Last week, bargain shopping nearly got the best of me. I was searching for shoes on Vinted, a clothing re-sale app, and I came across a pair of $100 Louboutins (for those of you who have never heard of this brand, Louboutins usually start at about $625 and are the ones with red bottoms). It seemed too good to be true. They looked like the D’Orsay style, there was little wear, and that price! The seller couldn’t verify the authenticity, but they had the red bottoms, and I had never heard of people faking shoes, so it seemed worth the risk. Still, I hate to buy something without attempting to talk the price down, so I settled on $85.00.
The Real Deal
$85.00 for a pair of gently used Louboutins. Looking like Irene Adler was within my grasp! But in the midst of finagling to get the price changed, I informed my all-too-frugal boyfriend about this spectacular find. In a dizzying and terrible two minutes, I found out people did fake shoes, and that there was a good possibility these were fake too.
What I learned:
1) They do make fake Louboutins.
2) They are incredibly hard to spot over the internet.
Some ways to tell are:
– Authentic: If they include an authenticity card, they are FAKE. Louboutins don’t come with authenticity cards. Ever.
– Space Jam: Look at the “Made in Italy” on the bottom. Make sure it has spaces between the words. Fakes will say MADEINITALY.
– Know your reds: For me I think this is the most difficult, especially since internet pictures have such varying color gradients. People describe Louboutin red as “true red.” That tells me nothing, but I guess you can make sure you aren’t buying anything scarlet or merlot.
– Check your quality: Fakes aren’t going to look or feel as well made. This can mean little things from the leather not being uniform with the sole where it’s tucked in to the back seam being folded over instead of being sewn straight up, both of which are signs of fakes.
– Boxing champ: Fakes will have boxes that might say Christian Louboutin in much larger script and the Paris could be in the side corner rather than nearer the script.
-Memorize Scripture: On the bottom of real Louboutins the C in “Christian” almost touches the h. Fakes provide themselves with a bit more space between the letters.
– Ridges: Louboutin’s don’t have ridges on the bottom. The quality helps you walk. You don’t ned anything else
– Zip stocked bag: A box with plastic baggied heel tips does not Louboutins make! You should receive heel tips, but they won’t have the plastic bag.
Please note that I have not owned either real or fake Louboutins, but my advice here is a conglomeration of information repeated on other sites. For more info with pictures check out: Lollipuff, Galfromdownunder, Louboutin Resource and Muziklover70’s description.
Derp. Which looks real?
At this point you have your information. For some of you—it should be all of you— that may be enough, and the ridiculous and unsolicited bad advice to ensue is totally unnecessary. The rest of this post will not help in your shoe authenticating ventures. Really, it’s the author’s unneeded self-indulgence, and you should not read on.
I’m sorry to report that a thorough investigation into these fakes mixed with both criminal law and property class this semester has started me thinking about how to dupe the system. Regardless of all the advice, good fakes can be hard to spot. At the beginning of this post, I attached a video of LanaIndiana, modern day Zsa Zsa, recounting the horrific tale of her fake shoe encounter. In all the posts I read people kept saying, “the only way you know you have real Louboutins is by buying them from an authentic seller” a.k.a. Sacks, Neiman, Barneys, Bergdorf. But what if these stores don’t know that someone has planted a fake in their shoe aisle? I bet in some of the bigger chains it happens more than you might suspect, especially after Christmas sales and the after big markdown blowouts. This year in Dillards, I saw where a lady had left her boots and walked out with a pair of theirs. So what happens when, like Indiana Zsa Zsa, you buy a pair of fakes from a brand name store? Are the people behind the counter stopping it? Are they even trained?
The title of this post is based on the 1966 William Wyler film of the same name, starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole. It’s one of my favorite movies, and the premise is the idea of stealing your own expensive stuff because you know it’s fake.
That’s exactly what I propose to do. Let me go ahead and disclaim. I am not actually suggesting that anyone do this. It just seems so easy… If I wanted a pair of Louboutins, had a high credit limit, and was ruthless and crafty in my methods to acquire a pair. The cheapest option would seem to begin by scoping out the fake market until I found some reasonably-priced fakes that would take a second glance and identifying a few styles of interest. At that point, I would check the return policies on Louboutin-carrying stores, making sure to pick one that gave me a while to return and the possibility to get more than store credit.
At this point, I’d go to that store and buy a pair of real Louboutins that I knew had a positive corresponding fake, and charge it, please. Once I got home, I’d order a pair of corresponding fakes with a shipping time that would allow me to return and get new ones, just in case.
When the fakes arrived, I would put them in the Louboutin box (transferring all store stickers with the help of a hair dryer) and leave everything else as is. I would then return to the store. From here there are two options. Originally, my plan was to go to the store and say something like “I bought these, but they don’t seem like the other Loubs I have at home; I think they might be fake”… and basically wait around for the refund to my credit card. After all, I’d have the receipt. However, when I conferred with the boyfriend, he thought that method would be too incriminating and suggested to instead play the fool. In this scenario, upon return instead of admitting I knew they were fakes, I would simply act like I would in any other return. I bought the item, it didn’t fit right, it was a lot to spend on something I didn’t love, they were uncomfortable, who cares — to get the 1,000 back. If someone made a fuss, I would wave my receipt and ask why I paid that much for these shoes. On what basis would a store not return my money if they weren’t sure I didn’t buy counterfeit shoes? While I wouldn’t try it multiple times, it seems like something you could get away with once.
By publishing this scenario, I am not suggesting that anyone try this. I do not support fakes and would not take the chance on buying or wearing them even in the face of a good deal (as described in my initial story). I just wonder how our institutions are situated to prevent this abuse, especially when it only takes one bad pair and one shoddy sales clerk to sell you bad shoes like LanaIndiana above. How do stores train employees? And how do stores distinguish when and when not to refund? I feel like my above scenario is pretty foolproof, but I’ve never worked in retail. Let me know what you think or if you see any problems… I’d love to get a conversation going!
And remember when you deal with Louboutin fakes, THIS could happen to you.