It’s not a bag. It’s a Birkin. If you know, you know.
Earlier this year during an interview with Vogue, we learned directly from the mouth of Sarah Jessica Parker the shocking truth about that blue Birkin on Sex And The City (SATC). Resting on the arms of Carrie Bradshaw, one of the world’s most fashionable fictional characters, was a fake Birkin bag. To hear that Parker was approached by Pat Field (the series’ costume designer) about the fake is totally eye-opening to say the least. “Do you want one, I can get you one” immediately put me in (what is probably) the mindset of so many rich New York women who love their fake Birkins. No but really, it’s a thing.
With that said, fakes are everywhere. Particularly, amongst a crowd that you wouldn’t necessarily think to go look at first. Counterfeit bags may be lower in market price compared to their authentic pieces. But they’ll never be the real thing or ever hold value. However, the industry continues to prey on women looking for a not-so-wonky-doppelganger; at this point, it has created Reddit-like cults that promise to be a “happy place” for replicas. One called RepLadies, for instance, communicates using unique insider language, including codes and abbreviations that dominate the chats. All in the name of having… a “Birkin” bag. Don’t do it. When caught, it is not a happy ending my friends.
The Birkin bag is the ultimate status symbol. No wonder everyone wants one and, for some, will do nearly anything to get one. Even if that means sourcing their own production and distribution. Sadly, per an EU report, there is a rising number of young consumers who are intentionally buying counterfeits. Clearly, the counterfeit market is the short-term reward for fulfilling that ultra-luxury need. Again, not worth it. That’s why in this post, we’re diving into the world of authenticating the Birkin – and of course, why a fake is never worth your money. Along the way, we’ll show you a side-by-side comparison of authentic and fake versions of this highly sought-after bag.
The Birkin Construction
It’s no secret Hermes uses only the finest materials in the world. Their artisans work countless hours with the best leathers to create exceptional bags. Every stitch, corner, and fold is artfully done with intention to honor the prestige craftsmanship and heritage of Hermes. But for fakes, there is no real connection with the product; no integrity in the way the pieces are pieced together.
In this comparison, we’re showing a Birkin 35. And of course, on the fake, the leather grain is too shiny. On top of that, the bag doesn’t lay flat and the base of the bag is buckling. And most notably, the dimensions are off – the fake is way too tall for a 35. The real evidence that breaks the case? This color combination (white with black stitching) was never in production. And if it were to be a “custom order” it is not denoted with proper HSS foiling.
Hermes Blind Stamps
Not to be confused with other stamp symbols indicating the material. Hermes date codes are called “blind stamps” and because Hermes has been in business for centuries, many variations are to be expected. However, techniques speak to the quality of the product. Fake bags will have sloppy embossing and the letters themselves will often be too big and pronounced.
Hardware does not lie. Any sort of heavy mirage finish is a telltale sign of a counterfeit. Also, pay close attention to the edges. The manner in which the edges of the hardware pieces (from plates to feet) are shaped can reveal an item’s authenticity. In this case with the fake, they’re incorrectly shaped.
Engravings on hardware can also suggest a lot. Authentic Hermes will use specific font styles, spacing, sizes, and pearling (these are the circular pins on the plates, and the application of the pearling is something that authenticators pay close attention to detail). If this is off (even at the slightest), huge red flag. Hermes hardware has many variations, so whether you’re looking at a Birkin from twenty years ago, or a brand new Birkin, the quality and placement of these small details (although slightly varied) are never sacrificed or overlooked.