The American fashion brand Michael Kors rose to international prominence after the brand’s chief creative officer and founder, Michael David Kors, joined Project Runway as a judge at the height of the reality show’s popularity.
Born in 1959, Kors was already established as a sportswear designer when he broke onto the show’s set. However, he leveraged the opportunity to convert his brand into a household name by shifting to a new focus: Handbags.
American fashion designer Michael David Kors is the honorary chairman and chief creative officer of his brand, Michael Kors (Credit: WENN)
Today, Michael Kors-branded leather goods are coveted by men and women all across the globe. The brand namesake’s creations are so popular that counterfeits have started popping up. He’s believed to have a net worth of $600 million dollars.
We’ll show you nine easy ways to tell whether a Michael Kors bag is real.
1. Buy from authorized retailers
To avoid the risk of purchasing counterfeit products, buying directly from the official Michael Kors website, a Michael Kors retail store, a reputable department store, or authorized retailers like Zappos, Nordstrom, and Macy’s is best.
The best way to ensure that you are getting a real Michael Kors purse is to buy it from a reputable retailer (Credit: Jan van der Wolf / Shutterstock)
The American fashion designer works with customs authorities, law enforcement, and legal representatives globally to prevent the online and offline sale of counterfeit Michael Kors products. According to The Fashion Law, it’s one of the most counterfeited brands in the United States.
In September 2019, the New Haven Register reported that the fashion house had filed a lawsuit against vendors and operators of The Boulevard Flea Market in New Haven, Connecticut, alleging counterfeit goods bearing the company’s brand have been sold there for years.
2. Get acquainted with Saffiano leather
Michael Kors bags have become synonymous with Saffiano leather. If you’re unfamiliar with the brand’s trademark material, Saffiano is calf leather with a delicate criss-cross pattern pressed by a machine.
An original will feel structured and rigid, while synthetics are soft and floppy.
Original Saffiano leather will also have a slight gloss to it. Please note that not all genuine bags are made with real leather.
Michael Kors bags have become synonymous with Saffiano leather
3. Familiarize yourself with the two official Michael Kors logos
Michael Kors typically uses two different logos: the expanded one and the circle emblem.
The expanded version should be precisely cut with sharp edges, and the letters should be evenly spaced. Inauthentic versions of this logo tend to stand out from the leather more, while legitimate logs are embedded into the leather and perfectly centered.
The two logos typically used by Michael Kors are the expanded logo and the circle emblem (Credit: Robert Way / Shutterstock)
The circle emblem shows the letters M and K at the center. The letters should be distinct and surrounded by a perfect circle. Often, fakes will feature logos that look a little wonky and unsymmetrical.
Logo hardware should feel heavy and substantial and not like coated plastic. Occasionally, Michael Kors uses a plain MK to embellish some bags.
4. Know quality handles
An original Michael Kors bag should use sturdy hardware to fasten the handles of the bag.
Fake bags typically use rounded handles that don’t feature stamping. On genuine bags, the joint hardware is slightly rectangular with rounded edges, and the expanded logo is stamped on one side. The original hardware should also feel hefty.
Left: Miranda Kerr wears a bright “Selma” crossbody bag. Right: Kate Hudson prefers the slouchy “Large Riley” tote (Credit: WENN)
Another subtle telltale sign in an original Michael Kors is four even and perfectly proportionate stitches underneath the handle hardware.
Knock-off Michael Kors bags also feature the four stitches but are often poorly executed.
Michael Kors purses are made with high-quality stitching that is evenly spaced and neat
Below the stitching is a screw that should feel flat to the touch and shouldn’t protrude from the bag.
The handle of an authentic tote must be made from premium leather and shouldn’t wrinkle around the foam tube. Additionally, leather tabs should neatly conceal the handle edges instead of exposing the edge stitching.
5. Have a feel for quality zippers and zip closures
Authentic Michael Kors zippers have a brass finish and are usually paired with an elongated zipper pull. The expanded Michael Kors logo is engraved cleanly onto the pull.
Counterfeit zipper pulls typically use the rounded logo and are usually made of plastic with a metallic finish. This pull type is noticeably more prone to breaking, flaking, and chipping.
The hardware on a Michael Kors purse should be made of high-quality metal that is not easily scratched or damaged
When opening or closing the zip, an original should feel more rigid. Pay close attention to the bag’s structure upon opening the zip: the shape of an original will remain structured, while a fake will gape wide open.
Another tip? The zipper on an authentic Michael Kors bag ends before the leather tab, whereas the zipper on a fake usually tucks into it.
6. The shoulder strap should be sewn on correctly
A nicely sewn loop should hold the strap to the tote body. On classic MK bags, the loop is stitched above the seam. On fakes, the loops tend to be stitched into the seam. The small difference in stitching makes the strapless durable and more prone to snapping.
In an authentic Michael Kors bag, exemptions are made when the straps are sewn into the seam for aesthetic purposes.
The MK logo should be embossed on the purse in a clear and consistent way
In other models, the straps are usually sewn cleanly on the outside of the tote body. Check for precise stitches and neat leather tabs that conceal the handle ends.
Bags made more recently use clasps, grommets, and buckles instead. Most of the shoulder straps in the newer models are removable.
If the lining is made of cheap fabric or is unevenly sewn, it is likely a fake
7. Know your lining
Many fake MK totes are lined with logo print material, but they still feature telltale signs that they’re faked. Original Michael Kors totes will use a light, almost beige shade inlining materials.
Most replicas will use a darker material. Knock-off logo prints tend to be heavily shaded, and the logo acronym faces in different directions instead of the single direction that the original logos face.
Both linings are synthetic, but the fake one will likely rustle more and feel stiffer than an authentic one.
Left: Freida Pinto carries a light reptile-print leather tote. Right: Karlie Kloss matches her jacket to a Michael Kors tote (Credit: WENN)
Michael Kors has recently used the expanded logo on all its newer bags. This can come in a standard horizontal pattern or cross-hatched with a chain pattern.
Michael Kors has also started producing suede and Saffiano leather linings that don’t have a pattern printed.
Every Michael Kors purse has a model number that is usually located on a small tag inside the purse
8. Know your inside pockets
On larger totes like the Hamilton, one side of the lining will have a zipper pocket with a piece of leather framing the zip. A counterfeit will have a less-than-graceful leather piece that is more rounded than the original.
Usually — but not always — both sides will feature open pockets. The classic bags will have a cellphone pocket on the left and a flat one on the right. The opposite side should have two flat pockets. Fakes tend to duplicate the cellphone pocket on both sides.
Red Mercer Leather Crossbody, $257
While the pockets may vary from one bag model to another, all open pockets should be beautifully lined with leather at the edges. The only exception? Handbag models that are lined with suede.
Michael Kors bags usually feature a lobster clasp made for attaching keys. This detail is often overlooked in counterfeit totes.
9. Stay Updated and inspect carefully
Like all designers, Michael Kors changes details constantly, so keeping yourself updated on new products and releases every season is good.
The Michael Kors website offers a great zoom function that allows prospective buyers to get a close-up look at every product’s finer details.
If you are still unsure what an authentic Michael Kors handbag should look and feel like, visit an official retailer near you and get acquainted with the real thing.
Michael Kors Fast Facts
Where are Michael Kors products made?
It’s well-known that most of Michael Kors’s products are made in various countries, including China, Italy, Vietnam, and the United States. The exact location of production depends on the specific product.
In 2016, a Fashion Revolution and Ethical Consumer report criticized many leading clothing brands, including Forever 21, Michael Kors, Prada, Fendi, and Hermes, for lacking transparency regarding their supply chains.
Fashion supply chains are intricate, and many brands don’t own the factories producing their clothes, making oversight challenging.
Lance Le Pere and his husband, Michael Kors, attend the 2023 The Prince’s Trust Gala at Cipriani South Street on April 27, 2023, in New York City (Credit: TheNews2 / Cover Images)
In March 2018, more than 4,000 workers at a factory in Guangzhou, China, that makes luxury handbags for designer brands, including Michael Kors, Coach, and Marc Jacobs, went on strike.
The workers protested low pay, long hours, and harsh working conditions. The strike lasted eight days, disrupting production at the factory.
Workers at Panyu Simone, controlled by South Korea’s Simone Accessories Collection, had demanded a guaranteed basic wage of 3,500 yuan (US$552) a month, retroactive compensation for their pension fund, a housing provident fund, and other work-related benefits, according to New York-based China Labour Watch.
“Serving as employees of a foreign-funded enterprise that produces high-grade leather products, we originally felt deeply honored; however, we earn the lowest wages and must rely on working overtime in order to ensure a basic living wage,” the workers said in a letter to the factory management.
In 2012, Burberry stopped making bags at the Guangzhou factory after workers went on a strike complaining about poor working conditions.
Left: Taylor Swift heads out with the “Casey” satchel. Right: Hilary Swank attends an event with a Spring 2013 buckled clutch (Credit: WENN)
In 2015, Reuters reported that 5,000 workers had initiated a strike at a shoe factory owned by Stella International Holdings Ltd in southern China, demanding housing benefits that they claim haven’t been paid.
The factory, which produced for major brands like Guess, Michael Kors, Prada, and Burberry, had seen increased strikes due to China’s economic downturn, mounting costs, and the rise of social media activism.
How much do Michael Kors’s bags and wallets cost?
Michael Kors bags fall within $50 to $18,000, while wallets can range anywhere from $30 to $895. The official Michael Kors website constantly updates the brand’s list of prices and lists the occasional sales price as well.
Are all Michael Kors bags made from genuine leather?
No, many bags are made of synthetic materials or a mixture of leather and PVC.
Does Michael Kors own Versace and Jimmy Choo?
Yes, they’re all part of the same company founded in 1981 by American designer Michael Kors.
Capri Holdings is the holdings company of Versace, Michael Kors, and Jimmy Choo (Credit: T. Schneider)
Who is Michael Kors’s husband?
He is married to his former intern, Lance LePere. After dating for almost 20 years, they married in a private ceremony on Southampton’s Dune Beach in New York in August 2011. The couple attained a marriage license at New York City Hall.
Michael Kors and Lance LePere met in 1990 when LePere interned for Kors’ company. Lance LePere was born on July 21, 1970, and Michael Kors was born on August 9, 1959. This means that there is an 11-year age difference between them.
Michael Kors and his husband, Lance LePere, at the Roundabout Theater’s 2020 Gala at The Ziegfeld Ballroom on March 2, 2020, in New York City (Credit: Instar / WENN)
“To marry someone as wonderful and special to me as Lance barefoot on a glorious beach is more than I could have dreamed of,” Kors said at the time.
“Lance and I are very excited to finally be able to have the opportunity to marry in our home state after many years together,” added Kors. “We have no plans for a major party, but we will be getting married privately.”
Do Michael Kors’s bags have serial numbers?
No, Michael Kors’s bags do not have serial numbers. Instead, they have a model number used to identify the style of the bag.
A model number is a unique identifier for a product type, while a serial number is a unique identifier for a specific product.
The model number is usually on a small metal plate at the bag’s bottom. You can use the model number to find more information about your bag, such as the color, size, and materials used. You can also use the model number to verify the authenticity of your bag.
This video is also great for differentiating between genuine Michael Kors bags and fakes: