I remember vividly when I was about 13-14 years old telling my then high school best friend that as soon as I graduate college and get a full time job, I was going to purchase my first Louis Vuitton bag.
Fast-Forward many years later, I am indeed, working a full time job a year exactly after I graduated college and I just so happened to purchase my first LV bag. One thing that I honestly never thought I would do was getting a pre-loved piece. About a little over a month ago I went to the LV store because I’ve been eyeing the Favorite PM crossbody bag. It was the perfect first bag: small, affordable and timeless. And then one day, I was at the Rose Bowl Flea Market waiting in line to purchase my ticket and I remember seeing this huge sign saying something about selling fake Louis Vuitton bags is prohibited and I thought it was pretty interesting how they were specifically mentioning that one designer. In there, I found a stand that featured a lot of Louis Vuitton purses and I know how suspicious it sounds to see vintage Louis Vuitton at a flea market, but remember that sign that I mentioned I saw? It made sense now! I met the owner and he showed me a couple crossbody bags priced around $400ish which I thought was not bad at all considering I was on waitlist for a $1,000 bag. I didn’t end up buying anything but I did asked him for a business card because I was still open to buying a purse from them.
When I got home I found them on instagram as: www.instagram.com/petals_and_hammers and I messaged them and mentioned I was going to purchase my first LV bag but I was open to the idea of buying a pre-loved piece. The only thing I was wanting is for the vachetta ( the beige/brown leather trims) to not be too dark. The vachetta usually darkens as it gets older due to several factors, but mainly the sun. Which is also one of the reasons why I was hesitant about buying a new purse, there is so much you need to look out for like not exposing it too much to the sun because ideally the vachetta would darken slowly overtime so it can still look in good condition.
For about a month I kept checking their Instagram page frequently in hopes that I would find something that really called my name. In the meantime, I was still on waitlist for that Favorite PM. And I also messaged a few popular companies that sell used bags. I’ve seen tons of bloggers collaborating with this one brand that has pre-loved designer purses, I emailed them asking to work together as I was going to purchase my first LV bag and I wanted to share with my followers what I thought was the best place to go for used designer bags. (Little did I know my opinion about them was going to change) I didn’t hear from them at all and tried resurfacing me emails, yet not a word from them. But one day, I saw that Petals & Hammers had the cutest most perfect Montsouris PM which is a mini backpack. They don’t make these anymore so these are all vintage now. I asked for more photos of this piece and it was love at first sight! Perfect condition, a couple watermarks but everything else was just perfect. The hardware, zipper, trims, buckle, straps, all good! The best part? They were selling it for $675. I looked up online used Montsouris PM and all those places like Tradesy & The Real Real had them for over $1,000 and in way worse condition. The cheapest I found was one on Tradesy for a little over $800 but this bag was in such horrible condition, the monogram from the leather was almost all gone, the vachetta was so dark and distressed. It was a no- brainer, I got the bag from them The best part about buying from Petals & Hammers? Supporting local businesses! Like it truly is run by a husband and wife that set up every Sunday at different Flea Markets in LA, have the most fair prices and are just so honest and humble. Definitely hard to find these types of businesses in Los Angeles, specially if it involves designer products.
When I purchased my bag from them I mentioned I was going to write a blog post and share with you guys my experience and what I think is the best business to buy used Louis Vuitton from. Since they also offer Louis Vuitton authentication services, I asked if they wanted to help me by providing a few tips on how to spot a fake Louis Vuitton. So they did. In case that you don’t end up buying from them, it’s really hard to tell if someone is selling a fake LV bag, specially online, so here is a little insert that they provided me with the history of Louis Vuitton and how to spot a fake one.
Louis Vuitton is arguably one of the most iconic fashion brands worldwide. Founded in 1854, the company began as a maker of luggage trunks which could be easily stacked on cross-Atlantic voyages from Europe to America. Over the years, they grew to become a commanding force in fashion industry, becoming must-have for every serious fashionista.
As such, they are also the most counterfeited brand in history. So if you desire to own a Louis Vuitton, but a new piece is not quite in your budget, one option is to purchase a beautiful, authentic, vintage piece that is stylish, unique and is sure to turn a few heads.
There are many factors that go into determining if a LV bag is authentic or not – not all apply to every bag, but these will help steer you away from most fakes.
- Louis Vuitton used real, untreated leather for the handles and trim on most of their styles; Over time, the vachetta leather will darken to a beautiful honey color; Fake bags will stay white or a dirty cream color.
- The LV monogram pattern must be symmetrical and matching exactly on each side, not crooked, or off center.
- The LV in the monogram is usually not cut off by a seam or trim; however, there are some exceptions depending on the style.
- Louis Vuitton hardware is made of brass and will be a dull, yellow-gold color; fake bags are usually brighter yellow and made of a lighter metal.
- The handles of a fake LV will usually have a bright red color painted on the sides of the handles and the leather trim. Authentic bags will turn dark brown in color as the natural leather ages.
- Vintage LV bags will typically have some watermarks or stains on the leather. This is because Louis Vuitton does not treat their leather with any finishing products or wax. Fake bags use plastic/PUC, so the water just rolls right off.
- There is a brown stitch line along the edge of the vachetta leather trim. You should be able to feel the ridge or indentation if you drag your fingernail across it. Fake bags will usually paint this line so there will not be any indentation.
- In 1980, Louis Vuitton began using date codes to thwart counterfeiting; every LV bag and accessory made after 1980 will have a date code; pre-1980 pieces will not have a date code. This code is used to determine where and when the bag was manufactured. Before 1990, there Louis Vuitton used 3 numbers; after 1990, this code will consist of two letters (initials of the city it was made) and 4 numbers. Some fakes will have a code number but 99% of these codes do not follow the proper LV code pattern – an easy way to determine if it is fake.
- Louis Vuitton is a high-end, luxury item. Hence, the stitching will be of high quality, hand sewn and all ‘in line’ with a slight slant in one direction. The stitches should be a mustard-yellow color – not too bright. Fake bags will typically use a thinner, bright yellow thread, which is more suitable for machines.
- The Louis Vuitton heat stamp will vary depending on the time period. But it should be straight and centered – very clear, even and precise.
One common misconception is if the pattern is upside-down, it must be fake. Not true! It really depends on the style. For example, the Speedy and Keepall have a round, barrel shape made from one continuous piece of canvas. So, the pattern will be right-side up on on side and upside down on the other.
I hope this was helpful guys and I thought it was really important for me to mention that this is not sponsored at all. I did not asked for a discount in exchange for this blog post or any social media posts. Needles to say, I called the LV Store and dropped my name from the waitlist and unfollowed all those popular used designer bag accounts on IG. I’m never looking back. We need to support local businesses and realize that most of the times, they are the ones who have the greatest quality and fair price in the market. I highly suggest you go and support them, I definitely will continue to purchase more from them. At times I remember being frustrated for being on waitlist over a month, for not hearing a word from these popular brands on Instagram, but at the end of the day I AM SO THANKFUL that I end up purchasing my bag where I did because these people actually CARE. They care about you, they care about their products and they are truly the type of business we should be supporting. If you have any questions feel free to DM me or leave a comment!
Once again, the store I bought my bag from is:
Petals & Hammers: www.instagram.com/petals_and_hammers
If you live in the LA area you can find them on Sundays at: Rose Bowl Flea Market, Long Beach Antique Market and Topanga Antique Market.