Prada bags don't just carry your things, they carry your statement of status, elegance and style. If it turns out that the bag is a fake, however, all those statements go out the window. Fortunately, makers of fake Prada bags and purses often leave behind a number of tell-tale signs that the savvy shopper can use to tell the difference between an authentic bag and a fake. If you're not buying from a sure source of authentic Prada goods, knowing these signs can save you from being ripped off.
Look inside. Counterfeiters count on customers that don't take a close look, and many do not bother to duplicate the luxurious lining of an authentic Prada bag. An authentic bag will have the Prada logo repeated in the lining. The logo will be evenly spaced, horizontal and clean and sharp. Materials used in the lining will also reflect luxury, and will not be inexpensive, puckered, or sewn in with the logo crooked or at an angle. Seams will be meticulous and strong. If the seams are not neat, the logo blurred or uneven, or the lining made of cheap materials, the bag is a fake.
Inspect the "R" in the Prada logo. Everywhere that "Prada" appears on the bag, the letter "R" should have a slight curve at the end of the leg. Since this small detail takes time and effort to reproduce perfectly, counterfeiters often don't bother. If the leg of the "R" is straight or is not sharp and clear, the bag is likely a fake. Don't forget to check the logo on the inside of the bag, stamped on hardware or other less visible places. Some fakes will carry the proper logo on the plate on the outside of the bag, but interior logos will not match.
Read the tag. The inside tag or plate should be printed clearly, with proper spelling and grammar, and be attached securely. It should also say, "Made in Italy." On an authentic bag, the corners will be rounded, the color will match the bag, and the letters will be slightly raised. If the tag appears glued on, lettering is uneven, it is not attached straight, or the color of the metal is different from the hardware on the bag, it is a fake.
Give the hardware a long, hard look. This is where many counterfeiters fail to copy the fine details of an authentic Prada bag. All of the hardware should be the same color. It should feel heavy and substantial, and working parts, such as clasps and zippers, should open and close smoothly. Embossing on the hardware should be clean and crisp. If the logo or other printing looks blurry in any way, the bag is not a real Prada. Also, check underside of the base of the zipper. Real Prada purses will have one of the following brand markings on the zippers: IPI, Opti, riri, Lampo, or ykk.
Study the stitching. The biggest giveaway on a fake Prada bag is usually the stitching, even on bags that are made using authentic Prada materials, such as those made after hours at Prada factories. To cut costs, counterfeiters make the bags faster, and because there is little quality control on fakes, stitching is usually imperfect, at least in some areas of the bag. On a real Prada, every stitch will be neat, even and precise, even in places most people wouldn't look. Check the stitching everywhere, including in inner pockets, around trim, around the zippers and along handles or straps. Search for places where the seams meet up. If those places are obvious, the bag is likely a fake. On authentic Prada bags it should be difficult to tell where seams begin and end, and every stitch should be nearly perfect.
If you've never handled an authentic Prada bag in person, take the time to do so by visiting a known authorized seller, and inspect the bag closely to learn first-hand the details to look for in a real bag.
Don't count on hang tags, receipts and certificates of authenticity as proof that a bag is authentic. All of these items are easily faked.