Why second hand luxury bags have become so lucrative | The Citizen

The luxury brand market isnt out of reach as it was before, more and more people are ascertaining their goals of buying their dream bags such as Louis Vuitton to Chanel.

Luxury brands have only become more popular in South Africa and other emerging markets. It’s not only a status symbol, however, it has become a great investment as well. 

Gone are the days when Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel and the mother of all bags the Birkin were out of reach. 

The brands have become more accessible online and in-store with authenticated shops. However, there is a downside, more people are getting dupped when buying these special items. 

The fake market continues to boom with some consumers wondering how they can’t fall into the trap. 

Fakes on the rise

A now-deleted Instagram page, that exposed local celebrities’ wearing fake Gucci went viral in 2021. It showed a clear indication that notable and perceived wealthy people were more than willing to buy fakes knowingly. 

During an event with YPO spouses as well as Luxity co-founders Luke Calitz and Michael Zahariev at their store in Nelson Mandela Square recently, they equipped the women with their expert advice on how to spot fakes. 

The Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel bags have become highly popular amongst South African consumers and there are now many fakes of these brands. 

Authentic Louis Vuitton bag. Picture: Supplied

The experts have noted fake luxury brands are getting better in quality and some are harder to differentiate. 

There also appears to be less of a social no-no in some circles about owning a fake however it’s still largely taboo. 

It was advised that when purchasing these items look out for certain, easy identifications and tricks to spot fakes. 

Steps to self-authenticate a luxury bag

It was demonstrated during the event the difference between a fake and a real luxury bag. For a Chanel bag, for instance, the authentic ones have a leather tag inside the bag on the front and the back a code with usually 12 numbers.  

The first two letters with the code usually indicate where the bag was made (FC- France etc) and the other numbers represent when the bag was made. 

Watch: How to identify a fake Louis Vuitton

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This clearly shows the intricacy that goes into making these bags, these brands have gone to this finer detailer to catch out fake suppliers. 

Chanel bags are usually 100% cotton, if they have a matte, plastic finishes they are fakes. 

ALSO READ: How to spot if your boyfriend is wearing a fake Gucci belt

Fake Chanel bags usually have a fake general code 102 181 184. 

The Birkin 

For Birkins it is more obvious, the bags are given to loyal customers of Hermes and chosen by the brand, you can’t just call to order a Birkin. 

The most accessible way to purchase a real Birkin is through the second-hand market, Luke explains. 

Even in the second-hand market, the bag’s starting price is around $13 000 (about R250 000) and can easily go into the millions. 

The Birkin has codes that have meanings such as time, place and date. 

Real Birkins have real metal to make them last for years. Zahariev says the status of the Brikin is high because “it’s not just about the cost of it, its the fact you can’t just get if you have money. Generally, if you have it doesn’t just mean you have the money but it means you are somebody important, that is the appeal. Hermes has worked very hard in their marketing to have this”.


The reselling of luxury bags is a hot commodity and has become as lucrative as buying them brand new. 

Sustainability has become an important factor for buyers, “It makes you feel good as you not creating extra waste,” Zahariev said. 

Luxity store- luxury bags authentic
Luxity store in Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton. Picture: Supplied

Luke implores people to not buy luxury bags on Instagram pages, especially if the store says no refunds or viewings and there is no website “these are clear red flags”.

Preowned bags are also rare, the luxury brand will rarely remake a limited edition.

ALSO READ: Pre-owned wins as Africa’s luxury resale market continues to grow

The Luxity founders say buying fake is not good, Zahariev adds this market has many unethical practices such as child labour and other criminality. 

They do authenticate luxury products for customers which include, shoes, watches and even pens. 

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