Spotted: Fake Longchamp Le Pliage

9/15/2014 02:02:00 PM

I thought the Longchamp Le Pliage isn't as sought after nowadays here in the Philippines, so I am surprised to see quite a number of people still going crazy about this utility bag, much like how I was a few years back. But who would want to pass from great deals offered on websites such as Cash Cash Pinoy, Metrodeal, Ensogo, etc., not to mention Instagram and Facebook online stores selling it for an affordable price compared to Rustan's. But beware! Authenticity cannot be guaranteed even if they claim so.

Here are some points I think every Filipino bag lover should take note of before spending their hard earned money:

1. Some blogs outline key points that every Le Pliage handbag needs to have. Some websites have moderators that would help authenticate an item. If this is accessible to you, a random internet user, what makes you think that counterfeit makers have not looked at these guides or visited these websites too? For all we know, they might have used these guides to produce a high-end replica.

2. Of course Longchamp has set parameters that need to be followed during production. But they may not have a strict rule on how the Le Pliage line is manufactured. I am not questioning the company’s principles, this is just personal observation. Why do I say so?



My friend and I both have a medium short handle in beige. Both items were purchased at a Longchamp store overseas. There is no difference on construction and quality. However, if you look closely, the bag on the left appears to have a lighter tone. When this image was captured, both handbags are relatively new and have never been cleaned or washed. My point is, if these products were crafted under strict guiding principles, they would look identical. Do you think this would happen if you put two brand-new LV Monogram Speedys side-by-side? I don’t think so.

3. The cheapest medium short handle Le Pliage I found was in Greenhills, priced between 3500Php to 4000Php. This was 2 to 3 years ago.

Yes you read it right – Greenhills. Despite the fact that this shopping haven is known for counterfeit items, there are stores that showcase authentic products. Anyone who has scavenged every nook and corner would know. Genuine bags sold at a cheaper price here do not come in abundance. The stocks are very limited. If you ask the sales lady when the next stock arrives, they would probably tell you “pagbalik po ng amo ko from <insert country>” or “hindi pa po kasi ulit nakakalipad yung amo namin papuntang <insert country>.” That’s because store owners would buy bags abroad or would ask friends who are flying out to buy the merchandise for their shops.

4. 2 to 3 years ago, Pliages already cost around 4500Php to 5oooPhp at Duty Free.

5. Out of all the countries my jetsetter friend visited, the cheapest MSH he saw was in Paris. Tagged around 3500Php to 4000Php. This is expected as the brand originated from France. This was a few months back (from the date of posting this topic).

NOTE: Euro was still above 60 Philippine Pesos at the time conversion was computed.

POINT IS: If you see any coupon/deals website or any Instagram and Facebook store claiming to sell authentic pieces but are priced lower than that of France (the brand originated from Paris if I’m not mistaken), then you better start doubting its authenticity. And obviously, since the Le Pliage line is the most inexpensive out of Longchamp’s wide array of products, it just follows that others would be priced higher.

Still not convinced? Let me tell you my personal experience. To date, I own 4 Longchamp Le Pliage bags.



I have a medium short handle in beige and a large short handle in black. Since they were cheaper abroad, I asked my friend pick them up for me when he was flying out.


I also have a medium short handle in Peacock and Graphite. I got them both from a Facebook shop. At first I was quite hesitant because it only costs 2500Php which is too good to be true. The seller sounded pretty confident claiming that their goods are the real deal. I was even told that I can take the bag to Rustan’s and have it looked at. If it was found to be a replica, they said my money will be returned no questions asked.

I purchased the peacock handbag a little over 2 years ago. As soon as I got the parcel I checked key areas, following the superguide on how to spot a fake Longchamp Le Pliage put together by Snob Affair. Guess what? It matched!!! Down to the codes on the plastic tab. I couldn't see any difference.

Click here to see the guide.

Last year my mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday. You guessed it! A second purchase from that very same online store. This time around when the graphite handbag arrived I couldn't help but notice that the stitching on the side leather tabs where a bit off. It wasn't as clean compared to the peacock tote. The “feel” of the nylon material was smoother too. Once again I followed the guide, but everything else seem to be on point. Despite this occurrence, I firmly believe that my speculations where confirmed – this online store was selling high quality replicas!

Just go back to point #1 stated earlier. Surely these counterfeit manufacturers got a hold of what a Le Pliage tote needed for it to seem authentic.


I believe the best way to tell if a Le Pliage is fake or not is by comparing the side leather tabs, and this is just my personal opinion. I didn't notice the difference until all three were laid side-by-side. See the perfect cut and shape of the authentic bag? See the difference in size?

back side

Thread color is almost the same front and back, but did you notice how clean the stitching on my beige MSH is?



Missing an indent of the jockey logo at the back side of the leather flap doesn't mean the bag is fake. My beige handbag (bought in LC HK) doesn't have a very noticeable indention. I've also seen some with no logo indention at all, even though it was purchased from a store.


Purse forum detected the real ones, despite the fact that the hardware went through normal wear and tear over the years. Obviously I couldn't let them know that the products were purchased from the store, because that would be a dead giveaway. Duh.



I had to say that all four bags were gifts, to somehow test their ability to spot the real ones. They still knew which were fake despite the very limited information I gave.

I'm in no position to say Purse Forum is a reliable source just because they got mine right, but I'm also not in the position to question their skills. Hear this: they may get it right, but sometimes they also make mistakes. Some of my close friends tested their authentications skills - there were incidents when real bags were labelled fake and vice versa.

Click here to see the pictures of the Black LSH.
Click here to see the pictures of the Beige MSH.
Click here to see the pictures of the Peacock MSH.
Click here to see the pictures of the Graphite MSH.

Was I disappointed that the items I acquired from that online store turned out to be fake? 
No. It's definitely better than the other lousy replicas out in the market. The peacock handbag braced winds and rainfall a few times (I have a bad habit of not bringing an umbrella). The leather never chipped off and my stuff inside didn't get soaked. For the price I paid, the bags are sturdy, well-made and served their purpose.

Do I think that this online store purposely lied just to close this sale?
I honestly do not know. I am in no position to judge them.

Would I buy from the same seller again?
Maybe. I haven't given this a thought.

From one bag lover to another, save yourself from the hassle. Take note of the 5 points I raised earlier. And think about this: If they these Facebook/Instagram shops and various coupon websites are selling counterfeit Le Pliage handbags, what about the other high end lines of Longchamp? Just now I've seen some websites selling a LC Cuir for just 6999Php. The price tag in Rustan's is almost 40k. That's 30k difference! UNBELIEVABLE.

It’s been a year since that realization. I never felt the need to get back to the seller, or to even write about this topic. But the fact that a lot people are still lead to believe they got a decent bargain pushed me to put my own experience in writing.So if you haven't bothered scrutinizing your Le Pliage tote because you thought that it's the real thing, better start checking. NOW.

Just remember: if it's too good of a deal, then most likely it's not real.


Update as of 02.10.2015:




A friend of mine recently bought a LLH in Peacock at the Longchamp store in Paris. The bag is made from China. The stitching and the side tab's cut is clean. The jockey logo indention at the leather flap's back side is almost not visible, but it's there.

Update as of 03.27.2015


backside


One of my best friends grabbed a MSH in Citrine at the flagship store in Paris. Do you see the clean stitching and how neat the cut of the leather tab is? The jockey logo indent at the backside of the leather flap is very visible in this bag.



backside

I asked my best friend to pick up a MSH in Coral for me as well during his trip to France. Notice that the indent of the jockey logo at the leather flap's backside is not that visible. You can almost say there is no indent. And don't get me started on the stitching underneath the side tab. How horrible!

Both handbags had a price tag of 65 Euros. As of today the exchange rate is 49.19Php = 1 Euro. That's roughly around 3197.35 Php.

To reiterate my point earlier: it doesn't look like a clear-cut process and stringent quality assurance for Pliage production is in place. If there was, these differences wouldn't even come up.






So I placed them side-by-side once again. Besides the difference of the leather tab's cut and stitching, here are some of my new observations:
  • Authentic Pliages appear to have darker leather color, regardless if it's brand new or not. Notice that my Coral handbag's side tab (new) exhibits almost the same shade as my 4-year-old Beige tote. Now compare them to my 2-year-old Graphite and 3-year-old Peacock bags. See the OBVIOUS difference?
  • There's a visible bump caused by the nylon's edge on the two authentic bags. While the other two, has little to none.
Update as of 06.17.2015

Two days ago I dropped by Rustan's Makati. I wasn't intending on looking at any bags but when I accidentally passed by the Longchamp stall, curiosity kicked in. MSH Pliages are nowpriced at 5250Php! I remember these totes almost hitting the 8k tag 5 years ago.

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