by Jennifer Smith October 15, 2019 4 min read

Have you ever returned from a rigorous day of shopping some sporadic bargain deals to discover the things you bought are not precisely what they appeared to be in the store?

Maybe the dim lighting made the puke green skirt look like a dazzling, emerald color. Or perhaps you discovered that the pair of jeans you got is not an original Roberto Cavalli product. Sometimes, you might notice that the leather bag you got for yourself is made of faux leather, and not real, animal skin.

Faux leather products are getting harder and harder to spot from their genuine counterparts

The last one of these mishaps is something that happens quite often nowadays. With the advances we have seen in producing manmade and synthetic leather in recent times, it is quite common to mistake a fake leather bag for a real one. The fashion industry has gotten so good at making these imitations of real leather - or what they call “lifelike synthetic leather” - that it is getting harder and harder to distinguish what is genuine from what is a fake.

This is why, in the following paragraphs, we will discuss a few tips on recognizing genuine from a fake leather bag, only by using three of your five basic senses. Let’s begin.

Sight - Pay attention to the brand’s label on the leather bag

Let’s start with the basics. A bag made of real leather is a luxury item, so any brand will be proud to advertise a genuine leather bag as such on the label if that is the case. If the label lacks any mention of the type of leather used, the chances are that it is a fake.

Some trustworthy brands that have truly made it big will also mention when a leather product is fake. For example, the description of the above fake leather bag from Leather Skin Shop clearly states that it isa “Women Premium Faux-Leather Messenger Cross-Body Handbag.” Since Leather Skin Shop does not believe in selling by deception, it is excruciatingly clear in what it offers to its customers.

However, keep in mind that just like honest brands exist, dishonest ones do too. If a brand you have never heard of before claims that their leather product is genuine, do not make the mistake of taking them at their word. To find out the truth about the authenticity of the bag, you can perform the rest of these tests.

Sight - Looking at the price tag is a quick and easy way to know what’s what

Women Tote Crossbody Messenger Genuine Leather Bag

The next prominent feature that sets apart real from fake is the price tag. Because genuine leather is hard to come by and expensive to manufacture into products, authentic leather bags will naturally cost more than their fake counterparts. Compare the price of the artificial leather bag in point one (sold initially at $59.99) with the real one that is shown in the above picture (sold initially at $129.99).

Though both of these leather bags are manufactured by the same brand - Leather Skin Shop- you can quickly tell, which the real deal is and which is not by merely looking at the price tag attached.

Sight - Get up close and personal with the leather bag you are about to buy

Now, let’s say that you are challenged to recognize fake from real by a friend and have not been shown the label or the price tag. How do you manage that?

In this case, it is essential to remember that real animal skin - just like real human skin - has imperfections. So, on a genuine leather bag, you can quickly notice blemishes and color changes. If your leather bag looks uniform without random spots and uneven color patches, it most likely is a fake one.

Touch - Run your fingers over the material and notice the feel of it

Men Brown Genuine Leather Mini Bag


The imperfections that real leather carries are not merely limited to areas of darker color or irregular pattern on the material, but it goes right down to the texture as well. Under your hands, real leather will feel like there are small pebbles latched onto it. In addition to that, it will be supple, stretchable, and pleasantly warm.

Fake leather, on the other hand, will feature none of this. Instead, it will be cold, more rigid, and the texture will be unnaturally smooth. The bag will not bend as easily or wrinkle when you attempt to fold it, unlike its genuine counterpart.

Smell - Take a good long whiff of the leather bag to pick up any scents it is giving off

Tote Genuine Leather Business Shoulder Bag

Last but not least, remember to take a good long whiff before paying up for "genuine leather bags". Products made of real leather carry a characteristic musty smell with them. This is a natural, organic smell that cannot be mimicked by a fake leather item.

Whereas the fake leather bag that you found for a bargain deal will not give off this distinctive scent. Instead, with these, there could be either one of two cases: either there will be no recognizable smell originating from the faux leather, or it will smell of cheap plastic, glue, or chemicals. If any of the above is true, you will know that what you have are a close copy and not the original thing.

The final word

Today, the science of manufacturing a fake leather bag has gone to such a level that these lookalikes are just as fashionable and trendy as the real deal. This has not only made the forever desirable leather bag aesthetic more attainable, but it has also made quite a breakthrough in the ethical fashion industry.

But though there is nothing wrong with carrying a faux leather handbag, any self-respecting fashionista should be able to tell the difference when presented with a real and a fake leather product. All regular leather shoppers must know what makes the two so different and what details they need to pay attention to avoid getting ripped off. To make sure this does not happen, follow the above tips whenever you go shopping for a new leather bag.

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