How to Tell Real Michael Kors Purses: 9 Ways to Spot Fake Bags

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American fashion designer Michael Kors rose to international prominence after the brand’s chief creative officer and founder, Michael David Kors, joined Project Runway as a judge at the height of the reality show’s popularity.

Kors, who was born in 1959, was already established as a sportswear designer when he broke onto the show’s set but leveraged the opportunity to convert his brand to a household name by shifting to a new focus: Handbags.

American fashion designer Michael David Kors is the honorary chairman and chief creative officer of his brand, Michael KorsAmerican fashion designer Michael David Kors is the honorary chairman and chief creative officer of his brand, Michael Kors (Credit: WENN)

Today, Michael Kors-branded leather goods are coveted by men and women all across the globe. The brand namesake’s creations are so popular that counterfeits have started popping up. He’s believed to have a net worth of $600 million dollars.

While some customers buy fake purses and knock-off wallets willingly, many others simply can’t tell the difference when shopping online.

We’ll show you nine easy ways to tell whether a Michael Kors bag is the real deal.

1. Buy from authorized retailers

To avoid the risk of purchasing counterfeit products, it is best to buy directly from the official Michael Kors website, a Michael Kors retail store, a reputable department store, or authorized retailers like Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue.

You can buy discounted Michael Kors purses on Amazon, Nordstrom Rack, and Saks OFF 5TH.

Taylor Swift heads out with the 'Casey' satchel while Hilary Swank attends an event with a Spring 2013 buckled clutchLeft: Taylor Swift heads out with the “Casey” satchel. Right: Hilary Swank attends an event with a Spring 2013 buckled clutch (Credit: WENN)

The American fashion designer works with customs authorities, law enforcement, and legal representatives globally in an effort to prevent the sale of counterfeit Michael Kors products, both online and offline. According to The Fashion Law, it’s one of the most counterfeited brands in the United States.

In September 2019, New Haven Register reported that the fashion house had filed a lawsuit against vendors and operators of The Boulevard Flea Market in New Haven, Connecticut, alleging counterfeit goods bearing the company’s brand have been sold there for years.

2. Get acquainted with Saffiano leather

Michael Kors bags have become synonymous with Saffiano leather. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand’s trademark material, Saffiano is calf leather with a fine criss-cross pattern pressed on it by a machine.

An original will feel structured and rigid, while synthetics tend to be soft and floppy.

Original Saffiano leather will also have a slight gloss to it. Please note that not all genuine bags are made with real leather.

Michael Kors bags have become synonymous with Saffiano leatherMichael Kors bags have become synonymous with Saffiano leather

3. Familiarize yourself with the two official Michael Kors logos

Michael Kors typically uses two different logos: the expanded one and the circle emblem.

The expanded version should be precisely cut with sharp edges, and the letters should be evenly spaced. Inauthentic versions of this logo tend to stand out from the leather more, while legitimate logs are embedded into the leather and perfectly centered.

Whitney Large Logo Convertible Shoulder BagWhitney Large Logo Convertible Shoulder Bag, $234.00

The circle emblem shows the letters M and K at the center. The letters should be distinct and surrounded by a perfect circle. Often, fakes will feature logos that look a little wonky and unsymmetrical.

Logo hardware should feel heavy and substantial and not like coated plastic. From time to time, Michael Kors does use a plain MK to embellish some bags as well.

4. Know quality handles

An original Michael Kors bag should use sturdy hardware to fasten the handles of the bag.

Fake bags typically use rounded handles that don’t feature stamping. On genuine bags, the joint hardware is slightly rectangular with rounded edges, and the expanded logo is stamped on one side. The original hardware should also feel hefty.

Miranda Kerr opts for the 'Selma' crossbody bag while Kate Hudson prefers the slouchy 'Large Riley' toteLeft: Miranda Kerr wears a bright “Selma” crossbody bag. Right: Kate Hudson prefers the slouchy “Large Riley” tote (Credit: WENN)

Another subtle telltale sign in an original Michael Kors is four even and perfectly proportionate stitches underneath the handle hardware.

Knock-off Michael Kors bags do feature the four stitches as well, but they’re often sloppily executed.

An original Michael Kors bag should have the handles joined to the body using sturdy hardware

Below the stitching is a screw that should feel flat to the touch and shouldn’t protrude from the bag.

The handle of an authentic tote must be made from premium leather and shouldn’t wrinkle around the foam tube. Additionally, leather tabs should neatly conceal the handle edges instead of exposing the edge stitching.

5. Have a feel for quality zippers and zip closures

Authentic Michael Kors zippers have a brass finish and are usually paired with an elongated zipper pull. The expanded Michael Kors logo is engraved cleanly onto the pull.

Counterfeit zipper pulls will typically use the rounded logo and are usually made out of plastic with a metallic finish. This type of pull is noticeably more prone to breaking, flaking, and chipping.

An authentic Michael Kors zipper has a brass finish and is usually paired with an elongated zipper pull

When opening or closing the zip, an original should feel more rigid. Pay close attention to the structure of the bag upon opening the zip: the shape of an original will remain structured, while a fake will gape wide open.

Another tip? The zipper on an authentic Michael Kors bag ends before the leather tab, whereas the zipper on a fake usually tucks into it.

6. The shoulder strap should be sewn on correctly

A nicely sewn loop should hold the strap to the tote body. On classic MK bags, the loop is stitched above the seam. On fakes, the loops tend to be stitched into the seam. The small difference in stitching makes the strapless durable, and more prone to snapping.

In an authentic Michael Kors bag, exemptions are made when the straps are sewn into the seam for aesthetic purposes.

Hamilton Large Logo SatchelHamilton Large Logo Satchel, $298

In other models, the straps are usually sewn cleanly on the outside of the tote body. Check for precise stitches and neat leather tabs that conceal the handle ends.

Bags made more recently use clasps, grommets, and buckles instead. Most of the shoulder straps in the newer models are removable.

How to Spot Fake Michael Kors Bag

7. Know your lining

A lot of fake MK totes are lined with logo print material, but they still feature telltale signs that they’re faked. Original Michael Kors totes will use a light, almost beige shade inlining materials.

Most replicas will use a darker material. Knock-off logo prints tend to be heavily shaded, and the logo acronym faces in different directions instead of the single direction that the original logos face.

Both linings are synthetic, but the fake one will likely rustle more and feel stiffer than an authentic one.

Freida Pinto and Karlie Kloss love their Michael Kors reptile print leather totesLeft: Freida Pinto carries a light reptile-print leather tote. Right: Karlie Kloss matches her jacket to a Michael Kors tote (Credit: WENN)

Michael Kors has recently been using the expanded logo on all its newer bags. This can either come in a standard horizontal pattern or cross-hatched with a chain pattern.

Michael Kors has also started to produce suede and Saffiano leather linings that don’t have a pattern printed on them.

How to Spot Fake Michael Kors Bag

8. Know your inside pockets

On larger totes like the Hamilton, one side of the lining will have a zipper pocket with a piece of leather framing the zip. A counterfeit will have a less-than-graceful leather piece that is more rounded than the original.

Usually — but not always — both sides will feature open pockets. The more classic bags will have a cellphone pocket on the left and a flat pocket on the right. The opposite side should have two flat pockets. Fakes tend to duplicate the cellphone pocket on both sides.

Mercer Leather CrossbodyRed Mercer Leather Crossbody, $257

While the pockets may vary from one bag model to another, all open pockets should be should beautifully lined with leather at the edges. The only exception? Handbag models that are lined with suede.

Michael Kors bags often usually feature a lobster clasp made for attaching keys. This detail is often overlooked in counterfeit totes.

9. Stay updated

Like all designers, Michael Kors changes details constantly, so it’s good to keep yourself updated on new products and releases every season. The Michael Kors website offers a great zoom function that allows prospective buyers to get a close-up look at every product’s finer details.

If you are still unsure as to what an authentic Michael Kors handbag should look and feel like, visit an official retailer near you and get acquainted with the real thing.

Michael Kors Fast Facts

Where are Michael Kors products made?

It’s a well-known fact that most of Michael Kors products are sourced from China.

If you see a “Made In” tag that lists a country other than China, however, don’t panic. Michael Kors also produces authentic goods in Italy, Turkey, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Korea.

How much do Michael Kors bags and wallets cost?

Michael Kors bags fall within the range of $50 to $18,000, while wallets can range anywhere from $30 to $895. The official Michael Kors website constantly updates the brand’s list of prices and lists the occasional sales price as well.

Are all Michael Kors bags made from genuine leather?

No, many bags are made of synthetic materials or a mixture of leather and PVC.

Does Michael Kors own Versace and Jimmy Choo?

Yes, they’re all part of the same company that was founded in 1981 by American designer Michael Kors.

Michael Kors is a subsidiary of the multinational fashion holding company Capri Holdings Limited, which was formerly known as Michael Kors Holdings Limited. Jimmy Choo and Versace are also owned by Capri Holdings.

Capri Holdings is the holdings company of Versace, Michael Kors, and Jimmy ChooCapri Holdings is the holdings company of Versace, Michael Kors, and Jimmy Choo (Credit: T. Schneider)

Who is Michael Kors’s husband?

He is married to his former intern, Lance LePere. After dating for almost 20 years, they married in a private ceremony on Southampton’s Dune Beach in New York in August 2011. The couple attained a marriage license at New York City Hall

Michael Kors and his husband Lance LePereMichael Kors and his husband, Lance LePere, at the Roundabout Theater’s 2020 Gala at The Ziegfeld Ballroom on March 2, 2020, in New York City (Credit: Instar / WENN)

“To marry someone as wonderful and special to me as Lance barefoot on a glorious beach is more than I could have dreamed of,” Kors said at the time.

“Lance and I are very excited to finally be able to have the opportunity to marry in our home state after many years together,” added Kors. “We have no plans for a major party, but we will be getting married privately.”

Do Michael Kors bags have serial numbers?

Yes, they do. Handbags, small leather goods, and tech accessories are protected from the original date of purchase by a one-year limited warranty (proof of purchase required).

To obtain service under this warranty, you must provide the serial number of the product and the seller’s name and address.

This video is also a great resource to differentiate between genuine Michael Kors bags and fakes.

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