The Truth About Counterfeit Luxury Handbags

Yes, it’s a thing. And it’s a huge problem.

Becca Risa Luna
20 min readApr 24, 2018


Counterfeit Hermes and Goyard handbags and accessories

Most people today are completely unaware of the serious issues behind the enterprise of counterfeit fashion goods, particularly within the designer handbag and accessories market. Breaking the law with a replica bag is justified with claims like “sellers are just giving people what they want at a more affordable price”, and “I’m just carrying it for a little while, I can’t afford the real thing”, and “the luxury companies have so much money so they aren’t really being hurt.”

One of the biggest issues facing consumers in the luxury market is the sheer volume of illegal designer goods like Louis Vuitton handbags and Gucci bags (you may have seen them on Instagram).

How are consumers supposed to know the difference between a real, authentic designer bag and a fake? Why is it illegal? And does it even matter?

For decades, tourists used to flock to New York City’s Canal Street to look at knockoff handbags from sellers discreetly whispering designer names like “Gucci” and “Louis”, then leading them into back rooms filled with plastic-wrapped purses. You may remember the Sex and The City Episode where Samantha and Carrie buy a fake Fendi out of the trunk of someone’s car in LA. These are more obvious examples.

A woman walks down the street with a Louis Vuitton look alike that her friend gave her as a gift. People have found themselves in embarrassing situations when their fashion accessory was discovered to be a fake or a counterfeit item — like that time the store manager at Tiffany & Co. had to pull me aside to tell me necklace an ex gave me “appears to be a counterfeit Tiffany & Co. piece” and that I needed to leave the store immediately (is my privilege showing?).

What I’m trying to say is that even the smartest shoppers — even the ones that do their research — can get fooled by counterfeits. Counterfeiters are savvy these days.

In my own world travels through Southeast Asia, Northern Africa, and Mexico, I’ve witnessed all kinds of counterfeits.



Becca Risa Luna

Fashion writer, luxury resale expert, and personal essayist.