Go to hervia.com and browse. Familiarise yourself with the bags - prices, materials, plates, labels, zip pulls, styles etc etc. If you know exactly what you're looking for it makes it easier to spot the fakes. Any VW bag listing on eBay that doesn't have a photo of the plate label inside the bag instantly write off as fake.
Inside VW bags is a plate. On the more expensive. leather bags the plate should read 'Vivienne Westwood London Genuine Leather Made in Italy' and the plate is either gold or silver coloured metal. If it says 'Vivienne Westwood Genuine Leather Italy' or some other variation of the wording I mentioned I would be very catious. On the less expensive bags that are made in China the label either says 'Vivienne Westwood Accessories' or 'Vivienne Westwood London' and the plate is leather or leather look material. Again check hervia - sometimes the lettering on the leather or leather look plate is a different colour to the background
Also, it's so easy to steal photos from hervia, so check listing photos against those on the hervia website to check if they've been copied. If it's EXACTLY the same photo is definately stolen.
Once you've confirmed the photo is real, check the label is real by comparing the W, s and o in Westwood to the hervia label. The curve/loop at the top left of the W should be nice and rounded, not squashed or flattened looking. The s is quite stylised and in a unique font, not flat and plain looking. The 'o' has a diagonal break in the top of the circle. Also, check the two 'n's' in Vivienne...they should join up at the bottom. Check the 'tw' in Westwood....they should also join up. Check both of the 'i's' is Vivienne are dotted. Again my instructions may sound strange, but if you are familiar with the labels you'll know what I mean.
Ask the seller questions about the item, dimensions, when and where it was bought, the original price, do they still have the original reciept? A genuine seller will be forthcoming and pleasant, their responses to your questions will be well written and will seem right...you can get a feel for the seller. A fake seller will avoid answering questions directly, their response may be disjointed or incomplete -
Shape and stitching
Does the bag look like it should have a slouchy shape, but it appears rigid and stiff? Is the stitching wonky, or are the seams not quite right, or gathered wrongly? The reason designer bags cost a fortune is because when they are made the stiching is always finished well so there are no loose threads, no 'gathered' seams and no general poor quality finishings. Cheap fakes will look a mess upon close inspection
You've bought a bag and you're concerned about the authenticity. BEFORE LEAVING FEEDBACK: To authenticate it you can...
-Go to the Vivienne Westwood community on Live Journal: http://community.livejournal.com/vwestwood/ ...and write a post, include photos etc. I am a member of this community too, and everyone there will be happy to help you
-Write a post on http://forum.purseblog.com/ and the lovely community members there will help you
-Message me...I feel confident about helping you out there! I will need pics though, you can use facebook
Go to a VW store or another shop that sells VW (I think selfridges does) and get it authenticated (although when I asked for this to be done at Conduit St once the manager said it's not something they normally do, plus the bag did turn out to be fake, but the manager didn't even know!)
Then if it's fake you can go through eBay and paypal procedures to return the bag and get a refund. NEVER return an item to a seller without getting tracking or recorded delivery of some sort - they can easily lie and say they never got the item back.
I have noticed a lot of fake Ebury heart bags on eBay, they are very easy to spot. The real Ebury bags don't have a rectangular plate inside them, they have an oval shaped plate that only says 'Vivienne Westwood' on it, and the writing is the same as Vivienne's actual autograph/signature. If an Ebury bag has the rectangular plate with the Vivienne Westwood logo, 'London' and 'Genuine leather Italy' or similar it is DEFINITELY FAKE so watch out!
Another good indication is the metal orb on the front of the bag. Check the prongs of the cross and the width of the ring around the orb...compare to hervia pics like this one:
Often the prongs of the cross may be the wrong shape (more square than dovetail) and the ring around the orb will be lower at the front and thinner than on genuine bags
If sellers say something is from a sample sale don't believe it. They really are just making it up. Key indicators are location...if they're not in London how the heck did they find out about, and get to, the sample sale? Also, why spend all that time and effort getting to a sample sale just to resell it on eBay
hope this helps everyone