[UPDATE: Be suspicious if the bag shows the padlock on the bag's clasp!!! When you buy a real Bayswater, the padlock is hidden in the little leather pouch that hangs from the handle. The fake I received had the padlock on the clasp, and all the ones I've seen as fakes on the internet are the same!!!]
I recently bought an authentic Bayswater from House of Fraser....after being stung for £275 for a fake (which I was told was genuine) on eBay. Luckily the seller refunded my money (which I was able to put towards the real one!), but you may not be so lucky. Still, why pay £275 for a fake bag, that has no guarantee and could fall apart next week... and that would probably retail for £50 if you could buy it direct from a replica website!
Let me warn you, the fake Bayswater that I bought was extremely similar to the real one, and I am sure these are the ones that are mostly in circulation on eBay. So similar, in fact, that I had them up against each other, comparing every feature and counting stitches etc! The seller even claimed to believe that it was genuine... and this wouldn't actually surprise me at all. It was a very good fake!!! I'm sure that there are plenty of people walking around with no idea that they're carrying fakes.
goober1473 has a great Fairy Godmother guide, which greatly added to the few things I already knew about fake bags. See the bit about lots of one penny books bought? Why do they do this? To get good feedback - fast, so that you trust them. Please go to goober1473's guide for a great way to find out exactly what else your seller has sold and bought. Interesting reading! (If you don't have time, let me summarise - No Paypal? AVOID. Private feedback? AVOID. One day listing? AVOID.)
NOW TO THE (DARWIN) BAYSWATER...
There are several differences that you should look for when you are viewing the pictures (if they are actually of the bag that you are about to buy!), and by examining it up close (if you decide to go ahead with the purchase). There may be some differences with the other (Congo? Kenya?) leather Bayswaters - I don't have one, so I can't tell you!
(I will attach some photos later, so that you can compare the (small) differences between the bags - but be aware that it is very easy for sellers to steal real pictures.)
1. The tag that holds the brass disk (which will probably have a serial no. on it - even if is fake) should have sharp corners. If they are rounded off, it's probably a fake.
2. The padlock on the original is chunky and good quality. At it's widest point (it is curved on the sides on both the fake and original), it is 9 mm thick. The Mulberry tree on the original is etched deep into the edge of the padlock, and the locking loop is bronze, not silver metal. On the fake, the padlock is cheap-looking, is 7 mm thick, and has a shallow, stamped Mulberry tree and a silver hoop. (N.B. There are some genuine padlocks with silver hoops.) Another thing the original has is a little hole next to the bit where the key goes in. Look at the picture on the chocolate Bayswater on net a porter - there is a close-up of the padlock. The tree should look EXACTLY like that. It the Mulberry tree is not cut as deeply into the metal, it's fake.
3. The key/padlock pouch is almost identical on both bags. Count the number of stitches - they should be the same on each edge, and the stitching should be heavier on the front than on the back.
4. The big brass oval fitting should not be an obviously glittery bronze, with what looks like flecks running through it. The original will look only slightly sparkly only on close inspection. You will be able to push the underneath part of the fitting (the bit with the catch on it) away from the leather if it is fake. The genuine one is very firmly attached. Look at hole in the middle of the bit with the Mulberry tree on - if it looks like it's made up of three bits, it's a fake. (The real one looks like it's made up of two parts.)
5. The little latch thing should have rounded-off edges, and not have slanted edges. It should move smoothly. If it doesn't, it's a fake.
6. Open the bag. The front top section will be twice as thick as the leather straps that make the bag bigger/smaller in a real bag. (Maybe in a very good fake.)
7. Look at the buckles. If they have a bronze-y coloured paint in the letters of "MULBERRY", it's fake. On the original, the letters are a dark grey.
8. Look at the bottom of the bag. If it's real, there should be four bronze feet, attached to four leather patches. The patches should be 3 cm squares, not 2.5 cm. (On the black bag, If you peel back the corner of one of the patches, the underneath should be grey/black, not pink/beige.) If you can pull the brass feet away from the leather so far that you can see that they are hollow... it's fake.
9. Put the bag over your shoulder. Are the handles flexible and comfortable? No? Go to the Mulberry website, and look at how thin the Bayswater handles are. Are yours thicker? It's a fake.
10. Does it come with a store tag? Fakes do too. Find somewhere that sells genuine bags, and compare the style of the tag. If it's different, it's probably fake. (One interesting point - when I bought my bag from HoF, they removed the tag so that I couldn't take it home. I assume this is policy. Phone a store. Find out. Chances are it happens everywhere, and if that is the case, why would someone have a tagged Mulberry bag in their possession? There may be a legitimate reason...ask.)
11. Fakes almost always come with care cards too.
12. Look at the dust bag. There should be a single black cord, which is about 4 mm thick. The Mulberry tree should be on both sides (some fakes will have this), about 3-4 cm away from the edges - in the bottom right-hand corner. The tree trunk should go straight up. If it noticably leans to the right, it's fake. But that's just a fake dust bag, right? Ask yourself why someone with a real bag has a fake dust bag!
13. You will hardly be able to see the stiching inside a real bag. (If it's a black bag, the inside should be quite a fine, dark grey suede, which becomes lighter/darker when you brush the suede different ways. Is yours black, with long fibres and a uniform colour? Hmmm.)
14. The real Bayswater weighed 1.3 kg. The fake weighed just over 1 kg.
15. If you have time, take your bag to the store/a boutique/department store with a concession. Get them to check it out. Compare it to the real thing in minute detail. Too embarrassing? Would you rather walk around having paid £300 for something you are not sure is a fake, and feel like everyone is watching you? How much enjoyment are you going to get out of that?
15. On a real bag, the handles will flop down so that they are about 90 degrees to each other when you look at the bag from the side. On a fake bag the handles will be harder, and they will probably stay almost horizontal, sticking straight out form the side of the bag.
16. Mulberry bags are expensive because they are so beautifully made. If your bag looks like it could've come from M&S (not that there is anything wrong with that!), it's a fake. A real bag will hold a beautiful shape when you sit it down, it will be supple yet sturdy...
Anyway, that's about all I can think of at the moment. I hope you find this guide useful, and contact me if you have any questions. I will do my best to help you out!
GUIDE TO BUYING A GENUINE MULBERRY BAYSWATER (DARWIN)
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27 February 2008
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