Designer purses are wonderful creations - made from high-quality leathers and rich fabrics, carefully crafted with great attention to detail. They also come with large price tags. For the average woman, a $400 purse is just not a purchase she can make...which creates two fields of businesses.
First, the counterfeiters. They duplicate those designer purses, well and poorly. You can find awful fakes - plastic instead of leather, poorly printed "logos - practically shouting to the world their status. For prices of $20 or so, you get what you pay for - and don't really expect the real thing. You can also find very well made fakes, and those can be exceptionally deceiving - leathers and fabrics that are good quality, perfect stitching, and hardware cast from a mold of the real item. These high-quality fakes often command higher prices as well - $100 and up - which makes them feel that much more legitimate.
The second business around designer purses is the resellers - people on eBay and similar sites who sell new and used designer purses for less than retail. Honest resellers offer items they know are genuine - either purchased themselves from a reputable store, or very carefully authenticated. Dishonest resellers - of which there are many - will offer fakes of all quality, sometimes by listing a real purse but sending the counterfeit.
I happen to consider myself an honest reseller - when I offer designer purses in my eBay store, they are generally something I found in a Nordstrom's clearance section. (Can't get much more reputable than that) On occasion, however, I do run across designer items at thrift stores...and then the painstaking authentication process begins.
Most fakes can be easily spotted, if you've seen the real designer items. The logo printing isn't right, or an inside tag is missing. Occasionally, however, even I can be fooled temporarily! This is one such story.
While shopping at my local thrift store, I found 2 possible designer purses - stashed in electronics, where obviously an employee was hoping to hide them until s(he) could buy them. One was a Gucci look-alike - while the outside logo print was nicely done, the inside fabric was plastic-like and cheap. I put that purse back in the "stash". The second purse looked like a Christian Dior logo. The fabric logo print was clean and distinct, the stitching throughout was pristine and uniform, and the leather strap was nice quality. Looking at the hardware, I could see multiple "CD" and "Christian Dior" stampings in hidden locations. The inside lining was a woven black fabric with "Christian Dior" as part of the pattern.
I don't normally sell Dior - it rarely goes on sale - but this purse looked close enough to be worth my $6 at the thrift. I went home, telling myself it was probably fake...but hoping for the best.
To authenticate it, I went to eBay's Guides, and looked for Dior purses. Searching through the guides, I saw multiple items to look for - certain hardware shape, check. Thickness of the hanging "D", check. Woven, not printed, name on the lining, check. This purse had so many hallmarks of a real Dior...
...but ultimately, I've decided that it's just a very well-made fake. (I'm still mildly hopeful that it's just a vintage purse with minor variations...but not enough to sell it) The shape is not quite right, for one. For another, there's no leather tag inside, which my research tells me should exist. Small details, really - but critical ones.
The moral of this story (of course there's one) - if you want to buy a discount designer purse, do your research! Know everything there is to know about the kind of purse you want, make sure you buy from a reputable seller...and realize that even the 'experts' can be fooled occasionally, so don't feel too bad if it happens to you.
Me, I'll be carrying that knock-off Dior occasionally. If I thought it was genuine...so will everyone else!