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January 26 2023

Everything You Need To Know About Buying Second Hand Designer Bags

Like all first-times, buying pre-loved or second-hand designer bags can be nerve-wracking. The big question remains “How do I know if it's real or fake?”. Luckily, you’re in good hands, as spotting a real from the most deceiving fake is our bread and butter. Our guide below gives a rundown of the signs to look out for when shopping pre-loved, so whether you’re investing in a Prada Tote or Dior Saddle bag, you know you’re purchasing the real deal. 

Why Buy a Second Hand Designer Handbag?

 

The used designer bag market is bigger than it’s ever been, with global sales figures upwards of $5 billion according to futuremarketinginsights.com. There’s a few reasons for this. Obviously, second hand designer bags cost considerably less than their brand new counterparts. Fashion lovers can indulge their love of labels and beautiful bags while still being able to pay the bills. It’s simple fashion economics. 

Then there’s the effect on the environment. A second hand designer bag is a far more sustainable choice and has less impact on the planet. Staying ethical doesn’t mean having to compromise on style; preloved designer bags mean we can have all the arm candy we want without it costing the earth.

Last, and maybe not least, is that designer bags, whether they’re brand new or used, are a true investment. While they don’t all hold their box-fresh value, the vast majority of big brand designer bags can be resold for a healthy amount when you’re ready to switch things up. Especially if you’re buying a classic like the Chanel Quilted, one of the most sought-after second hand designer bags.

How Do You Know That A Second Hand Designer Bag Is Real?

This is by far the biggest concern people have when looking to buy a used designer bag. Counterfeits are getting harder to spot; don’t be surprised if you start hearing about super fakes and AAA fakes very soon. Yet there are some classic telltale signs that give away a real vs fake designer bag. Each brand will have its own distinct things to look out for but, in general, these are the go-to rules for figuring out if your second hand designer bag is the real thing or not.

1. Materials

Designer bags use the finest materials. If the preloved bag you want to buy should be a buttery soft lambskin, but the image looks rigid, tough and plastic-like, then it’s a dead giveaway. The finish should be immaculate with no colour splodges or uneven dye jobs. The lining in a fake second hand designer bag will also be made from lower quality materials and will often not exactly match the colour of the original. Fakers use photos to recreate bags so the colours can have a green or yellow hue and be less attractive.

2. Stitching

Nearly all second hand designer bags have been handmade. This means the attention to detail is unsurpassed and you can expect impeccable stitching. If there are stitches missing, uneven stitching or even part of the bag that’s been glued, then avoid. A quilted Chanel bag for instance has tightly woven stitches along each diamond to guarantee long-lasting quality. Fake Chanel bags will have far fewer stitches across each of the quilted diamonds, which is a dead giveaway.
3. Hardware
You won’t find basic flathead screws or coated metals on a genuine designer bag. Imitations will keep costs down by using cheaper hardware. Look out for chains and how tightly they are interlocked, as knock-offs won’t be that secure. Zips are another key feature. They’ll be solid and an integral part of the bag’s aesthetic; if you spot a basic black or silver zip that could be on any fast fashion garment, then alarm bells should ring. Check interior zips too. Big buckles or monogram letters shouldn’t chip either. This is especially important when buying a second hand bag, as scammers might use this to explain away any chips in the metal - you can expect minor scratches maybe, but not chips.

4. Logos

Spotting fake logos can be tricky to the untrained eye. Fashion houses are meticulous about their logos; everything down to the specific colour and the spacing is carefully considered. Louis Vuitton is perhaps one of the most well-known monograms. The famous LV bags are coveted by fashionistas everywhere, which is why there are so many fake Louis Vuitton bags in circulation. Designer bags often have a plate with the brand’s logo too and the interior will have the logo used throughout. If these things are missing, it’s likely not legit.

5. Documentation

It’s widely thought that designer bags come with some kind of certificate of authenticity or date stamps. Many do, but some don’t. With second hand designer bags, it’s easier for those selling fakes to say that the documentation is missing, or to provide a fake certificate that makes you think it must be real. Read up on which designer bags use which method to prove authenticity. Louis Vuitton does not use authenticity documents, nor does Hermes. Chanel on the other hand does issue an authenticity card. When buying a second hand designer bag, you could also ask for the original receipt.

Other Things To Think About When Buying A Second Hand Designer Bag

As well as checking the physical appearance of your intended preloved designer purchase, there are a few other steps you can take to understand if what you’re buying is genuine.

  • Too good to be true - if the price is far lower than you expect, then trust your gut. Too good to be true is a cliché for a reason
  • Returns - is there a full proof returns policy and a legitimate website? If the seller only has WhatsApp and can’t tell you what happens with returns, we’ll bet our designer bag they’re a scammer
  • Homework - do your due diligence. Look at real bags made in the same year and check if the colours and styles match what you’re buying. If that season there were only three neutral colours, but the bag you want is bright pink, then it won’t be real. Look at how many pockets, the shape of the buckles and so on, and measure up against the genuine article

Where To Buy Second Hand Designer Bags

The best way to make sure you’re getting a genuine designer second hand bag is to purchase it from a reputable second hand site. At Luxe Collective, we authenticate every bag; if it isn’t 100% authentic then it won’t be on our website. We also include every lump, bump and minor flaw so that you know exactly what you’re getting. 

When you buy a second hand designer bag, you’re buying the excitement of owning something truly luxurious. It’s not just a bag, it’s a style statement and a nod to who you are, which is why you don’t want to end up with some dodgy knock-off; that’s the kind of bitter disappointment no one deserves. Buying from a trusted second hand designer site isn’t just a guarantee that your bag is authentic, it’s knowing that you can rip open the parcel and wear it straight away.


Luxe Collective has an extensive collection of preloved designer bags from brands like Mulberry, Gucci and, of course, Louis Vuitton. Shop the full collection of pre-loved pieces.