How to tell if Italian Leather is Real vs Fake
Whether it is a bag, wallet or other premium item, when it comes to leather, “Made in Italy” is one of the few remaining hallmarks of true quality that is left in the world; a value which is tangible and physical. Being able to understand its authenticity is therefore crucial.
The value of Italian leather goods is partly owed to its proud history of local development stretching back to Roman times, but primarily, it is the enduring quality and finish of Italian leather that has consistently won the admiration of the fashion industry’s leading brands. Even haute brands in France, like Dior and Hermés, are famed for actually crafting their leather goods in neighbouring Italy.
So, how can you tell if an Italian leather product is real or fake? Here are two definitive tips to help you:
1. How To Ask For Validation:
This might seem like an obvious point, but knowing how to ask about an item’s validity gives you the power to put pressure on traders of false goods. Think of it like this; if a bag designer had invested in crafting their goods from genuine Italian leather, they’d have every reason to clearly show the Made in Italy hallmark in any reasonable place possible (think branding, labels and even the embossing of the hallmark into the leather item itself).
Better yet, you as a buyer have the power to demand the credentials of this Made in Italy claim. Any reputable brand will offer a certificate with their goods, either upon purchase or upon request, which will help give you the quality assurance you need if you are ever in doubt.
For a seller to make false claims in this regard is fraud, so failure to produce some form of certification is a strong sign that what you’re thinking of buying may not be what it seems. This is tip is applicable to all brands, big or small.
Finally, it’s helpful to know the Italian translations of these hallmarks since English is still not a very prevalent language among many local Italian leather artisans: “Prodotto in Italia” means Made in Italy, while “Vera Pelle” means Genuine Leather.
2. How To Be Smart With Italian Leather:
The local Italian leather industry has many smaller brands just as worthy of your attention as the big, international fashion houses, and you can make huge savings by exploring what it has to offer. You will still be paying for a premium product, but the actual premium that you should pay may be less eye-watering than the haute brands will have you believe.
Factoring in costs of Italian leather as an expensive raw material, and including skilled Italian design and craftsmanship of the item itself, a fair price for a good quality Italian leather backpack, handbag or briefcase should be around the €100-150 mark (roughly $120-180 USD). This compares to €30-50 for Chinese made variant on the bottom end of the scale, which is most likely not going to interest anyone reading this article, to a four or five digit price tag on the ultra-luxury end.
Of even greater interest is the possibility of these smaller Italian leather brands offering you an entirely bespoke service on any item you may want, customising everything from getting your initials monogrammed on an item you wish to buy, to more complete personalisations, like realising a design all of your own.
Hundreds of local Italian artisans are represented by the Italian Leather Guild to provide exactly these services, all thanks to the thriving culture of artisanal leather working in Italy which you can tap into.
And, this is ultimately one of the best ways to verify that you are dealing with a producer of genuine Italian goods. Consider this: anything made in China requires a large production line of identical products that are subject to incredibly high MOQs (minimum order quantities) in order to make them economical. On the other hand, if you are able to unlock bespoke services for your Italian leather item, then you know that you must be dealing with a brand that has direct access to the stages of artisanal development involved in making the item(s) you are interested in.
These items are not subject to the same economic pressures of mass-production within the Chinese production model, but rather are crafted specifically for lovers of Italian design and excellence with an understanding that value comes uniqueness, rather than scale.