How to spot a fake Vivienne Westwood bag

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This guide will help you to spot fake Vivienne Westwood bags a mile away.  Fakes help fund criminal groups, who exploit people and make them work in terrible conditions.  Also, I bought a bag off eBay once, found out later that it was a fake, and it made me feel cheap.  I lost £50 and now the bag is stuck at the bottom of my wardrobe and I never use it.  UPDATE: I managed to get a refund in the end ^^

IF YOU FIND THIS GUIDE HELPFUL PLEASE DO VOTE, IT WOULD BE MUCH APPRICIATED!!!  THANK YOU!! :D

Anyway, to start with there are two main rules to follow...one, most VW bags on eBay are fake.  Two, if in doubt, don't buy.  Here are some more steps to follow:

1 - Authorised sellers

Go to viviennewestwood.co.uk and other authorised sellers (e.g. Harrods, Selfridges, Boheme Clothing) 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.

2 - Location

If the seller is in China and the bag is authentic I'll eat my hat.  Yes, some of the less expensive VW bags are made in China, and certainly some individuals living in China may be selling their used, authentic stuff, but look carefully at the label; it's a dead giveaway if the label plate inside a brand new bag says made in Italy but the item location is China.  Again, compare the plate photo to an authorised website.

3 - Price

Brand new VW bag, normally £650 ish, selling for under £100.  Too good to be true?  Yes.  Labels, tags, dustbags, zip pulls etc can all easily be faked.  If it's got a really low starting price and without a VERY good reason from the seller in the description, it's fake.

4 - Plate

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.  On the Chancery bags it says 'Vivienne Westwood London' on a metal plate.  Again check authorised dealers - 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 other websites, so check listing photos against those on the other websites to check if they've been copied.  If it's EXACTLY the same photo is definately stolen.  This is a common-sense thing.

Once you've confirmed the photo is real, check the label is real by comparing the W, s and o in Westwood to the labels/lettering on official websites.  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...in between the two n's 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.

5 - Sellers

Check their feedback, check the other items they have for sale.  I once saw a seller with some designer boots for sale, and when I checked her other listings she was having a clear out and all her other stuff for sale was used high quality designer stuff, much of it was used, branded and/or from good shops like m&s and next.  She had no replica listings and nothing cheap or nasty.  If a seller has cheap nasty stuff for sale, has bad feedback, or is selling loads of items that are identical or similar to the one you're looking at, beware!  Who has 20 genuine brand new VW bags lying around!?

Ask the seller questions about the item, dimensions, when (season and year) 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, nonsensical or incomplete - it just won't ring true....or they won't answer you at all!  Again, use your judgement and your common sense.

8 - 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.

7 - After Sales

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
-I offer an authentication service via eBay at a very reasonable rate.  Please check out my listings or contact me.
-Write a post on http://forum.purseblog.com/ and the lovely community members there will help you
-Go to a VW store or another shop that sells VW (Harrod's, Selfridges etc) 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 hope this guide has been helpful.  Contact me if you've any questions or comments.  Good luck in your future purchases, and remember, if you buy fakes it will make our lovely Vivienne cry!

UPDATE PLEASE READ!!! - 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!  Again please, please contact me if you ever need help verifying the authenticity of any VW bag, I am only too happy to help.

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 pics from authentic websites.

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.

UPDATE: See pic below for clarity, apologies for the very poor quality.  If copy and paste the URL below there's a clearer pic there:

http://s602.photobucket.com/albums/tt101/aluminiumsiren/VW stuff/?action=view&current=orbs.jpg



FURTHER UPDATE - 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?  Sometimes I get a metro newspaper on the way to work, or an Evening Standard on the way home to work, and they advertise sample sales that are happening that same day!  I never get to go to them (due to work), and I live in London!?  Also, why spend all that time, money and effort getting to a sample sale just to resell it on eBay?? 


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