I've been a fan of Lacoste since my High School days. It started with the classic polo shirts until I discovered their line of colorful PVC bags. As much as I wanted to acquire a piece from their collections, the little hefty price never fails to deprive me. It took me years of working before I finally owned my first Lacoste bag. It happened two years ago and the bag is still in great condition.

Months after my first Lacoste bag, my shopaholic hormones attacked me again. I purchased this very popular design

Known today as L.12.12 Concept Shopping Bag, this used to be called as the Lacoste Shopping Bag. This design was well accepted. Hence, new colors and sizes were added over the last years.

I love my shopping bag so much. I love the simplicity and space that can accommodate all of my things. Unfortunately, this bag has been overused. This explains the damages you can see on the straps.

Years after, I prevented myself from acquiring another Lacoste. It was getting expensive in the Philippines. This happens despite the fact that prices in their official online shop remain the same. My promise of preventing myself to acquire another Lacoste was broken when I discovered sellers who offer the same bag half of its original price. It started with the online coupon deals. I also found local resellers in Instagram and Facebook. These resellers even sell it at prices way lower than the coupon deals.

Like a typical customer, I doubted the authenticity of these cheaper versions. I vowed to never purchase from any of them I disobeyed my own conviction when I purchased the new L.12.12 Concept Shopping Bag in navy blue from a reseller very active on Instagram. I  trusted and became confident with the reseller because I have friends who previously purchased Lacoste items. The reseller also joined reputable bazaars and trade fairs.

L.12.12 Concept Shopping Bag in Navy Blue - Reseller Version 
I should have been happy and satisfied with my very discounted purchase.  Part of me however still feels restless and doubtful. I want to convince myself that I have a cheap yet authentic Lacoste. I want that much needed peace of mind. Hence, I went to Lacoste's Gateway Branch and wrecked my wallet to purchase a similar bag.

I took home this L.12.12 Concept Shopping Bag in Elephant Gray

L.12.12 Concept Shopping Bag in Elephant Gray (Authentic Version)

I plan to use this on my birthday. :) Before enjoying the bag, I fulfilled my first objective. I have to verify whether the reseller version is identical with my authentic boutique version. I inspected the bags, took pictures and will be sharing my findings.

Before reading the succeeding parts of this post, please remember that I intend to make a direct comparison of the reseller and the boutique versions. I'm not in the position to officially declare the authenticity of any Lacoste bag. My conclusion will be as good as what I observed from my bags.

May I also emphasize the fact that I'm not comparing equally identical bags. It's possible that Lacoste intentionally created adjustments on the L.12.12 Concept Bags, depending on the size and color

Price Tags

There is an obvious difference on the price tag of the authentic and reseller versions. 

Both brand name and logo are elegantly printed using embossed ink. I almost didn't notice the difference not until I took a photo of the two tags. Upon examination, the font used in the authentic version is larger but slimmer.

Another evident difference is the printed price, stock number and model on the authentic version. The tag of the reseller version is left blank. Although the resellers might claim that they are directly sourcing their bags from other countries or  directly from factories. Hence, the stock number details and prices are not printed.

Ribbon Binder

Each Lacoste Concept bag comes with a white printed ribbon that binds the bag when folded. The ribbon is embroidered with the brand name.

The reseller sold the bag with the ribbon. I was almost convinced that there are no differences. The photos again unearthed another finding. As it appears, there is a slight variation on the width of the embroidered font. The embroidered font is wider and thicker in the case of the reseller version. The authentic version has a slimmer font and the stitching appears to be more clean and seamless.

Straps of each Bag

I also compared the straps of the three bags. The evident difference of the reseller version is the thicker strap. Another difference, which the picture cannot depict, is the feel of each strap. Both the red and gray bags have softer straps. The reseller version is stiff and hard to bend

I later discovered the reason why the straps of an authentic Lacoste are thinner and softer.

The inner part of my deteriorating red authentic shopping bag is made of garter. I guess this explains why the thin straps remain sturdy. Hence, it's only the synthetic leather cover that becomes worn out over time. 

The garter material inside the strap also explains why the authentic version is easier to bend. The reseller version is thicker, harder and does not exhibit any form of stretches or flexibility.

Aside from the elasticity, notice the differences in the stitches of the two straps. The authentic version has finer stitches ,which makes it more durable The reseller version has larger and lousy stitches.   

Zipper Reach

The zipper of the reseller version does not reach the farthest edge of the bag. The authentic versions almost covered the edges.

Although I have to say that Lacoste might intentionally created differences among the shopping bags based on the length of the straps. 

Brand of the Zipper

The earlier version of the bag used YKK zipper. This quite surprised me because the latest authentic model uses another brand, as shown on the carved M on the zipper's handle. The reseller version has the same carved M. However, notice the difference in the shape and size of the carved M.  The M on the reseller version is wider and distorted. 

Zipper Handle

The handle of the zipper was another surprise for me. All zipper handles are engraved with the brand's name. The engrave of the reseller version is deeper and more evident. On the contrary, the authentic versions have lighter and shallow engraving.

Inner Zipper Lining

The inner edge of the bag, where the zipper is stitched, is covered by this repetitive embroidered Lacoste on white canvass. Please note that the earlier model of the shopping bag is printed in ink or paint. The latest version is already embroidered. 

From afar, there seems to be no difference between the authentic vs. reseller version. A closer look tells that the authentic bag has smaller and wider Lacoste embroider. The reseller version's embroider is bigger but narrower. Also notice the seamless spread of the canvass of the authentic version. The reseller's version tends to crumple in the middle.

Inner Pocket Zipper Handle

These comparisons raised the level of my doubt to the authenticity of the reseller version. The position of the crocodile is obviously different. On the contrary, the earlier version of the bag shared the same position with the reseller version. Lacoste perhaps changed the specifications of the Concept bags over time.

Inner Pocket Print 

Each Lacoste Concept tote has an inner pocket where the model and logo are engraved. Both are found in the reseller and authentic versions. In the earlier version of the bag, please note that the inner pocket is free from any print. You can refer to the previous photo.

Let your eyes relate the differences between the reseller and authentic version. The width and length of the font are different. The shape and size of the crocodile are not the same.

Inner Pocket Logo

This is another miss from the reseller version. The engrave was not straightly positioned. The authentic version's engrave was lighter but was stamped in a perfect horizontal position.  

Inner Stitches

The inner part of the bag gave me more regrets. As observed, there are screaming differences on the stitching of the lining that adjoins the bag's fabric. The lining and stitches in the reseller version were lousy and uneven. The authentic version proves to be the direct opposite. The lining was smoothly spread out with seamless stitches.

The next photos validated my doubts on the reseller version. 

Earlier Authentic Model (Red) vs. Reseller Version (Blue)
Before comparing the crocodiles of the two bags, I would like to reiterate that the red bag was released two years ago. There is a possibility that Lacoste intentionally changed the size and specifications of their embroidered logo. Also remember that the wear and tear of the red bag might caused some discoloration on the thread. Nevertheless, I'm writing some of my observations. 

How many differences can you spot? The screaming difference is the shade of the green thread. As it appears, the reseller version used a green thread that is two to three shades lighter. The shape of the crocodile's upper body is also different. The authentic version is more curved, while the reseller version is flatter. The quality of the stitches also caught my attention. The reseller version has poor stitching, evident on the lousy and crooked white thread that outlined the crocodile. 

This photo made me feel that I wasted my money to the reseller version. Consistent with my previous observation, there is a difference on the shade of the green thread used. The reseller version used a lighter thread colour. The upper body of the crocodile possesses more curvature on the latest authentic model. There are loose white threads on both logos. However, the reseller version is more evident and lousy. 

Lastly, I would like to seek your observation on the texture of the bag's fabric. Pictures may not suffice, but I have seen evident differences.

Fabric Differences

The reseller version feels heavier. This can be explained by the thicker and rubber like material used. On the contrary, the texture of the authentic version feels lighter, thinner and smoother. I also noticed that the reseller version feels rough and becomes sticky days after using it.

When I purchased my gray bag from Lacoste Gateway's branch, I was torn between the red or gray. I wanted the red but I have seen a lot of resellers offering the red bag. It's a hit among resellers. I related my concern to the sales personnel with the hidden objective that he will tell me the difference between the fake and original version. The sales personnel told me that the difference can be spotted on the material used. I agree that counterfeits have become very good these days. It's hard to determine the differences between the fake and original versions. In the end, I purchased the neutral gray bag to avoid being equated with the fake reseller version. Although part of me still wants the red bag. :) 

After making this long comparative post, here's my final take on the reseller version of the Lacoste Concept Shopping Bags. 
I'm  personally convinced that they are fake. I will never buy from any of them again
I allowed myself to be cheated by the cheap reseller version.

As much as I'd like to identify the name of the reseller of my navy blue bag, I prefer not to disclose. It's not because I wanted to protect the reseller. I wanted to give the reseller the benefit of the doubt. There's a possibility that the reseller is not aware of her counterfeited products. I also don't want to appear as a business antagonist.

UPDATE as of February 4, 2014

Hello everyone! Weeks after I made this post, I occasionally receive related emails. Over time, the number and frequency of emails seem to increase. Just this week, I have a feeling that someone too influential :) or have significant friends or followers in Facebook shared this post. Hence, the sudden upsurge of my blog's viewing statistics.

Aside from the hits and clicks, I was flooded with emails of inquiry. My Inbox is erupting with emails with Lacoste as the subject. My fault because I left my email in the comments section. I'm not saying that the sudden bulk of emails gave me inconveniences. I actually appreciate everyone's trust and confidence. I suddenly turned as a Lacoste authenticator. Hahaha But seriously, I don't and will never claim to be one. As I have said, my comparison is good as what I observed from the two bags.

The real reason why I made this post is because I want to answer the queries I often encounter. This update might save you from taking time to send me an email. I summarized the frequent questions and answered them accordingly.

1. Who is the reseller who gave me the fake Lacoste?
I prefer not to disclose.
I apologize for this personal choice.
I believe that this post is enough to warn and save you from making a "fake" purchase.As mentioned in the original post, I don't like to cause any rift or conflict with anyone. I don't want to appear as a business antagonist.

Someone even challenged the credibility of my post. If you have carefully read my post, I'M POSTING A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. I'M NOT FORCING EVERYONE TO BELIEVE ME. It's just disheartening that this post suddenly turned out as a test of credibility and character.

2. Can I recommend a reseller?
I'm sorry. I can't. This experience taught me a great lesson. I will never try resellers again. In addition to this, most resellers offer the bag from Php 1,500 to 2,000. Almost half of the prices in the official Lacoste stores. But you see, Php 1,500 is already a significant amount of money. If you can save Php 1,500 to 2,000, it will not be impossible for you to save funds to purchase an authentic Lacoste. 

3. How does the inside tag appear?
Please see the photos below.

I hope this update answers your queries.

If you have intentions of purchasing the Lacoste tote, please consider buying from the official Lacoste stores in the Philippines, authorized resellers such as Duty Free.

Another UPDATE as of MARCH 11, 2018

It surprised me that this post remains active even after 5 years of publishing. Some were sending me emails, forcing me to identify the reseller, who gave me the fake tote. There were a number of resellers who left some disrespectful words. Over time though, the messages eventually lessened. However, another surprise came in. I discovered some resellers using my photos in their Facebook pages

How disappointing....I reached out to them but sadly, no response. I will leave it at this point.