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From face masks to bags, make sure you’re buying the real deal with top tips for spotting fake designer items

DESIGNER face masks are the latest must-have products targeted by the growing counterfeit market.

Throughout the fashion industry, copies of legitimate brands are costing the economy billions.

And Instagram predicts the counterfeit community will be worth £1.38TRILLION this year.

Former Love Islander Tyne Lexy Clarson, who has more than 400,000 followers, shared a selfie wearing this duped Gucci mask and posted the link to the retailer’s website.

So how do you know if what you are buying is the real deal or a bargain carbon copy?

Victoire Boyer Chammard, head of authentication at pre-owned fashion site VestiaireCollective.com, tells Siobhan O’Connor her top eight tips for quality-checking a luxury item, focusing on Louis Vuitton.

In stitches

A big giveaway is in the stitching.

Authentic Louis Vuitton bags will have evenly spaced threading, while fakes are more likely to have uneven and slanted stitches.

You should never see a seam in the middle of the bag, either.

To the letter

How your brand name letters are written can be a clear sign if it’s the real deal or not.

Each letter must match with the graphic charter of the brand and they must be stamped in the same way.

With Louis Vuitton, pay attention to the O.

Logo no-go

Similarly, logos are another key spot to check.

The monogram should be consistent in placement and not crooked or cut off.

No heavy weight

If it’s airy to hold, this can shine some light on whether it’s legit.

Counterfeits are becoming more and more sophisticated but substitute materials are often lighter.

Leather not pleather

Smell, feel and analyse the material.

If it’s leather it should look like leather with a natural smell.

A plastic scent is not real.

It should be soft and consistent in colour, too.

Number crunch

Check the date code, otherwise known as a serial number, stamped on a leather part in the lining.

Louis Vuitton uses a combination of letters and numbers to determine the precise time the bag was made.

This should match the “Made In” stamp (see below).

The only exception is if you’re buying a vintage bag made before the 1980s – then you won’t find a number.

Made in

The country it was made in will feature inside.

Fakes routinely use “Made in France”, yet some of Louis Vuitton’s special collections have been made in Spain and America.

Be sure to always check your specific model’s serial code and make sure they line up.

Trusted sites

Finally, if buying second-hand, buy from trusted sites like vestiairecollective.com.

And always check the reviews of where you are buying from first.

Video shows how to make a face mask using a t-shirt

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