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Spotting Fakes

No matter what city you live in, if you want to find knock-off merchandise, your search won’t be too hard. From New York to LA and everywhere in between, knock-offs are a dime a dozen. Now, it’s one thing if you are purposely setting out to find a fake, but it’s quite another if you think you’re getting a good deal on authentic merchandise and end up with a knock off. Your friendly fashion specialist Tee is here to teach you how to spot a fake.


The name Rolex is synonymous with luxury. These timepieces may have a price point of anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 a pop. Rolex has a wide array of watch styles, but for the sake of this article, we’ll just focus on the Oyster Rolex Datejust. Getting one at $1,000 could be an amazing deal, but here are some surefire steps to use to make sure you don’t get burned.

  • ​Perpetual motion second hand: This is probably the most well-known way to spot a fake Rolex. Does your second hand tick or does it move in a sweeping fashion. If it’s ticking, it’s not a Rolex.
  • Screws versus pins: Are the links in your watch smooth (denoting pins) or not (denoting screws)? If the links are connected with pins, you might be getting screwed…literally.
  • Band Weight:  Does the watch feel light and hollow? If so, don’t buy it. It’s totally a fake.
  • Sapphire crystal face versus a regular glass face:  This can be tested by putting a few drops of water on the face of the watch. Does it pool? If not, your Rolex is a knock-off.
  • Clear backs: If you can see through the back of your Rolex, it isn’t an original. Some clear backs were made in the 1930s, but they weren’t made available to the public.

Louis VuittonAudrey Hepburn

Another name that evokes a feeling of luxury, the Louis Vuitton speedy bag has been a staple in many a fashionista’s closet. Created in 1965 at the behest of Audrey Hepburn (The 60s version of Carrie Bradshaw), this handbag became an instant classic and went down in fashion history as a go-to hand bag. But since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, in no time, fake versions of the classic handbag were popping up everywhere. Here are the top ways to tell if your LV Speedy 25 is a fake.

  • Stitching: This will be as close to perfect as stitching can get. Even the number of stitches will be the same from bag to bag
  • Symmetry: The bag will be almost completely symmetrical if you are measuring from the middle of the bag to either side. If it is not, you most likely have a fake.
  • Upside-down printing:  One side will be face up and one side will be upside-down print due to LV using one continuous piece of leather, no splicing is allowed. The integrity of the logo depends on this.
  • Brown canvas lining: The Speedy 25 will only ever have canvas lining and one pocket on the inside. It will not say “Louis Vuitton”, “Made in France” or have any other writing on the inside. It will also never have a zipper on the inside. If your bag does, it isn’t authentic.
  • D-ring inside: Your LV Speedy 25 should always have a d-ring on the inside. No exceptions.

Ray-Ban WayfarersMJ Ray Bans

Ray-Ban has been making quality eyewear for over 80 years. And with great popularity comes great knock-offs. The wayfarer might be the most duplicated eye-wear in history, second only to Ray-Ban Aviators. Here is how you can tell if you are getting taken advantage of when purchasing Ray-Ban Wayfarers .

  • Luxoticca engraved logo: Luxoticca is the parent company that manufactures these shades. If there isn’t a Luxoticca logo, or if it appears to be painted as opposed to engraved, someone is probably trying to pull the wool over your eyes
  • Engraving on the right lens:  If you look at your glasses and the Ray-Ban logo is located above the hinge, you might be getting great a good deal. If the engraving is below the hinge, you could be learning an expensive lesson.
  • Lens labeling: The label on the lens should be made of shiny gold foil and be perfectly centered. It also shouldn’t be a regular “sticker” but the kind that adheres due to static electricity.
  • High-quality metal hinges: The authentic Wayfarers will have large, well-made metal hinges. If the ones you are looking at are small or look like they are painted metal or plastic, you should pass on them because they most likely are knock-offs
  • Ray-Ban signature nose pads: To me, this is the greatest test of an authentic pair of Ray-Bans versus a fake pair. Most purveyors of fake merchandise won’t even bother with this step, but since Ray-Ban is a quality product, they will pay attention to this detail. If you look closely at the nose pads, you will see a Ray-Ban signature on the inside. If you don’t see that, you are either A) about to purchase a knock-off, or B) the glasses were well-worn before you got them. Either way, you should be able to negotiate pricing. (Or not buy them at all because who wants used sunglasses?)

These are my tips on sniffing out a knock-off. In the more general sense, another way to tell if the merchandise you are thinking of buying is fake is the reaction of the seller. Does he or she get offended or upset when you ask probing questions? Do they attempt to rush the sale? Do they try to convince you that their merchandise is real without offering you any real qualifiers? If any of these situations apply, the seller isn’t a quality representative, and they are probably selling something that you definitely shouldn’t be buying. An honest 3rd party sales rep will understand your need to gather information and should actually appreciate and welcome your questions.  Never allow yourself to feel rushed into a sale and don’t let the seller make you feel like your questions aren’t valid. At the end of the day, it’s your hard-earned money that you’re spending and if you’re searching for authenticity at a discount, you need to make sure you don’t get taken for a ride.

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