 9” high and 3” deep. There are two front pockets with silver padlocks, a front zippered pocket, a main center section with an inner magnetic snap closure, two outer zippered sections (one slightly higher on the bag than the other) and a single adjustable shoulder strap with large buckles on each end. All three zippers on a Sophia bag are riri zippers and the markings can be found on the backside, on the part that faces the inside of the bag.
The most common difference in the fake sophia is that the counterfeits tend to have one main section with a full zip-top opening instead of the three separate sections with the snap & two zippers. (During the first season, there were two bags which looked identical to the Sofia with a full zip top opening. One was called a hobo bag and the other was called the "Devon" bag. These bags had brass buckles & hardware and were lined with suede. They were only produced during the first season and were NEVER produced with the silver padlocks and hardware) There is NO inner zipper wall pocket inside the sophia, and the MADE IN ITALY label (see below) should be found inside the rear zippered section, with the silver nameplate inside the center snapped section. Some of the Sophia bags have rounded top-stitching around the outer zipper pocket with no end-tabs, although many others have end tabs similar to the stella bag. The type of stitching is color specific, and will be the same on every bag in a particular color. During earlier seasons, "Sophia" was spelled with an "f" instead of a "ph" (after Marc's personal friend, frequent muse & recent business partner, Sofia Coppola), but the name was frequently misspelled, even among sellers of authentic "Sofia" bags.
MULTI-POCKET BAG – The multi-pocket bag comes in two sizes. The smaller size is approx. 9” across, 8” high and 5” deep. The larger size is approx. 13” across, 12” high and 5” deep. Both bags have two front pockets with silver padlocks, a pocket on each end with silver padlocks, a full zip top opening, an inner zipper wall pocket and a single rolled leather shoulder strap which attaches to the bag with thick silver O-rings. Both the top zipper & the inner zippered pocket should have the riri markings. The difference between the two (besides their size) is that the larger bag has four silver feet on the bottom of the bag to protect it from dirt & damage.
Counterfeit multi-pocket bags are hard to spot, as there aren’t many obvious differences, but they are there if you take the time and look closely. Most of the fake multi-pocket bags sold on ebay come in shades of colors which were never produced by Marc Jacobs (the exception to this is the black bag, and then it becomes even more difficult to tell the difference). The top-stitching and/or lining are almost always the wrong color combination on the fake bags. I can't stress enough to compare the colors to authentic bags displayed on the Marc Jacobs or department store websites. The pockets may be smaller (or sometimes larger), and it seems that the smaller size is most often replicated. All four pockets should be the same size, but on some of the fake bags, the pockets on the ends are larger (taller) than the front pockets. The pockets on the end of an authentic multi-pocket should be more of a "triangular" shape - narrow at the top and wider at the bottom. The end pockets on some of the fake bags have more of a square shape. The flap of the pockets (the part that folds down over the top of the pocket) should be approx. 1/4 the size of the entire pocket. The flaps on the pockets of the fake bags are almost always much larger than they should be, sometimes covering nearly half of the pocket. One obvious sign of a fake bag is if the shoulder strap is flat leather. The shoulder strap on an authentic multi-pocket bag should be rolled leather, and the hardware should be thick, chunky & heavy. Another sign of a fake bag is the top-stitching on the pockets. As I describe later on, Marc Jacobs uses LOTS of top-stitching on all of his bags. The top-stitching really stands out on the multi-pocket bags. There should be a row of top-stitching around the outer edges of the pockets, as well as on the part of the pocket that attaches to the bag, making it look like there is a "double row" of top-stitching along the sides of the pockets. On some of the fake multi-pocket bags, the row of stitching where the pocket attaches to the bag is missing, so that you only see one row of stitching along the sides of the pockets. Also, the white top-stitching on the fake black bags is usually much lighter, thinner and less prominent than on the authentic bags. The white top-stitching on an authentic black bag should be heavy, thick & bright and should really stand out (detailed photos of this example can be found below under the heading "How to Spot a Fake"). The multi-pocket bag also uses the 'riri" brand of zippers, and you can usually find this marking on the part of the zipper which faces the inside of the bag.
VENETIA – The Venetia is a larger "doctor" shaped handbag with a slightly rounded top, considered by many to be the most sophisticated style of the Classic Collection. It measures approx 16” across, 12” high and 4” deep. There are two front pockets with silver padlocks, a full zip top closure which overhangs approx. halfway down each end of the bag, a wrap over strap (or belt) which has the illusion of wrapping itself all the way around the bag that hooks in front with a large silver buckle & slips through a belt loop, an inner zipper wall pocket, a "pouch" pocket which snaps closed with an open wall pocket directly behind the pouch pocket, double rolled leather carrying handles which connect to the bag with large silver O-rings, and five silver feet on the bottom of the bag to protect it from dirt and damage (one in each corner with one in the center). The silver Marc Jacobs nameplate should be attached to the flap of the inner "pouch" pocket and again, the top zipper & inner zipper should be riri zippers.
Fake Venetia bags are very hard to spot. But again, the differences are more obvious when you compare a fake bag to an authentic one. The wrap over strap on the fake bags may be slightly longer (or shorter) than it should be. The end of the strap should be even with the top edge of the front pockets and it should have a rounded, pointy end. The end of the strap should also slip through the belt loop, but on some of the fake bags I have seen, the belt loop is missing and the end of the strap is tucked into the decorative piece attached to the front of the bag. There should be a triangular piece of leather with top-stitching on each end of the bag at the ends of the zipper and a piece of leather (that looks like a brace) with two silver studs directly underneath the end of the strap on the front of the bag, with an identical piece of leather with studs on the backside of the bag. The carrying handles on the fake Venetias tend to be a little longer than the actual handles should be. The Venetia bag is more of a HAND bag, and the carrying handles are almost too short to hang on your shoulder. Sometimes fake Venetia bags do not have the inner "pouch" pocket, or if they do, they don't have the open wall pocket directly behind the pouch pocket. Fake Venetia bags may also place the silver nameplate on the inner zipper wall pocket instead of on the flap of the pouch pocket. Also, fake Venetia bags may only have four silver feet on the bottom of the bag when there should be five. Two very good examples of fake Venetia bags are shown below.
HOW TO SPOT A FAKE
I highly recommend that anyone considering buying an MARC JACOBS bag on ebay (or anywhere else) should first, find the same bag (in the same color if possible) on another website & pull up the photo to compare the differences. The MARC JACOBS website shows all the various styles and colors each season, with pictures of each and every bag. It is an excellent place to verify the correct style name and/or colors. In addition to the Marc Jacobs site, there are many other websites where you can find information and pictures of MJ bags, including the websites of the major department stores which carry MARC JACOBS bags (Nmn Mrcs, Sax, eLxry, Berg Good, Nt-a-Prtr, to name a few). Look at pix of the authentic bags & compare the colors, top-stitching, hardware placement & linings to the bag you are considering buying on ebay. Usually, once you compare the two bags side by side, the differences become obvious, and almost anyone can spot a fake bag. A very good way to do this is to save a photo of the bag you are considering buying to your computer. Once you find the same bag (or a similar bag) on another website, save that photo to your computer. Once both pix are saved, open both of them (at the same time), minimizing your screen so that both pix are visible on your screen at the same time. Compare the bags to each other. If the colors, top-stitching, and/or hardware do not match, the bag on ebay is most likely a fake. If you discover that the bag on ebay which you would like to buy is a fake, do not place a bid or contact the seller - REPORT THE LISTING TO EBAY IMMEDIATELY!
Nameplates & Made in Italy Statement – All Marc Jacobs handbags are made in Italy. If a Seller tells you that the bag is mass-produced in Spain or the Middle East (or any other country), it is more than likely a fake. Recently, there have been a few bags on ebay that include a sleeper bag that says "Marc Jacobs - Made in France." These are all fake bags. First of all, a Marc Jacobs sleeper bag is made of soft white cotton and has only the designer's name printed in black letters straight accross the front. Secondly, Marc Jacobs handbags are NOT made in France! One very simple way to tell if an MJ bag is authentic or fake is to ask about the MADE IN ITALY label. Many sellers claim that a nameplate inside of the bag authenticates the bag. THIS IS NOT TRUE! A silver nameplate alone does NOT mean that the bag is authentic. Almost all of the fake bags currently listed have silver nameplates inside. In addition to the Marc Jacobs nameplate, an authentic bag states that it has been MADE IN ITALY inside the bag. On bags lined w/canvas, this is usually printed on a leather label & is stitched to the inside of the inner zipper wall pocket (on the sophia, this label is inside the rear zippered section). The color of this label will vary from bag to bag, color to color, but is consistent in all bags in the same color (meaning, all "berry" bags will have the same colored label, and all "violet" bags will have the same colored label, etc). On bags that are lined w/suede, MADE IN ITALY is either stamped into the suede or on the leather "lip" somewhere along the top edge of the lining. On some of the newer bags lined with suede, MADE IN ITALY is engraved on the nameplate below the designer's name (described below). (*PLEASE NOTE* there was one style that I am aware of that was lined with suede and had a leather label inside the bag. The "Frankie" bag, produced during the S/S 2003 season, had a leather label inside the inner zipper wall pocket even though the bag was lined with suede. This is the only style that I am aware that had this unique type of Made in Italy label) If the Seller doesn’t include a photo of the MADE IN ITALY label, email them & ask them to locate it & send you a photo of it, or at least tell you where it is located. If they tell you the bag doesn’t have a MADE IN ITALY label, it is most likely a fake Marc Jacobs bag. Up until recently, none of the fake bags included a MADE IN ITALY label. However, as with all other MJ markings, this label is beginning to appear inside some of the fake bags. Some of them are obvious to spot (wrong color and/or size), but a few of them look authentic. When you look at a leather Made in Italy label, make sure that the lettering is the correct style and size and that it is evenly centered in the middle of the label. Look at the stitching that attaches the label to the bag - is it even and straight, or are the stitches uneven? Is the MADE IN ITALY statement very clear, or are the letters barely visable? If the bag is fake, there will be other differences also, so it's very important to look at the entire bag, and not just one of these points.
All authentic Marc Jacobs' bags have silver or brass nameplates attached to the inner zipper wall pocket inside the bag (with the exception of the Sophia, where it is attached to the inner wall of the center snapped section, and the Venetia, where it is attached to the flap of the inner "pouch" pocket). NONE of the bags ever produced by Marc Jacobs have leather labels inside the bag, stamped with his name. Although some of the newer styles (including the Selma and Carmen bags) are trimmed with leather around the inner zippered pockets AND nameplate, NONE of the bags in the Classic Collection (or any collection for that matter) are trimmed with leather and/or canvas around the inner zippered pocket. There have been several fake bags with white or black leather or canvas trim around the inner zipper wall pocket, which is incorrect for any style. If you see a bag with a leather inner label (w/MJ's name), leather or wide canvas trim around the inner zipper wall pocket, it is more than likely a FAKE bag, and you should NOT place a bid and report the listing immediately. Again, it is best to familiarize yourself with the details of the bag you are interested in purchasing. If you are looking to buy a Selma bag, then you would know this bag has leather trim inside the bag around the zippered pocket & nameplate. But if you're looking for a bag from the Classic Collection, you should know that none of these bags contain this type of leather trim inside the bag.
A new type of nameplate was introduced with the 2004 Fall/Winter line, and as new styles and/or colors are introduced each season, most of them are including this newer type of nameplate. This newer nameplate includes both MARC JACOBS' name and the MADE IN ITALY statement. When first introduced, this type of nameplate did not appear on every bag in a particular style or color, however. For example: the "Petrol Blue" "Kirsten" bag had this type of a nameplate, but the "Kirsten" bag in all other colors still had the "traditional" nameplate with MADE IN ITALY stamped into the leather "lip" along the top edge of the bag. This newer nameplate began appearing regularly inside most of the bags produced for the 2004 Resort line, including some of the classic styles, although some of the bags were still produced with the "traditional" nameplates. Once again, it is a good idea to familarize yourself with which type of nameplate should appear in the style/color of bag you are looking for.
Most of the earlier fake bags were stamped on the front with an imprint of MARC JACOBS' name. There are still some fake MARC JACOBS bags being produced like this. Again, this is incorrect and there have never been any authentic MARC JACOBS bags produced with his name stamped into the leather on the front of the bag. The "Guinevere" bag (orig released S/S 2005) does have the MARC JACOBS name stamped on the front of the bag, however, it is NOT on the body of the bag as most fake bags are. The MJ name is found on the leather piece that holds the bottom portion of the silver padlock. This "stamp" replaces the traditional engraving normally found on the silver padlock. To the best of my knowledge, the "Guinevere" is the only bag that contains this stamp. If you see a bag that is stamped on the body's front with MARC JACOBS' name, report the bag to ebay immediately!
Another way you can recognize a listing for a fake Marc Jacobs bag (without even looking at photos) is if the seller states that the bag has a Serial Number inside the bag. Marc Jacobs bags do NOT have serial numbers, date stamps or any other kind of numerical ID inside of the bags. The only kinds of identification labels found inside of a Marc Jacobs bag are the nameplate and the MADE IN ITALY label.
Top-Stitching, Colors and Linings – Another good way is to look at the bag's color, top stitching & lining combinations. Every season, new colors are released & they have distinct names. You can get a full listing of all the current colors available from the MARC JACOBS website. With the exception of "Black" and "White", the colors are never called simply “Pink”, “Blue” "Brown", etc. The colors are always the same, no matter when & where the bag is sold. Some sellers claim that there may be variances in the shades of color and/or stitching – this is FALSE! There may be variances in the texture and appearance of the leather, but the colors and/or top-stitching will be the same on every bag in that shade. Each color also has it’s own colored lining & top-stitching (for ex: Cucumber had pink stitching & lining, Petal Pink had darker pink stitching & lining, etc). Basic black is always available, but the color of the top-stitching and/or lining sometimes changes from season to season (one season black was lined w/pink, another season it was a greenish-yellowish color, this season it is a cream/beige). Currently, the white bags have gray top-stitching & lining. Most of the fake bags on ebay have top-stitching in the same color of the bag (for ex: white top-stitching on the white bags, pink top-stitching on the pink bags). I've also seen many fake bags produced in colors that were never an authentic Marc Jacobs color. Some sellers may come up with their own names, and claim it is an authentic shade. This is why it is so important to look up the bags on another web site before placing a bid.
When Marc Jacobs bags were originally produced, the bags were lined with a combination of suede, leather and canvas. After the first season, all bags were lined with suede. Canvas linings began replacing suede in the classic collection during the 2002/2003 seasons, while most of the Limited Edition styles were still lined with suede. Nearly all canvas lined bags were one solid shade, usually in contrast to the bag's leather, but for a short period of time, a pin-striped canvas lining could be found inside some of the bags. The pin-striped lining was short-lived, however, and solid colors returned the following season. During the Fall/Winter 2004 season, suede linings began reappearing in the classic collections, and canvas linings were discontinued. By the Spgin/Summer 2005 lines, all MJ bags were lined with suede. Monogrammed silk linings first appeared during the Fall/Winter 2005 line, but only in a few select styles. It remains to be seem if more bags will be made with silk linings. Most of the bags currently produced are still lined with suede.
In regards to the top-stitching, MJ uses lots of top-stitching on his bags. The end tabs of the front zippered pocket are stitched, as well as the belt loops that hold the adjustable shoulder straps. Most of the fake bags that I have seen do NOT have top-stitching in these places – this is another good determination that the bag is fake. Also, on all black bags with white top-stitching, the stitching should be very bright and thick and should really stand out on the bag. The stitching on the fake bags appears to be much thinner, lighter and faded. There should be top-stitching along the outer edges of all the bag's outside pockets, as well as along the part of the pocket that attaches to the bag, so that when the pocket is empty and lies flat against the bag, it appears to have two rows of top stitching along the sides of the pockets. Most of the fake bags do not appear to have top-stitching where the pockets attach to the bag, or this stitching is much thinner & lighter than the rest of the stitching, and therefore appear to have only one row of top-stitching along the edges. Also, the top edge of the silver padlocks found on most of the pockets should line up with the top row of stitching.
None of the Marc Jacobs bags have "cell phone" pockets inside. Most (if not all) bags have a zipper wall pocket on the rear inner wall. Some styles also have a "pouch" pocket on the opposite inner wall, which is shaped like an envelope (see photo above of authentic Venetia lining). This pocket has a flap that folds over the top and usually snaps closed (although some pouch pockets do not have snaps) with another open pocket directly behind the pouch pocket. If a seller describes a cell phone pocket inside of their bag (or any other kind of open wall pocket), chances are the bag that they are selling is a fake. Also, as mentioned above, the inner zippered pocket of the classic styles is not trimmed with leather. In fact, none of the classics have leather inside the bags at all (a few of the very early styles did have leather pockets, but this design has been discontinued for a number of seasons).
Non-Existent Styles – In the Spring/Summer 2004, Marc Jacobs introduced bags which have small, silver clasp-like padlocks w/adjustable buckles on the ends of the bag. These bags were carried over into the following seasons, when additional styles were created. Some of these bags are the "Quinn", "Large Pocket Shoulder", "Soft Body Satchel" and the "Pocket Tote." There has been a flood of fake Marc Jacobs bags on ebay with padlock pockets in these designs. All of the bags with these kinds of padlocks are made of buttery soft calf leather. They have suede linings and LAMPO zippers. Most of the fake bags in these designs are made of stiff, hard or pebbled leather. They are usually lined with dark cotton or canvas and/or have ykk zippers. Some of the fake bags offered on ebay have combined the styles of two entirely different bags, with "traditional" silver padlocks on the front pockets and the adjustable buckles on the ends. These are NOT authentic Marc Jacobs bags and there has never been a bag produced combining these two features. Many of the fake bags in these styles are available in colors which were never produced by Marc Jacobs. "Petal Pink" is a color from Spring/Summer 2003, BEFORE the bags with the clasp-like padlocks were introduced. These bags were never produced in "petal pink." Again, I recommend that you locate the style on another website & compare it to the bag you are considering on ebay. If you cannot locate the style and/or the color that the seller is showing on another website, it is more than likely a fake.
Hardware Engraving and Zippers – The engraving on the hardware is another way to tell, although this can be a little difficult. On some of the fake bags, the font (individual letters) has sharper edges & the letters appear a little more boxier, whereas the engraving on an authentic MJ bag is a rounded, smooth lettering. For ex: The "J" and the “s” in Jacobs look more like block letters on some of the fake bags, instead of having smooth, rounded bottoms, as they do on the authentic ones. The letters should be evenly spaced and all the same size, with the name evenly proportioned on the padlock. Sometimes the engraving on the fake bags appears "wider" with larger spaces between the letters, while on other fake bags, the letters appear more "smushed" together. Sometimes the letters aren't even the same size. But again, this is very difficult to tell & you can only see it if the Seller shows a photo of the hardware & the engraving up close. The name on the zipper pull should be engraved on only one of the egdes, and the name should start at the end of the pull and read down towards the bag. The zipper pulls on some of the fake bags have the designer's name engraved on both sides and the name is backwards (reading from the inside of the pull towards the outside). The name on the nameplate inside of the bag should be evenly engraved in the center of the plate. The letters are not large and the name should not cover the entire face of the plate. If the seller doesn’t show a photo of the hardware and/or engraving up close, don’t be afraid to ask. I do not recommend, however, that you determine a bag's authenticity based on the font alone. If the bag is a fake, there will likely be other differences in the bag's appearance.
As I mention above, many of the Marc Jacobs handbags, including all of the Classic Collection, are made with zippers produced by the Swiss company, riri. You can usually find the riri stamp on the bottom part of the zipper which faces in the inside of the bag. In addition to the name riri, the zipper is also marked with the zipper size. Since different sized zippers are used on each bag, the markings may be different from bag to bag, and even on the same bag. For example, the stella bag uses two different sizes of zippers. This means that the backside of two of the zippers should be identical (the top zipper & the front pocket), while the third zipper (inner zippered pocket) will have a different size marking from the other two. Some of the older bags, including older stella bags, did not include the zipper size on the largest of the zippers, but were marked with the word "SWISS" instead (the smaller zippers, however, did include the zipper size). Some of the soft body satchels (like the one Nicky Hilton is carrying in the photo above) and bags with the clasp-like pushlocks (Quinn, Lg Pocket Shoulder, Pocket Tote, etc) have zippers made by LAMPO, another company that makes high quality zippers (commonly found on a famous motorcycle bag!). LAMPO zippers are also used on the newer versions of the "original" classics (i.e., the Ltd Ed. Sophia Bag produced for S/S 2005 with brass hardware & buckles), as well as several of the newer styles released during Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter 2005. I cannot say for certain whether or not MJ bags are switching to LAMPO zippers exclusively, but it does appear that most of the newer styles (including the quilted designs created for the 2005 F/W line) are made with LAMPO zippers instead of riri. To the best of my knowledge, Marc Jacobs bags have NEVER been made with YKK zippers (this does NOT include the black tagged Marc by Marc Jacobs bags, which ARE usually produced with YKK zippers and which are discussed below) All of the bags in the classic collection with padlock pockets (including the stella, multi pocket, venetia, sophia, & blake bags) are made with riri zippers and ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. The zippers have not changed from season to season - Original stella bags (with brass hardware & buckles) had riri zippers, as well as all of the new stella bags (with silver hardware & padlocks). Also, all bags in any particular style/color will be made with the same brand of zippers and the same size. You will not find an authentic Blake with some other brand of zippers or no marking at all, and all Blake bags will include the same size marking on the back of the zippers. If one bag has this brand & a particular size, ALL bags in that style will have the same brand and be the same size.
YKK or blank zippers have been reported on many of the fake bags, and sometimes this is the only obvious difference. As I say throughout this page, it is a good idea to locate the bag you are interested in buying at a local department store first. Examine the bag thoroughly, including the zipper, so that when you find the same bag on ebay, you can be certain that the bag you're bidding on is an authentic Marc Jacobs bag. If you find a bag on ebay that you are unsure of, write to the seller and ask them what brand of zipper is used on their bag. If they tell you that it is anything other than riri or Lampo, or that there is no marking at all, chances are, the bag is not authentic. An authentic Marc Jacobs bag will include the brand name of zippers - don't be fooled by sellers telling you that this was changed from last season, or that bags are produced differently for different retailers. This is all FALSE information. The only change in the brand of zippers, is that many of the newer bags are being made with Lampo zippers, but if a bag was made with riri zippers in the past, it will still be made with riri zippers. Marc Jacobs is not changing the zippers on the classic styles "to mix it up." The same zippers should be used on every bag in the same style (i.e., Blake bags from 2004 have riri zippers, and Blake bags from 2005 have riri zippers). I know it can seem complicated, and even confusing at times, but a good rule of thumb is, if you don't see riri or Lampo zippers, there's a very good chance that the bag is NOT authentic, as these are the only brand of zippers that are used on authentic Marc Jacobs bags. (**PLEASE NOTE** Authentic LAMPO zippers are found on many fake designer handbags. When examining a bag that you know should be made with LAMPO zippers, please be sure to check all of the other details, i.e., quality of the leather, hardware engraving, top-stitcing, pocket placement, etc. You cannot rely on the zipper alone when a LAMPO zipper is used. A perfect example of this is the high number of fake motorcycle bags currently listed on ebay and found on other internet websites. Most of these bags are NOT authentic, however, they are made with authentic LAMPO zippers. I'm afraid that there will be some fake MJ bags listed & sold that do have authentic LAMPO zippers, so you need to take extra care when considering one of these bags)
Another thing to keep in mind is this: if only one detail on a bag is not authentic (i.e., the wrong brand of zipper has been used), then the bag is NOT considered authentic. An authentic bag must have ALL of the details, markings and hardware that the designer approves for the production of that bag in order for it to be considered authentic. Many of the counterfeit handbags that are being sold today are actually being made in the same places by the same people who make the authentic bags and are being "snuck out the back door" for resale on the Black Market. Very small details are being changed or left out so that the bag itself looks authentic in every other way. This is why it is so important to check EVERY detail of a bag before buying one online. If the incorrect brand of zipper has used on a bag, then it was not approved by the designer and was more than likely, illegally produced for resale. Please do not be fooled by the sellers who tell you that the zippers were replaced for resale at a reduced price or that the bags are made differently for resale at different places or on different levels. This is false information! I repeat, IF ONLY ONE COMPONENT OF A HANDBAG IS INCORRECT AND/OR MISSING, THEN THAT HANDBAG MUST BE CONSIDERED COUNTERFEIT AND IS BEING ILLEGALLY DISTRIBUTED & SOLD!!!
*IMPORTANT NOTE* LAMPO makes two different types of zippers. One of them is is embossed on the zipper, written in italics with a "lightning bolt" underneath extending from the "L", and the TM symbol in the upper right corner. The other one is engraved on the zipper, printed in uneven capital letters. The first one is the one that is being used on some of the newer MJ bags. The second type is no longer being used, however, it was used during the 2002/2003 Seasons on at least two different styles of bags. One style was a series of calf leather bags with small silver snaps on the front pockets. There were approx 3 or 4 different style bags like this, in various colors (navy, coral, ivory, yellow, pale pink), and they all look very similar to the one pictured below. The other was the padlock hobo (photographed below). To the best of my knowledge, these are the only bags that I know of that ever used this type of Lampo zippers. Although both types of Lampo zippers are authentic, authentic Marc Jacobs bags are currently using the first one only.
Photos of the Bag and Multiple Bags in the Same Color/Style – Many sellers (including several "Power Sellers") who list Marc Jacobs bags for sale only include a "stock" or catalogue photo of the bag. You should ALWAYS ask the seller if you can see a photo of the ACTUAL bag that they are selling. It is very easy to copy photos from another website - or worse - from another ebay seller's listing. Many sellers, including Power Sellers, who use stock photos instead of actual photos are selling counterfeit bags, or worse, may even be selling "phantom bags" - meaning, once the seller is paid, they "disappear" and no merchandise is ever delivered. Many of the fake bags currently listed are being sold by Power Sellers who have been registered members of ebay for years! It is never a good idea to buy an expensive handbag (or any item for that matter) without seeing a photo of the actual item that is for sale. Even if the seller has been a registered member of ebay for several years and has an extremely high feedback rating (or even if they're a Power Seller), you should NEVER buy a handbag without seeing a photo of the acutual bag you will be receiving. If the seller does not own or have access to a digital camera, they can take photos using a disposable camera which they can then have developed onto a disc. From the disc, they can download the pictures to their computer and either add the photos to their ebay listing or send them to you in an email. You should NEVER purchase a Marc Jacobs handbag without seeing a photo of the actual bag you will be receiving. This is extremely risky and dangerous.
Many sellers of fake Marc Jacobs bags frequently list mutliple bags in the same color/style. This is sometimes a warning sign, and additional questions should be asked. It is very unusual for anyone to buy five or six Marc Jacobs bags in the same color, especially if the bags available are being sold at a drastically reduced price. It's sometimes hard to find just one black stella, you might want to ask how a seller acquired five or six, and how they're able to sell those bags at such a reduced price. Anyone who purchases a Marc Jacobs bag with the intention of reselling it, should be able to provide anyone who asks proof of authenticity. There should be no secrets, no big mystery, as to where or how the bags were obtained. Most of the colors produced each season, do go on sale at the end of the season. Black and white, however, rarely go on sale. Marc Jacobs does NOT sell their bags wholesale to anyone other than major department stores and a few small specialty boutiques. Anyone who says they bought the bag wholesale, should be seriously questioned and usually avoided. Sometimes the bags that these sellers are selling are so close to authentic, that maybe even the seller doesn't realize that the bag is fake. I have seen cases where the bags look remarkably close to authentic and the only obvious difference is the brand of zippers. When compared side by side to an authentic bag however, the differences become much more obvious. Usually the leather is of a much lower quality, the color of the lining may be slightly off, the sleeper bag is made from a different material, or the engraving may look a little bit different. Even if the only difference is the brand of zippers, the bag is still a fake (If just one component of a bag is fake, it makes the entire bag a fake!)
It may seem like a lot to digest & a lot to look for, but really my best advice to anyone considering purchasing a Marc Jacobs handbag on ebay is to compare the bag you are considering bidding on to an authentic bag found on the Marc Jacobs website or one of the retail sites named above. This is the single most important thing to do before placing a bid.
MARC by MARC JACOBS
All of the bags that have been referred to on this page, and most of the Marc Jacobs bags that you find on ebay are from the higher end, "couture" line of Marc Jacobs. There is another line of clothing, shoes and handbags produced by Marc Jacobs, however. The MARC by MARC JACOBS line is considered to be a little more affordable, and consists of lower priced, high quality items. The high-end, couture styles carry the white Marc Jacobs tag, while the more affordable MARC by MARC JACOBS line carries a black tag. The handbags from the Marc by Marc Jacobs line tend to be a little more colorful, fun, sporty and casual. They are made from various materials such as leather, canvas, nylon and microfiber. The linings are usually made of colorful cotton, sometimes matching some of the clothing from that same season's line. The hardware on these bags is not as thick, chunky and/or heavy, and are not usually engraved. The bags from this line tend to have lots of grommets and snaps. The nameplate inside the bag is sometimes bronze or brass. While the zippers aren't usually engraved along the edges as the classic bags are, the name MARC JACOBS may be printed across the top and/or bottom of the zipper pull. In previous seasons, the bags from the Marc by Marc Jacobs line included the same white cotton sleeper bag that the classic bags come with, however, most of the more recent bags come with a clear plastic drawstring sleeper bag. The bags from the Fall 2004 Marc by Marc Jacobs line took on a little more "sophisticated" look. Most were made of leather, with solid cotton linings. There were even a few styles which appeared to be inspired by bags from the classic line. While some of these bags are also made in Italy, it's not uncommon to find a Marc by Marc Jacobs item that has been made in China, Taiwan or Indonesia. If you find a bag on ebay which you believe may be from the Marc by Marc Jacobs line, there are still many places to verify this. The Marc Jacobs website shows lots of the style, colors and patterns from the Marc by Marc Jacobs line. While there isn't a specific area of the site dedicated to these bags, you can usually find some pics of the bags among season's clothing line (the models from the Marc show tend to carry bags from that same season). You can also find pics of these bags are some major department store wesbites. Elux is an excellent place to find pics of these bags, as they carry both the white & black tagged bags! Below are some examples of bags from the Marc by Marc Jacobs line, and which have been found on ebay.
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