How to Spot Fake MCM Bags: 5 Ways to Tell Real Backpacks

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MCM bags have been a popular leather luxury brand since the ‘80s, and while they’ve had their ups and downs, the brand has made a comeback in recent years and is a world-class brand.

Billie Eilish is the face of MCM's Fall/Winter 2019 campaignBillie Eilish is the face of MCM’s Fall/Winter 2019 campaign

Celebrities like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and even Cristiano Ronaldo use MCM bags. If you want to get yourself a bag just like theirs, it’s important to be able to tell if you’re buying an authentic bag or a counterfeit, especially if you aren’t buying from the official store.

Where to Buy MCM Bags

You can buy MCM bags either from their physical locations all over the world or purchase them from their online store at MCM Worldwide. That’s where you can buy official MCM bags straight from the designer.

British interior designer Kelly Hoppen and the CEO of MCM, Sung Joo Kim, at the opening of the new MCM Store in Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, LondonBritish interior designer Kelly Hoppen and the CEO of MCM, Sung Joo Kim, at the opening of the new MCM Store in Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, London, on May 22, 2018

You can also purchase real MCM bags from online stores that sell authentic designer bags. These sites include Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

If you’d rather not buy from the MCM store itself, then these sites are the next best retailers to buy genuine backpacks and handbags.

Finally, you can buy MCM bags from other online marketplaces like eBay, but they’re generally not as trustworthy as the other options.

1. Check the Materials of the Bag

All designer brand bags use only the finest leather, and MCM definitely is no exception. High-quality leather is easily distinguishable by its texture, toughness, and smell.

German actress Franca Berlin inspects her bag at the MCM Berlinale brunchGerman actress Franca Berlin inspects her bag at the MCM Berlinale brunch in Berlin on February 11, 2007

The rich leather is generally smooth and uneven, due to the nature of animal skin being imperfect. It feels supple and soft as well. Finally, you can tell that the leather is the real deal if the leather doesn’t smell “fresh” or “factory-made.”

If the leather used is rough, tough, and smells bad, you’re probably looking at a cheap knock-off of an MCM bag.

2. Inspect the Size and Shape of the Bag

An easy way to quickly determine the authenticity of an MCM bag is to check the shape of the bag itself. More specifically, you want to take note of both the dimensions of the bag and whether or not the bag can stand upright by itself.

MCM bags are made of high-quality leather and materials, meaning that it won’t just collapse if put upright, even if it’s something like a backpack. Just place the bag on a flat surface without supports to see if it can hold up on its own.

MCM offers luxury luggage and handbags with their famous monogram designMCM offers luxury luggage and handbags with their famous monogram design

Aside from this, get the measurements of the bag itself if possible. You can easily find the dimensions of the bag you’re purchasing with a quick Google search, so if you notice that the bag is smaller or larger than stated online, take that as a red flag.

3. Pay Attention to the Logo or Logo Plate

An MCM logo is very easy to notice at first glance, but there are many details in it that counterfeit bags often don’t get right. You can use these inconsistencies to determine if the bag is fake or not.

A great place to start when examining the logo is the leaves of the MCM logo. Remember that there are always 9 leaves on the left side, and 8 leaves on the right. Any more or less is proof of a fake bag.

There’s also an order that all MCM bags follow with their logo, and that’s the MCM title, followed by the bay leaf logo, and MUNCHEN (top to bottom).

Iconic MCM backpacks with high-quality hardware Iconic MCM backpacks with high-quality hardware 

Aside from the logo’s design, look for the differences in the quality of the print. If you’re familiar with the logo found on the bag’s plate, you’ll know that everything doesn’t look too big or too small.

Counterfeit bags may have the same design and format, but sometimes the logo can end up too big or small, or too thick or thin. Know how to tell the difference.

4. Examine the Hardware and Accessories Used

When examining the hardware of an MCM bag, you can’t just determine the authenticity of it by looking at its quality – the luxury brand uses hardware that’s easy to distinguish, which is great for telling the difference between a real and a fake.

For starters, check the screws that keep the logo plate in place. They’re slotted (not star-shaped) and can be removed from the plate. If the screws are simply part of the plate itself, then it’s not an MCM bag. You can also look at the zippers MCM uses – the brand uses YKK zippers.

Authentic MCM travel bag made from luxury leatherAuthentic MCM travel bag made from luxury leather

If you’re unable to tell the difference with just that, though, you can always go back to check the overall quality of the hardware. Designer bags have hardware that isn’t easily damaged by scratches, doesn’t have the paint peel off of it, and is generally heavy.

MCM bag hardware, in particular, shines in a golden tint, so that should be a dead giveaway in itself too.

5. Look for the Company Tag

As a final tip, you can check for the company tag found in all modern MCM goods. These tags were added when Sungjoo Group purchased the luxury brand in 2005. Since then, they’ve manufactured these tags inside the bags.

If you see “Made in Korea” or “Made in Italy”, that’s a good sign as most bags are made in these locations. Also, if you’re getting a backpack, it must have these tags, as MCM started releasing them after they started adding tags to their apparel.

Questions About MCM

What is MCM?

MCM Worldwide is a luxury designer brand founded in 1976 in Munich, Germany by Michael Cromer. The brand gained popularity during the 1980s and is seeing another resurgence to fame these past few years. The brand was bought by the Sungjoo Group, a Korean fashion retail conglomerate, in 2005.

What does MCM stand for?

MCM stands for “Michael Cromer München”. This is the full name of the original founder of the MCM Worldwide brand. He was both an actor and a model during the company’s founding.

On social media, it is also an acronym for “Man-Crush Monday,” a popular way to increase social reach when sharing photos of attractive men on Instagram.

How much do MCM bags typically cost?

MCM bags are expensive like most other designer brand bags. Depending on the kind of bag you’re purchasing, you’ll end up paying anywhere from $625 to $1000 or more for a single backpack.

While MCM bags in the 1990s used to cost more than similar products from Louis Vuitton, the company now offers backpacks and purses at a wide range of price points.

What is Cognac Visetos?

It is the name of the brand’s signature logo-printed material, which appears on many of its products.

Is MCM cheaper in Korea?

Yes, you may be able to get a good deal if you buy backpacks at duty-free department stores, but the selection is often quite limited.

According to an interview with MCM’s owner Sung-Joo Kim in The Business of Fashion, MCM is the second-biggest fashion brand in Korea by sales after Louis Vuitton.

What is MCM Electronics?

Now part of Newark Electronics, an electronic components distributor, MCM Electronics was a public company in the consumer electronics industry. Founded in 1976 in Springboro, Ohio, MCM Electronics ceased operations in 2017 and merged with Newark Electronics.

Credit: Vince Maher / WENN

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