I’m throwing on my suit of armor because this post might be controversial.
(If I’m going to wear a suit of armor, it’s going to be fashionable… like this design by Lie Sang Bong)
Let me start out by saying that this post is actually the one that spurred the whole idea of this blog. Sister-in-law Chelsea can attest that I was talking about figuring out a way to do this back in June when we were attending a wedding on Purdue University’s campus. As someone that has lost money by accidentally purchasing items that were counterfeit, I wanted to help others know what to look for. I realized that my Neverfull MM would probably be the best example to use because (a) I have physical proof it is authentic, I still have the receipts from the Louis Vuitton and (b) unlike the Damier Azur and Monogram print, the Damier Ebene canvas is surprisingly really easy for the replica factories to recreate.
(Not my collection. I wish.)
Now there were a few roadblocks. I quickly realized that I can’t dive too deep into the authentication side for legal reasons – I don’t have the resources (or energy, if we’re being honest) to work as a professional authenticator. For that reason, any posts in this series will be extremely “high level.”
The other issue? Getting a replica. Now I realize I could just hop on Google and probably find a website without too much effort but I didn’t want to spend money on these (all ethics aside…. I’m actually pretty cheap).
Fortunately, a miracle happened and I managed to get a replica Neverfull for this post. I’m going to ask my readers to respect a “code of silence” and understand that I’m not going to disclose who this belongs to or where it was purchased – obviously I get this info to make sure I’m not claiming something is fake when is not, but I’m not going to advertise it. The authentic MM is mine (you’ve already seen it on the blog) but the owner of the GM prefers to remain anonymous. We’re going to respect that and thank them for letting us use their bag to compare!
Here’s the Snapchat I posted this morning (if you want to follow me, my Snapchat name is Sarah1089). The responses I got were a solid 50-50. As you should be able to figure out based on the name & sizes, the Neverfull GM (on top) is the replica. The Neverfull MM (bottom) is authentic.
Here is the Neverfull GM. Let me start out by saying that amongst replica Neverfulls – this is actually a decent one. I have seen much, much worse out in the world. If I saw this out on someone’s shoulder, I probably wouldn’t suspect anything. Looking closer, there are some obvious giveaways, however.
Like I said, I wish I could compare this to an authentic Neverfull GM but we’re going to have to settle for my Neverful MM instead. Looking at them side-by-side (and disregarding the size difference), they look relatively similar. The squares on the Damier Ebene print are about the same size – and even though it looks like the MM is a little lighter, they’re pretty much the same shade. I did not measure but I do believe that the GM is the appropriate size for the style.
Upon closer inspection though, the flaws become obvious. Looking at the inside of the bag, you can see that the lining has faded a bit due to age (and this is the old style interior of the Damier Ebene print – I didn’t compare it against my MM because I didn’t want to confuse anyone) – the biggest red flag here is how this is visibly thin fabric. The leather stamp on the pocket should be more pronounced and the zipper shouldn’t look like it’s about to fall apart. Even with a “well loved” bag, you should be able to visibly see the quality, rather than having it look like it used budget manufacturing.
For me, the handles were the most obvious sign that the GM was a replica. I do believe they’re leather but they are not coated like the MM’s, nor do they have the stitching to really secure the bag. Comparing them against each other, it’s obvious which one is real – the GM handles are so much thinner. Even though they are the correct shape and size, the material isn’t the same quality.
Side strap inspection is one of my tricks because a lot of fakes will not have the correct ring at the end. In this case, the replica’s side straps are pretty good. Like the handles, you can see that they are visibly thinner (and fraying a bit) but otherwise, the hardware is accurate.
The base of the handles shows that the stitching isn’t as detailed. It’s also a little dull (I was told the GM is about five years old – in comparison, my Neverfull was purchased in September 2015). You can also see that the “V” in the handle is off-center.
Finally, the printed canvas – like I said, this is pretty good. I know some Louis Vuitton fans claim that there’s specific placement of the logo squares – personally, I don’t believe this… the bags are mass produced by machines, there’s no way every single one is going to line up perfectly. I don’t think I could confidently identify which bag is authentic looking at just the two canvases honestly.
Because the Neverfull style is one that is easily replicated, you want to look at the details I pointed out if you’re buying a “pre-loved” one online. It might seem trivial but I always ask for close-up photos of the straps, handles, sides and interior if they’re not provided. Any reputable seller will have no issue with providing these pictures to you.
Even if you are very familiar with a brand, there are items that can stump you. While the GM bag did have a few obvious discrepancies (primarily the handles), I will say it wasn’t until I looked at it thoroughly that I felt really confident saying “This is an obvious replica.” I don’t want to scare anyone away from purchasing something online but I hope this proves that you should definitely do your homework. And of course, if you’re ever questioning anything, contact an authentication service for assistance!