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(Editor’s note: This post was updated 11/15/16.) Is your Kate Spade bag or wallet fake? Playful sophistication is the hallmark of Kate Spade New York, and since the brand’s launch in 1993, women on every continent have been splurging on its sleek, utilitarian and adorably colorful bags. But when a peek at the price tag makes a fashionista grapple with style vs. smart spending, she might be likely to fall prey to a too-good-to-be-true deal. Of course, we all want to believe that a girl can find an authentic Kate Spade bag for less than full price, and she can, but how does she know if that Kate Spade bag or wallet is fake? Here are five ways to tell.
5 Ways to Spot a Kate Spade Fake
1. Location, Location, Location
You can’t get authentic Kate Spade from a purse party, a flea market, or in shopping districts such as Chinatown or Santee Alley, nor can the bags be found at mall kiosks or auction sites (sorry). Kate Spade retailers are found in every state and every continent, but those are mainly department stores, luxury boutiques and Kate Spade stores. If you didn’t find your prospective purchase at one of these retailers, it’s safe to say it’s a fake.
2. The Label
On a real Kate Spade bag, a label with a country of origin will be sewn into the bag’s interior. There will also be a label sewn onto the front of the bag. With bags made since the year 2000, the label will say “Kate Spade New York,” unless it is part of a special collection, in which case it will say something such as “Decade” or “Maira Kalman” below the name. If one of these labels is missing, it’s definitely a fraud.
3. Flip It Over
Look out for large metal feet on the bottom of Kate Spade purses. Big, pointy metal studs or ones wider than the size of a dime are signs that you’re not looking at a real Kate Spade purse.
4. Deja Vu?
Question any Kate Spade purse that looks like another designer’s work. Purses that seem similar to ones made by Dior, Burberry, Coach and other high end designers yet have a Kate Spade label are definite fakes. Kate Spade has a very distinct style and never copies her competitor’s lines.
5. An Eye For Design
Rule out color-block purses, bags with two small pockets in the front and backpacks. Kate Spade did these more than a decade ago and if you see one, it’s likely to be a fake. Even if it is real, it’s probably not worth the money. Also rule out purses with a single large black stripe on top, sunflower prints, toile, camouflage, tie-dye or prints with the faces of celebrities. Kate Spade has never designed bags in those prints.
Still not sure? The simplest way to be sure of a bag’s authenticity is to visit katespade.com and compare the bag in your hand with the ones on the website. Never splurge unless you’re absolutely positive it’s real. Even if the search takes time, at least you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve got the real thing.