Designer sunglasses can set you back anything from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars. The world's most expensive sunnies from Chopard are adorned with diamonds and gold, costing as much as a house!
The eyewear market is big business so it's not surprising that cheap replicas of sunglasses are flooding the market (trivia alert: Ray-Ban shades are the most highly copied). Earlier in 2019, an OECD report found that trade in counterfeit and pirated goods now stands at 3.3% of global trade.
While some fakes are easy to spot a mile away, imitations are becoming increasingly sophisticated. In industry parlance, they're 'confusingly similar'. So if you're in the market for a genuine designer pair, how do you tell if sunglasses are fake?
Here are some easy ways to spot the difference between real and fake designer sunglasses.
Look for the designer logo or name on the retail box. You'll usually also find manufacturer information, and a barcode (or serial code). Double check these with the details in the accompanying brochure and on the sunglasses frame. Model number, colour, lens and frame size measurements and manufacturing country should all be featured on the sunglasses' arms.
Check the manufacturer's website to get a good idea of what casing your sunglasses should arrive in. Real Oakley sunglasses come in a premium quality hard case or soft pouch, usually with a logo. Real Prada sunglasses are sold with a black microfibre cloth and a perfectly centred Prada logo. The lettering is distinct, evenly spaced and straight.
The lenses on designer shades should be of superior quality. Know what you're buying. Classic Ray-Ban designs, for instance, are made from glass. If you're in the market for Ray-Bans, you can carefully tap on the lenses to see if they seem to be made from glass.
Another great way to work out how to tell if sunglasses are fake is to inspect the frames and check the weight. Fake Ray-Bans can feel lighter than the real ones. On the other hand, counterfeit stainless steel versions can feel heavier than the real ones. Authentic frames made from premium material should feel balanced and comfortable when worn. They should not have any scratches or imperfections. Luxottica recommends looking at their frames from the top to make sure they are symmetrical.
Most quality brands usually etch their company name or brand initials in the lenses. Try scratching these off with your fingernails. If it easily comes off, it's fake. It there's no logo at all, it's also a fake. Beware of branded stickers, tags or even logos drawn on with a brush. If you've already purchased sunnies from a particular brand, you should know what to look for. The Oakley logo is a raised 'O' embedded into the frame, while original Ray-Bans have a 'RB' clearly etched onto one lens and 'Ray-Ban’ in white on the other lens.
Real designer sunglasses should open and close effortlessly. In other words, not too tight or floppy. The hinges should be solid, and have quality moulding. As a case in point, fake Louis Vuitton sunnies are produced with top-quality single attachment screws. Because of their poor make, the hinges don't feel right when opening or closing.
7) Attention to detail
If you're paying substantially more for designer sunglasses, you definitely want to make sure you know how to tell if sunglasses are fake. From the materials to finishes and weight, everything should say quality. If you've got the chance to look and try before you buy, do your homework and trust your instincts on whether your potential purchase is the real deal. If something is cheaply made, you can usually tell.
The price tag on sunglasses used to be a pretty effective way to spot the difference between real and fake versions. It's true that imitation products can be heavily discounted or sold at incredibly low prices. In these cases, if it's too good to be true, it often is. But these days, counterfeit sunglasses look so authentic that they can also fetch higher-than-expected prices. So don't make any decisions based on the asking price alone.
These 8 steps are a general guide to help you spot the difference between a real or fake pair of sunglasses. But when in doubt, buy directly from a reputable or legitimate dealer. Check online website reviews and make sure you receive a certificate of authenticity and a warranty.
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