Smart Ways to Spot a Fake Louis Vuitton Bag

Before you buy that Louis Vuitton bag you've been dreaming about, learn how to tell the difference between the real thing and a replica.

Updated January 9, 2024
Petite Malle handbag from Louis Vuitton

There's a reason designer handbags like Louis Vuittons are so popular. Walking around with one of your own can make you feel totally luxurious (and is bound to get you lots of compliments). 

What can be tricky is knowing if you're looking at an authentic bag or a fake replica. If you're thinking of treating yourself to one of these expensive bags, you'll want to be sure your money is going towards the real thing. Don't sweat it — we have some details on how to tell the difference between a fake Louis Vuitton vs. a real one.

How to Spot a Fake Louis Vuitton vs. a Real One

With the popularity of designer bags at an all-time high, more counterfeit bags are hitting the streets and online auctions. It's a good idea to do your research before you buy — these bags aren't a cheap investment.

Luckily there are quite a few things you can look at to help you see the difference between a genuine and a fake handbag.

Real Fake
Made from quality materials Made from pleather/vinyl
Vachetta leather trim Light tan or fake aged trim
Carefully placed monogram Monogram may be crooked or have seams
No tags attached May have tags attached
Gold or brass hardware Painted gold plastic hardware
Contains a dust bag Possibly no dust bag
No additional accessories May come with extra accessories
No authenticity card May come with a fake authenticity card
Bags made after 1980 will have a date code Won't have date code

An authentic Louis Vuitton bag has the following characteristics:

  • Quality Materials: Louis Vuitton bags are expensive. They are made out of costly materials such as top-quality leather, boa, crocodile, lambskin, and camel skin. Fakes are made from pleather and vinyl; they may feel rough and stiff. A real Louis Vuitton is smooth and feels soft.
  • Trim: Louis Vuitton trim is done in Vachetta leather and tans naturally as the bag ages. Most fakes are done in a light tan trim or a fake aged trim that will not change with age.
  • Monogram placement: Monogram placement is done carefully and is consistent on pieces. It will not be crooked or cut off. It will look the same on each style of bag. The leather is one solid piece that continues to the front from the back. You will never see a seam in the middle of a bag.
  • Tags: These are never attached to a Louis Vuitton bag. They may come with tags, but they are simply placed in the purse or dust bag. Tags are never attached with plastic or pins.
  • Hardware: The hardware used on the bag is also an indicator. Fake bags will often have painted gold plastic whereas an authentic will have gold or brass metal hardware imprinted with the trademark LV logo.
  • Dust Bags: All bags come with a soft dust bag. This bag is done in a soft tan color and features the Louis Vuitton logo in the center. The dust bag can be done in a drawstring or envelope style.
Louis Vuitton padlock

Related: More Tips on Spotting Fake Designer Bags 

Know the Bag

Check the details of the bag against the original style. In addition to the basic features to look out for, there are some other obvious tells. If you're looking for a Speedy bag and find one that has gold feet on the bottom, steer clear. This style never has feet. The Speedy is smooth from front to back and does not have extra hardware.

Beware of Extra Accessories

Many LV fakes come with extra accessories. Authentic Louis Vuitton bags do not. The Neverfull has the option to add a shoulder strap, however, that is not a standard accessory. The Neverfull comes with two straps that can be carried over the arm. Fake versions may have a shoulder strap attached or as an accessory.

Check Handles and Stitching

Examine the workmanship carefully. All Louis Vuitton bags have precise stitching that is durable and will not show any loose threads. It's just another part of what makes these bags so high-quality. 

The handles of each bag are seamed together with a special glue that bonds the leather. You will not see any sloppy craftsmanship or loose stitching. If you do, this is a pretty clear sign that the bag isn't real.


The lettering on your bag can be quite telling about its authenticity:

  • Wherever you see Louis Vuitton spelled out, check to make sure that the O is round, not oval-shaped. Many fake versions will use oval-shaped O's instead of round ones.
  • Another mistake that fakes often make is with the letter L immediately before the O. The L should be positioned very close to the O and does not fully extend on the bottom.
  • The name Louis Vuitton is almost always spelled out in all capital letters. When it's not, it's done in a distinctive script. Zecraft shows what the script looks like  — and it's very hard to replicate. 

Watch Out for Authenticity Certificates

Another sign that a bag is fake is the authenticity card. Real Louis Vuitton bags don't come with a certificate of authenticity. You may find a cream-colored card with the style name of the bag and a bar code inside, but never a certificate. Many fake bags come with a certificate to try to convince consumers that they're real.

Date Codes

Every Louis Vuitton bag comes with a date code. An authentic bag won't have a serial number but should have a date code to identify where and when the bag was made. Keep in mind that these codes are not always easy to find. These date codes are usually stamped on a leather tag inside the bag or on the actual lining. Louis Vuitton date codes consist of both numbers and letters. Depending on when the bag was made this can vary. For example:

Date code example
  • Bags made prior to 1980 do not have date codes.
  • Early to late 80s, the codes consisted of three to four numbers immediately followed by two letters. The first two numbers represent the year it was made, and the 3rd and/or 4th are the month. The last two letters indicate what country the bag was made in.
  • From 1990 to 2006, date codes contained two letters followed by four numbers. The letters indicated the location of the factory where the bag was made and the numbers indicated the month and year.
  • From 2007 to the present, bags have date codes with two letters followed by four numbers. The letters are the location where the bag was made and the numbers are the year.

Popular Replicated Patterns and Styles

There are many different bag styles and patterns in the Louis Vuitton collection, and certain styles are more likely to be replicated than others. These include (but aren't limited to):

Vendor shows a bag based in one of Louis Vuitton's designs at a market in Beijing
  • Signature Monogram Canvas: The most popular pattern is the Signature Monogram Canvas. This pattern features tan LV logos on a rich dark brown leather background. The pattern is never reversed or done with additional colors.
  • Takashi Murakami Collection: Another highly replicated bag is the one done by designer Takashi Murakami. In 2003, Murakami partnered with Marc Jacobs and released this unique collection. The bags were done in white leather and featured 33 different colors of the signature LV logos. The Cherry Blossom bag was a variation done in the Signature Monogram. It had red cherry blossoms throughout with a small face in the center of each blossom. You will not see other flowers or designs on real bags.
  • Damier Graphite Canvas: A newer style print is the Damier Graphite canvas. This style features the classic block pattern in black and grey. It has an urban feel and is more edgy than traditional styles. You won't see other variations to this print like bold colors,  and the block pattern always lines up on the edges and seams.
  • Speedy: This is Louis Vuitton's most popular bag. It is a simple design with two rounded handles at the top and a full zipper closure. This one shouldn't come with a shoulder strap and has a gold padlock. There is one small pocket inside the bag. The Speedy comes in several sizes: 25, 30, 35 and 40. You will not find it in any other size.
  • Neverfull: This bag is one of the most functional in the collection. It comes in MM, PM, and GM versions. Each version is a different size but is styled the same. The Neverfull is a tote-style bag with slim leather handles. The latest version comes with a removable zippered clutch. This bag is textile-lined and has one roomy interior pocket. All hardware is gold in color. Another feature is two cinch straps, one on each side of the bag that can be tightened or loosened depending on your style.
  • Alma: The Alma is done in a structured style. It has a double zipper with a padlock closure. The top of this bag opens widely and is rounded. There are two leather handles and studs on the bottom of this bag for added protection. Other features of the Alma are a leather key bell, textile lining, and two interior pockets. All hardware is gold in color.

Shop Reputable Louis Vuitton Retailers

Where your shop for your bag can also reveal whether or not it's a fake. To be 100% sure, your best bet is to buy directly from Louis Vuitton stores and boutiques, in-person or online.

Helpful Hack

If you're not sure about a bag, you can bring it to an LV store and ask a sales associate to take a look. All Louis Vuitton associates are trained and will be able to spot a fake. Or, you can use a handbag authentication service to determine the authenticity of your bag; just research carefully to make sure you're using a legitimate service.

Do Your Research

Like the old saying goes, if it is too good to be true, then it probably is. This goes for Louis Vuitton bags, too. An authentic Louis Vuitton will always be crafted from high-end luxury materials and the price tag reflects that fact. With these tips in your back pocket, you shouldn't have much trouble spotting fake Louis Vuitton bags and can keep your hard-earned money safe from scams. 

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Smart Ways to Spot a Fake Louis Vuitton Bag