At KiotoBrand, each item in our collection is hand-selected by our in-house experts. Our team of highly skilled authenticators have between 10 and 30 years of experience. They help ensure the world-class craftsmanship of Hermès is lovingly preserved for generations to come.
Hermès Birkin & Kelly bags are the most exclusive and coveted bags in the world, so it’s no surprise the counterfeit industry is thriving. Fake Birkin & Kelly bags can be sophisticated, but it’s impossible to replicate the craftsmanship and extraordinary quality materials that set Hermès apart. With a little know-how and a keen eye for detail, you can learn to authenticate a Birkin & Kelly bag and spot a fake Hermès.
Size/ Leather/ Color / Model Consistency
Stamps and Engravings
Hardware and Clochette
Size/ Leather/ Color/ Model Consistency
You can sometimes rule out a fake if there are discrepancies in the size, variety of leather or color. For example, unless it’s a special edition, Birkin's are only available in size 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 centimetres. Kelly's are only available in size 15, 20, 25, 28, 32, 35, 40, 50 centimetres. Similarly, there are some leathers and colors that have never been used for certain models or certain combinations of size, leather, color and model that have never been made. If you find a Birkin in an irregular size or made from a leather or color that were never used for the model, these are good indicators that the bag is a fake.
Inspect the overall quality of the bag. If you’re fairly familiar with Hermès bags, you will often notice immediately if the ratios are wrong or if something is “off” with the quality. Hermès bags are exceptionally well made and the leather should be flawless. If you are buying a pre-owned bag there is always a chance of staining, wearing or scratches, but the original leather will always be impeccable. Comparing the base of the bag with the handles or the front of the bag from the back may reveal variations in the leather, which is a sure sign of a fake.
One of the first things an authenticator will do is run their fingers along the opening to feel the thickness and smoothness of the bag. A seasoned authenticator will know if there are any inconsistencies that point to the bag being a fake.
A genuine Birkin should stand up on its four studs without toppling or slouching and the handles should stand to attention and not flop.
Stamps and Engravings
The blind stamp is embossed into a hidden spot on the handbag, which varies with the model. However, it is often found on the inside of the closure straps, inside the exterior pocket, or on the top inside of the side panel. Research where the model’s blind stamp should be to ensure it correlates.
Hardware and Clochette
Counterfeit bags often have hardware that is overly shiny and cheap-looking. Hermès hardware should never be too badly worn, even on older, heavily-used bags. All the hardware of your Birkin, including the turnlock, padlock, key and feet (clou) should all match. Check the clou to see if they feel like they could easily be unscrewed. Counterfeit Hermès bags often have cheap and sloppily affixed clou.
The Birkin’s clochette, the leather case that stores the keys, is always made from one piece of leather. A clochette made with more than one piece of leather is certainly a fake.
Sloppy stitching is an easy way to spot a fake. Hermès is notorious for its impeccable eye for detail and it takes apprentices (even those with plenty of prior experience at other fashion houses) a year of practicing the unique two-needle hand-sewing technique, called saddle stitch, used to sew a Birkin before they are allowed to work on one. A real Birkin will have beautiful stitching that isn’t as uniform as machine-stitched mass-produced bags.
The lining is never an afterthought with Hermès. The bag should be as beautifully finished on the inside as it is on the outside. Many Hermès bags are lined with chevre goatskin, a grained leather.
Hermès uses the absolute highest quality leather and, as such, the smell is hard to replicate. A new Birkin has that distinctive rich, earthy smell. Fake bags will often smell more overpowering, often with a chemical or rubbery smell. Each leather has a slightly different smell and a seasoned authenticator can smell the difference between each leather. If the smell doesn’t match the leather type, the bag is a fake.