Lifestyle | Style | Fashion: How to Spot a Knock-Off

Published December 12, 2007

Posted Aug. 13, 2007 -- Ladies, we’ve got a serious problem on our hands, and it needs to be taken care of. Does the bag on your arm say Proda instead of Prada? Are the letters on your suitcase LW instead of LV? Do your new Coach shoes fall apart after just one wear?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ve got a terrible case of knock-offitis. Getting caught with cheap products is embarrassing. We all know that woman who bragged to everyone that her new boyfriend bought her an expensive Hermes handbag, only to find out that it was a fraud. Girls, we’ve got to get the real thing, or at least a fake that can fool a trained eye. How can we tell the difference? Here are a few clues that can help distinguish Chanel from Channel.

1) The price. If it’s too cheap, it’s not real. Gucci has these hot new brown aviators, which cost $275. Sometimes vendors will sell items at a discount if they’ve fallen off a truck, but there is no truck on this earth that could mark those aviators down to $10.

2) The retailer. Authentic products are only sold from authorized dealers, department stores, company stores and Web sites. The guy next to the fast-food joint or your homeboy on the corner of 125th and Broadway is not going to get his hands on the real thing. Sorry cousin Ray-Ray!

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3) The design. Check the store’s Web site to research the special features of a design and look for them on your item. For example, the Louis Vuitton bucket bag has extras like protective brass feet, a zip-top pouch with a golden chain attachment and vuittonite lining. A bad knock-off bag won’t have all of these bonuses.

4) The details. The tell-tale signs of a fake are often hidden in the small things, like handles, zippers, buckles and stamps. Real designer products often have special packaging and monograms to make consumers feel special.

5) The discounts. Ebay has legitimate sellers, but it’s got its share of fakes too. If you absolutely must buy online, many company Web sites have links to their discount partners. Web retailers like yoox.com, net-a-porter.com and eluxury.com sell authentic merchandise at lower prices. Also, these Web sites are legally required to offer refund services. If the site is legit, it’ll tell you how to get your precious money back.

As fly as we are there is no excuse for us to own shoddy goods. Not only does it make us look bad, but buying fake merchandise has some big consequences. It takes millions in profits from the real designers, which raises the prices for authentic products. It also cheats taxpayers and supports illegal child labor. We deserve to splurge on the real thing; it’s safer and much more fun!

Written by BET-Staff

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