I have something a little bit different today, a comparison between a real high end bag (Michael Kors Selma in Medium - Navy) and the fake version you can find on direct from China sites and select "boutiques", depending on your area.
I am not a proponent of purchasing anything "knock off" . Bootlegging, in general, saps the economy and puts people out of jobs and others into jails. Living in a Metropolitan area, these items can be found about any sidewalk, free floating for all to cheaply grab, whether Newark or New York, though I have to say that there has been a serious crack down in the past 5 years. It is amazing to me the amount of fake bags one can see on any given day and it says a lot about our emotional attachment to labels versus the desire to acquire a quality item you would keep a whole lifetime.
|Can you tell the difference? The real one is on the right|
So, I purchased this fake one with the intention to stir everyone away from purchasing knock offs in the future. I understand that when given the choice of paying $34 for the make believe version or $298 for the real one, we would all rather pay $34 and be done with it. However, you will get what you pay for!
On an educational note, I am also hoping this will provide you with good information and an appreciation for quality craftsmanship while being able to call out your BFF on fooling you, all this time, into believing she has been trotting along with the real deal!
Before I start reviewing the bag and comparing it with its sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle fake version , here are a few points to remember:
1. Bootlegging is illegal
2. Knock offs are pale comparisons no matter the price you paid for them
3. A quality bag is an investment
4. Support American businesses and our economy, not China's.
************************************************************************************A tid bit about Michael Kors first:
Michael Kors is an American Brand. The designer of the same name comes from Long Island, NY. He is best known for designing Michele Obama's first lady portrait dress and of course, famous bags such as the one I am featuring today. You can find Michael Kors in most Department Stores and as stand alone stores in large malls. His rose gold watch series for women was also very popular two years ago.
I like the brand for several reasons, one being that it is American. Michael Kors also offers a classic updated look, nothing trashy, everything lady-like. It is simple, understated and for the most part very wearable, in other words, a breath of fresh air! To me, Michael Kors is a cross between Burberry and Brooks Brothers. He adds functionality to where the other two brands may be a bit stuffy.
Unfortunately, Michael Kors no longer produces bags in America. Since 2012, bag production has moved to China, and I have read that the same company that produces Coach and Prada bags, also produces MK bags. And THAT, to me, is a shame because even Vera Bradley is outsourcing these days and when considering the state of our economy, we could really use some business here. Sadly, I am pretty sure that the out pour of fake bags and our sucky economy in general are responsible for this outsourcing. On another note, the reverse could be also true: Michael Kors and other brands outsource to China to make a buck or two per bag, the Chinese manufacturers now have the patterns for the bags and resale them to bootleggers who replicate the bags in almost identical ways, thereby perpetuating the vicious cycle of loosing money to the replica market.
Leather and Logo:
Let's start with the texture and logo. The Selma bag is made of Saffiano Leather. It is a dense, rigid leather that is also textured with a tiny criss-cross/ diagonal pattern.The texture is created via a stamping process (machine stamped). This is calf leather that is also waxed to give it a final treatment and semi gloss.
You can tell on the pictures above that the texture itself is well replicated between the real and the fake one However, and you will see that below, the structure of the bags is very different in that the real bag is very rigid while the other one, made of PU Leather (artificial/Synthetic), is soft and floppy. As for the logo itself, the real one is made of flat letters, perfectly aligned and slightly pushed into the leather while the fake ones, though identical in size are not aligned, in fact, and though you really can't see it in this picture, the "I" is flushed into the "M". From far away, both the texture and the lettering could fool you, however, the colors cannot. The Navy Selma is a deep blue with a hint of purple while the fake version is more Indigo and therefore brighter.
Handles and hardware:
I think this is a closeup (below) that will really allow you to appreciate the craftsmanship of a well made bag versus its knock off version.
Michael Kors ' hardware has a hint of copper tone. Both nails are flat head screw designs however when the biggest difference is in the buckle. The real MK is a rounded square design that is flat along the edges, while the fake version is a simple rounded loop.
The most obvious difference is in the handle base itself, you can see where the stitching on the real one is tight and clean lined while the fake version is a sloppy and not tight at all. They are also not designed the same. This is where good craftsmanship comes into play.
The handle is closed at the base on the real bag while the fake one provides a simple fold. The real handle is stiff and tight while the fake is filled with a soft foam tube that leaves the top part pleated and overall provides a flimsy feel when the purse is carried.
Zipper and Closure:
A good bag is often judged by the quality of its zipper. The real MK is a brass finish while the fake is dark blue. The real one is a bit stiff when opened and closed, it needs to be worked in while the other is soft and gaping when opened. The most obvious difference is in the zipper pull. Real MK bags have a Michael Kors tag like pull while the fake will provide you with a MK circle logo that is made of metallic coated plastic sure to break at one point or the other.
More craftsmanship can be seen in the way Michael Kors designed the end tab of the zipper, it is clean and squared away while the other is sloppy with obvious stitching, not to mention that the zipper in the real one is edged with leather and goes flat all the way till the end, where it is covered by leather. In the fake one, the zipper is not edged and simply rolled into the final tab, giving it a sloppy look. The real zipper actually ends before the tab, while the fake one just keeps going and only the tab stitching will stop the zipper.
This is where you can really appreciate the difference between the two bags. The real Michael Kors is made of one piece of leather that goes from front to back while the fake one is made of two pieces of PU leather that are sewn under the bottom.
Stitching on the real one is tight and leaves very little of a lip along the side while the fake one, though more malleable in terms of the ease of sewing, is quickly stitched together, leaving folds and wider lip.
Because Saffiano leather is rigid, it stands stiffer and will hold its shape. The fake leather cannot hold in place and the sides tend to collapse.
Inside pockets and lining:
Michael Kors uses a soft and pale fabric for its lining. While it is also a MK Logo pattern, all the letters are facing in the same direction regardless of placement inside the bag. The fake one is screaming MK all over, in all different directions whether by placement or pattern itself. The lettering is also darker and the fabric, though both are synthetic material, is stiffer in the fake one and makes noise when ruffled. The lining on the fake one is also stitched in the middle at the bottom of the bag while the real one is made of one piece of fabric.
The real bag offers a full size zipper enclosed in squared leather tab with a leather pull. This side of the bag offers a rectangular pocket (for cellphone) and a flat pocket for other items. The flat pocket offers a leather tab embossed Michael Michael Kors. Both pockets are edged with leather with a contrasting stitch on each end and middle point, shaped in a triangle.
The fake bag offers a similar configuration, however, the zippered pocket is much smaller and the PU Leather frame is rounded. The Michael Michael Kors tab is present, but placed on the other pocket.
On a side note, the real bag also provides a leather lanyard with a lobster claps for keys. The fake one does not have one.
On the other side of the bag, the real one offers two flat pockets with the contrasting triangular stitching while the fake one offers the exact same configuration than its opposite side (minus the zipper) in that it has one flat pocket and one cell phone pocket.
The real bag on the right has a solid clasp with a holding band that is stitched into the side while the fake version has a band stitched into the seam and sure to break. The hardware on the fake one also feels very weak.
I did not take a picture of the fake one (oops). Bottom line is that the feet on the real MK bag are flat and engraved with Michael Kors all around while the fake ones are rounded nails with no markings.
The bottom line is that the Selma by Michael Kors is a very well made bag that will, if cared for, last forever while the fake one will provide you with one season, at best, of shopping around with play and pretend.
My advice to you is to save the money and purchase a real bag - if owning a Michael Kors bag is that important to you then just wait and save. Trust me, you will not regret it. I am not happy that they are manufactured in China but it is obvious to me that the quality control team is getting its money's worth and I am going to assume that all Michael Kors bags are made with the same craftsmanship and attention to details.
I am not a bag maker nor a seamstress, so I am sure that I have placed a few misnamed terms here and there in this review, I think the pictures speak for themselves though, in that your hard earned moneys will be better invested in a well made purse rather than a fling that will last you only a few months.
If you were looking for a replica Michael Kors, I am hoping this review made you "snap out of it" and that you have made the decision to save up and buy the real one instead.
Here is the coordinating video if you want to see the two bags side by side in a "live" way.
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My Great Challenge
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|Find your own Selma at Nordstrom|