My love for Coach items prompted me to learn how to identify a fake Coach bag when I see one. It's sad that there are so many knockoff Coach bags out there because you can get a real one at a Coach outlet store for under $100. There have been too many times when I've had to bite my tongue because a coworker or acquaintance proudly showed me the great deal she got on her new "Coach" bag. Just because I know how to identify a fake Coach bag, I don't want to sound like a know-it-all by telling her she bought a knockoff. Heck, if she loves the bag, why ruin her day?
1. Serial Number
To begin with the basics, a Coach serial number should always start with the abbreviation for number, "No." There should also be four numbers after the dash in the serial number, not three. When inspecting the credo patch inside the bag, the paragraph above the serial number should always be in all capital letters. This may sound like common sense, but you can identify a fake Coach bag by looking for the simple signs, such as crooked or off-center print on the credo patch. Coach is a high-quality brand name that doesn't let shoddy details like this pass through their inspection process.
While we're on the topic of shoddy details, look at the condition of the Coach bag's stitching. If the stitching appears sloppy or crooked, chances are good it's a fake. Each stitch should follow a straight line and be uniformly sized, meaning you won't see some stitches that are long, while others on the same seam are short. Also, Coach typically doesn't over-stitch the edges or corners of bags to prevent fraying. There are some pretty convincing knockoffs floating around out there, but some manufacturers cut corners when it comes to the tiniest details, like the bag's stitching.
While there has been some controversy on the internet about the zippers used on authentic bags, you can almost always trust that an authentic Coach bag will have a YKK zipper. I say "almost always" because it's not completely unheard of for Coach to produce bags without this particular zipper. However, it's not really common. Look at the tiny metal zipper pull for an engraved "YKK," which isn't always easy to see. If you can't quite tell, zip and unzip the bag a couple times. Real Coach bags should have smooth zippers that open and close easily.
Sometimes, the telltale signs of a fake Coach bag are the most obvious ones, such as the font of the logo. For instance, the "A" in "COACH" always comes to a precise point. It is never rounded at the top. Also inspect the "C" to make sure each one is uniform and has the exact same shape. Manufacturers of cheap knockoffs sometimes overlook these small, yet important details. Keep your eye on the hang tag because this is a common place for a fake bag's font to appear slightly irregular or misshapen.
Coach never produces bags that have the "CC" pattern on both the exterior and the lining. If the outside of the bag has the "CC" pattern, the lining will not. The bag's exterior must not have any "CC" pattern at all in order for it to be lined with "CC" fabric. Many knockoffs break this rule, so it should be one of the first and easiest things to look for when inspecting a bag for authenticity. Keep in mind that Coach does manufacture bags that don't have any "CC" pattern at all, on neither the exterior nor the lining.
6. "CC" Pattern Irregularities
Look for irregularities with the "CC" pattern. For the most part, a seam will not cause the "CC" pattern of an authentic Coach bag to break because the fabric is matched up on the both sides of the seam. The "CC" pattern always has two horizontal and vertical rows of this pattern, never just one. Plus, the "CC" pattern should be perfectly aligned, both horizontally and vertically. Many times, knockoff bags will have a pattern that is slightly crooked or askew. Look carefully at the "CC" pattern to make sure the horizontal "C" touches the vertical "C," which is always the case on an authentic monogram bag.
7. Made in China
In the past, you could identify a Coach knockoff if it was made in China. Nowadays, that is not the case. Many, if not most, Coach bags are now manufactured in China. Even so, the quality is still very high and there shouldn't be any little white tags sticking out of the liner that say "Made in China." Originally, most Coach bags were made in Italy, but it is probably a whole lot cheaper for production to take place in China, instead.
Although these are the major signs of a knockoff Coach bag, there could be others. Just use your judgment. If the bag doesn't look or feel authentic, it probably isn't. Have you ever inadvertently bought a fake Coach bag?