Michael Kors has become a world wide favorite in designer handbags, surpassing many other famous brands. Their attention to quality and detail is unsurpassed. They have many collections that appeal to all tastes and pocketbooks. Because of their popularity, counterfeiters are reproducing fakes that are all over the market. This guide is to help you identify a fake from a real Michael Kors, and direct you to where you can get help when you are in doubt.
I have been a collector of Michael Kors for about 30 years now and have learned much about them, that I would like to share with you. I can spot a fake a mile away and want to give you some tips on how you can spot them too.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH BUYING FAKES TO SAVE MONEY?
Did you know that fakes / counterfeits are manufactured by criminals? Did you know that the money given to these criminal goes to support drug cartels, gorilla war fare, mafias and even terrorism? Did you know that these criminals use child slave labor and the children are beaten and starved? Many have their legs broken so they can't escape!! Where there is demand, there will always be a supply. Supply and demand is the greatest cause of this criminal business. If we can get folks to quit supporting these criminals, we can stop this! Did you know the the bombing of our World Trade Center on 9/11 was partially funded from the counterfeit handbag business? Is that something anyone wants to support??
Common sense will tell us that it can't be right for anyone to steal another company's trademarked name, logos and designs. If you wrote a book or a song, that you spent all your time and talent on, and someone came along and took it from you and said they wrote it, and then collected all of the profits from your hard work, would that be right?? Of course not! This is essentially what these counterfeiters are doing! They are stealing these companies name and years of hard work and dedication, and making money off of their blood , sweat and tears. To wear a fake is NOT stylish at all! It is not smart and not respectable. Many of us frown on it and wouldn't be caught dead wearing fakes and supporting this criminal business! It is against eBay rules and policies to sell counterfeits on their site and one could lose their buying and selling privileges for doing so! If you are going to sell designer bags, you need to make sure that they are authentic. before listing them. It is your responsibility to guarantee your buyers that you are not misrepresenting what you are selling. If you didn't buy it directly from the company that made it, there are resources you can go to , and have your bags authenticated. I will be directing you to them in this guide. So whether you are buying or selling, I hope you find this guide a good source to help you, to avoid buying or selling counterfeit bags.
WHERE TO PURCHASE TO GET AUTHENTIC MICHAEL KORS
The best place to purchase of course , is directly from Michael Kors. They have many retail stores and outlets and they are also sold at many High End Department stores. You can some great deals here on eBay, but you have to be careful. Fakes are showing up more and more and it is easy to get burned if you don't know what to look for. Always check the sellers feedback. Make sure they post plenty of photos to show signs of authenticity. You need to see the interior, label and date code tab, along with any other indications of authenticity. If these photos are not in the listing, send the seller an email to send them to you. If they refuse, move on, this is not a seller you want to deal with. When you are checking out the seller, look at their other items for sale. if you see they specialize in selling designer bags, and have a good, high feedback score, with several year on eBay, this is a good indication they are selling authentic bags. Sellers that don't generally sell handbags, and list all kinds of other things, most likely don't know much about handbag authenticity. Sellers with low feedback scores generally are not educated enough as well. They may very well have listed a genuine bag. Just make sure they posted enough pics and show signs of authenticity.
DOES MICHAEL KORS HAVE AN ONLINE OUTLET??
NO!! Michael Kors does NOT have any online outlet stores! They do not offer wholesale prices to the general public online. or 60 % discounts! Beware of these sites! They are counterfeiters and criminals that you don't want to support. There is only ONE genuine online Michael Kors website (not an outlet) and it is obvious that it is theirs. You can generally tell by the pricing. If you are on a site where a popular collection such as the MK Hamilton, is on sale for 64.00, that is surely a fake site!! Rule of thumb "if it's too good to be true" it generally is not real! Auctions are the exception. Auctions will often start low, trusting that buyers will bid them to a fair price. Many auctions will also have a reserve. But any BUY IT NOW for a third of retail, is most always a fake, or a very damaged bag.
In Home Designer Handbag Parties
These in home parties are owned and managed by counterfeiters! They offer fakes only! Do not buy handbags at these parties and make sure you tell the 'host' who they are supporting by having these parties!
PHOTOS and SIGNS OF FAKES!!
I am now going to show you what some fake interior linings look like. These linings are typically seen on all fakes. Then I will show you some authentic linings so you can see the difference.
FAKE LINING #1
In the pic above, is one of the most common fake linings used by counterfeiters. MK dies have what we call the 'honeycomb; pattern and the the honeycomb patter is the one that is most counterfeited! The difference is the sharp contrast of the stolen MK logo and base material. It will never be this dramatic. It will be more blended into the color of the lining without this sharp contrast. Also the MKs look wonky here and are too dark compared to the honeycomb outline around them. They will be the same color and not outstanding from the color of the honeycomb.
FAKE LINING #2
Michael Kors never uses any kind of animal print lining. This was taken off of a fakes website. They do not use tiger stripes, cheetah or ANY kind of animal print linings. They DO have animal print EXTERIORS only.
Michael Kors does not use any kinds of prints on their linings, such as stripes, polka dots, leopard animal, flowers, etc. They only use their signature designs, or plain, solid off white, or suede / leather interiors.
GENUINE MICHAEL KORS INTERIORS
Now I will show you some genuine interiors and what to look for.
AUTHENTIC MK LINING #1
This is a sample of an authentic Michael Kors lining. This is the one the counterfeiters are trying to duplicate in the photo above. Notice there is no sharp contrast and that the signature blends into the color of the fabric. It is also not super shiny. Has a bit if a sheen, but very subtle. If it appears overly shiny, that is a good indication it is fake.
AUTHENTIC LINING #2
Here is an authentic lining that was used on many older MK bags. Again notice that the color of the logo is subtle against the same color as the material. There is never a sharp contrast.
This is on an authentic MK Gansevoort bag.
They use other variations as well.
AUTHENTIC LINING #3
This is another variation of an authentic MK lining. This is on an MK Gansevoort bag. There will be other variations of linings on these Gansevoort bags as well. It depends on the year and material made of. Signature bags will have a different lining. This is another sample of an authentic MK lining.
Authentic Lining #4
This too is an authentic MK lining. So as you can see, MK has many variations of their linings. Notice again there is no sharp contrast and how the signature is just a bit lighter than the lining itself. These were mostly on older bags and were very well made. Also note the contrast stitching on this bag. This is from an MK Astor Tote.
Genuine Lining #5
Many of the older and some new, will have no signature lining at all and it is generally a thick canvas like material. If you look closely (enlarge pic) you can see the 'weave' that is in it. This lining is mostly on your vintage bags. It is VERY well made and durable.
MICHAEL KORS ALSO HAS many suede / leather interiors that are generally on their higher end, more expensive bags, known as the MICHAEL KORS COLLECTION
These are just a few samples, but I hope I have given you a general idea what to look for as far as the lining goes. Now we will get into labels, date code tabs and paperwork.
MICHAEL KORS and MICHAEL MICHAEL KORS differences
There are alot of dates and historic information about these two collections that you can google for dates started, etc. AS these collections pertain to authenticity, this is what I will get into, since this is what this guide is for.
The 'MICHAEL KORS' Collection was the original collection of Michaels luxury line handbags. These bags are completely different from the MICHAEL Michael KORS (MMK) Collection. They are MUCH more expensive and exquisite, compared to the MMK Collection and their design to authenticate is different as well. For example, there is the MICHAEL KORS Made in Italy bags, Many of these bags will NOT have a separate 'made in country tag' The country will be right on the heat stamp / label and will say MICHAEL KORS on top with MADE in ITALY just below it. Most of these bags have an all leather or suede lining / interior.
Some examples of the bags from the MICHAEL KORS Collection, are the MIRANDA and the CASEY Bags. There are many more but these are good examples for you to look at, to see the difference in the collections.
Later on Michael Kors began his MMK / 'MICHAEL Michael Kors' Collection, which was designed for younger people and folks in general so that more could own, afford and enjoy Michael Kors bags as well. These bags will generally have the signature linings with the MICHAEL Michael Kors heat stamp / label, and will always have the extra made in country tags on the seam of the lining. Their reversable MMK bags will often not have a heat stamp / label, because it would unsightly while reversed, so these bags will only have the very small 'made in country / date code tag, on the seam . One example of this is the MMK Colgate reverseable Tote.
So in essense, until you know what bag belongs to what collection, you can not authenticate them using other clues that would apply to a different collection.
MICHAEL KORS LUXURY LINE
Here is an example of a label that is very different from the MICHAEL Michael Kors line. This will only say MICHAEL KORS and have the country made in right on the heat stamp. So it doesn't need it's own separate little tag because the country made in is located on the heat stamp instead. There are HUGE differences between authenticating their luxury bags as opposed to their MMK line. They only thing consistent about Michael Kors, is that there is nothing consistant about Michael Kors! lol ! So unless you are a professional, please do not try to autheincate these bags. Go to the pros, I will send you to in another section of this guide.
Genuine Paper Work
All authentic Michael Kors Care Cards and paperwork will ALWAYS be in this tan color. If you see it in orange, green, red or ANY other color, you can be sure the bag is fake! This includes the receipts, etc. The receipts will be white but much of the printing
(not all) will be in this tan color.
FAKE MK LABEL!
This label to the left is a totally FAKE label! Michael Kors always spells the entire name out. You will never see just their initials like this. Notice also the cheap chinzy zipper pull on this bag! That is another huge sign of a fake. You can also notice the uneven stitching. These are all indications that the bag you are looking at is fake. Michael Kors will always have perfectly even stitching. Also, the shape of this label is wrong as well. Their genuine labels have a rectangular shape.
FAKE LABEL #2
To the left is another pic of a totally fake interior label and lining. This is ALL wrong! There is just the MK initials again! A genuine label will always have the name completely spell out, never using just the initials. Notice that shine on the lining fabric. Total sign of fake. While MK does use a sateen lining on some of their collections, it will never THAT shiny. As you can see, the counterfeiters are getting very close to imitating the signature pattern on the lining. Some have apparently figured out how to make the print blend in with the material, as Michael Kors does. This is a sign that these fakes are getting closer to the real thing all the time. Beware, because all of these pics I found were from right here online!
AUTHENTIC MK LABEL
This is what an authentic label will look like. Notice the name is completely spelled out. The letters are perfect and evenly spaced. This label is from their 'MICHAEL Michael Kors' Collection. Michael Kors also has the 'MICHAEL KORS' Collection and those labels will just say ' Michael Kors' on them. Often they are on metal plates. These are generally on their higher end, more expensive bags that have the suede interior. There are some with linings as well. This is also another one of their lining variations. We call this the Honeycomb lining. This lining is one of the most that are faked.
DATE CODE TABS
Made in Country Tab #1
Most of their bags will have this date code tab. It is often very hard to find. It will be sewn on the lining, keep looking, it should be there. They will all have the country made in on them. Some of the vintage bags don't have the date code and will only have the country made in on them. This is a good way to tell the age of a bag.
MICHAEL KORS IS MADE IN CHINA, INDONESIA and VIETNAM for the most part. There are some made in the USA, Italy and Turkey. These tags will come in different colors, usually white, brown or black tinted. The different colors indicate outlet or boutique bags.
UPDATE: We have recently discovered that Michael Kors is now manufacturing in the Phillipines and Bangladesh!
MADE IN COUNTRY TAB #2
Here is a pic of an authentic Made in Country tab in Black. This bag is totally authentic. They also come in brown or white.
The stitching on a Michael Kors bag will always be even and perfect. One really good clue I have noticed that helps me evaluate a bag is the stitching on the leather at the top of the pockets. If you look very closely ( enlarge pic) you can see that there is upside down triangular shaping of the stitches between the pockets. I have seen this on every single one of their bags that are lined. It is a useful thing to look for when determining authenticity. Again, notice the signature design is the same color as the material with NO sharp contrast, as seen on the fake lining in photo #1 above that I provided.
I have read a ridiculous RUMOR, that Michael Kors does not ever use contrast stitching in a different color. This is complete nonsense! Most designers will use detailed contrast stitching quite often actually, and is part of the wonderful detailing used to make the bags more intricate.
Some claim that Michael Kors only uses YKK zippers. This simply is not true, They use several brands besides YKK, one of them is IDEAL and there are several others, so just because a bag does not have a YKK zipper on it, means nothing and is NOT an indication the bag is fake. You can not autenticate a Michael Kors bag based on the zippers. There is so much to the overall picture when authenticating and until you become familiar with all of it, it is best to get help from where I will direct you in our next topic.
WHERE CAN I GET A BAG AUTHENTICATED?
PAID PROFESSIONAL SERVICE for MICHAEL KORS
For Michael Kors bags, there is a professional authenticator, 'authenticate first ' that is accepted in a dispute if a seller sold you a fake, or if a buyer is claiming a bag you sold them is fake. There is a fee for their service and the price varies depending on what options you choose. You can also send them a link to a listing and for a small fee, they will tell you if it is authentic or not, which saves you money from having to return a fake, or not being able to return it, as many sellers do not accept returns! They are called'authenticate first' and you can find them in a google search. They also do many other brands, They are accepted by PayPal and eBay in authenticity disputes. There are other authenticating services such as 'authenticate 4 u' and 'My Poupette' but neither of them have Michael Kors on their list of bags they will authenticate, but they do authenticate many other brands, such as Coach, Gucci, Louis, Dooney, etc.
WHERE NOT TO GO for Authenticity OPINIONS !!!
Do not got to facebook pages where anyone and everyone claims to be an expert. I have seen one in particular 'guide' that is so full of bad information. Don't waste your time listening to false information on facebook!! Many of them are just playing games and wasting your time. There are too many contradictions there and false, baseless information, I am not saying all of them are wrong, just most.
DO NOT GO TO SALES REPS IN DEPARTMENT STORES or Michael Kors Retailers!These people are sales reps that want to sell you their bags! They are even told to tell you a bag you bought online is fake! Many of them have not worked there very long and know NOTHING about the older or vintage bags and barely know anything about the new ones! The only professional authenticators Michael Kors have are in New York City and you have to mail the bag to them at their headquarters. The sales reps are even TOLD not to authenticate any bags. If they do, they are breaking company policies! The only usefulness of using the retailers to authenticate a bag, is to possibly compare a bag they have in the store to yours, although often this is futile, depending on the year your bag was made. There will be differences from year to year. There are also differences in the collections.
I hope I have given you a general idea what to look for and where you can get help. If you do your homework, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars buying right here on eBay. I am happy to help with any questions or concerns. Feel free to contact me anytime through my eBay messaging. I will be updating this guide as I acquire, and remember more information.
Thank you and Good Luck finding your beautiful, authentic Michael Kors bag!