Last week I talked about my collection of Lacoste shirts and I mentioned that Rustan’s (the exclusive distributor of Lacoste apparel and bags here in Manila) do not carry my size anymore (which is a kid’s size – 14).
This sad news, coupled by the positive feedback I’ve been reading about this particular Instagram (IG) reseller of Lacoste shirts and bags, made me want try her out. If this IG reseller can put a stop at the ongoing shortage of size 14 Lacoste kids’ shirts, that will make me really, really happy.
The seller’s IG name starts with a letter “S”, has tons of followers and was even endorsed by other IG resellers (including the one selling supposedly authentic Cath Kidston items, whom I’ve yet to try). With these glowing endorsements, I found no reason to doubt the authenticity of her goods.
So I went about placing an order for a couple of Lacoste kids shirts. But before that, I asked if she has kid’s size 14 available and she said yes. I also told her that I’ve been buying my shirts at Rustan’s and that I’m really sad they will not carry my size anymore (I deliberately injected the drama there) to let her know that I know what the original looks like. She assured me that the shirts she’s selling are “authentic overrun” Lacoste shirts.
The price of the shirts run from P800.00-P850.00 each, quite unbelievable considering that the last shirt I’ve bought at the Lacoste store in Rustan’s costs me P2,850.00.
Na-excite ako dun sa P800.00 selling price so I ordered 2 shirts – in light yellow and pale pink. My boo-boo here was that I did not ask why the colors of the shirts are in English, and not French. But because she has lots of positive feedback already, I let this pass.
I got the shirts (not after a long delay from JRS Express), and unang tingin pa lang, I knew that they’re not genuine Lacoste shirts. So much for the “authentic overrun” description posted at the reseller’s IG account.
The first thing I checked was the price tag, because it’s so easy to spot a fake just by looking at the back side of the price tag.
Lacoste line of kids’ polo shirts is called Virelai. Caiman is their line of classic men’s polo shirts. And yet, my supposed kid shirt is called “Caiman”. There’s also no color name in the tag and interestingly, the product code (written as L1212 LEC here) is the same for both the pink and yellow shirts!
I also checked the front side of the price tag, and again it’s fake because the new lay-out being used now should show the crocodile in landscape position and it should be bigger. So unlike this one which used small crocodile in vertical position (old lay-out).
The original price tag (new lay-out) should look like the second tag in the picture below. Notice too that the punch hole in the original tag should be square-shaped, not round.
I proceeded to check the shirt’s collar tag and again, I found differences with the original.
Check out the picture below of the yellow “authentic overrun” Lacoste shirt that I bought, as compared to the original one I have in orange. Color pa lang ng crocodile, ang layo na!
The fake shirt’s crocodile is not green in color (it looks almost brown to me), and for the record, I have never seen a second tag in a Lacoste shirt. The second tag here says “Designed in France, Made in Peru”. Now this one’s tricky. I’ve read that most Lacoste shirts are now manufactured in Peru, so I guess this is a more careful way of saying, “Hey, I’m not genuine, but an authentic overrun“. Overrun or no overrun, the design should still be according to Lacoste standards, right? This one has too many differences it didn’t meet even the basic requirements of a classic Lacoste shirt.
It has crossed my mind that maybe I was given the wrong shirts because the price tag says Caiman after all so I probably got the men’s shirts. But if that is the case, then the shirt’s size cannot be 14 because 14 is a kid’s size! The men’s shirts at Lacoste, particularly the Caiman line, are available in sizes 2 (XXS) to 9 (XXXL) only. I wanted to scream, “Walang size 14 ang Caiman!”
Going further, I checked the placement of the crocodile patch. In all my Virelai Lacoste shirts, the crocodile patch is placed way below the second shirt button, almost near the 2 hemlines under it. The yellow Lacoste shirt has the crocodile patch sewn just across the second shirt button.
To be sure, I checked the placement of the crocodile patch in a genuine Caiman shirt (see below) and it’s never near the second shirt button. (photo courtesy of Stuarts London).
The color of the crocodile patch in the fake shirt is also darker, and its mouth’s too long as compared to the crocodiles found in the authentic Virelai and Caiman shirts.
Then there’s the sleeve of the shirt. The fake one has shorter sleeves with smaller openings, while the original has longer sleeves with bigger openings.
The hemline at the bottom of the shirt is also worth checking. The yellow fake shirt has 2 hemlines, while the original orange Lacoste shirt has one only.
Lastly, there’s the lining inside the collar (where the shirt tag is placed) which we barely notice but can also tell us whether a Lacoste shirt is a fake or not.
The original Lacoste shirt used pique cotton cloth even for this lining (you can see the weaving pattern here very clearly), and the stitching is smooth and perfect.
The fake shirt made used of cheap cotton fabric for the lining, and the stitching is not pulido at all.
I tested the fake shirt by wearing it last week, and found it too stiff for my comfort. The fabric is also very makapal, so unlike my original Lacoste shirts which are soft, lightweight and breathable.
Convinced that the 2 shirts I bought were clearly not authentic Lacoste shirts, I informed the seller about it and her only reply was that the shirts were made in Peru. I’ve thought of answering back: “And so?” but didn’t pursue it anymore because at P800.00 per shirt, what can I expect right?
The only good thing that came out of this buying experience was that I will now be able to spot a fake Lacoste shirt. And with this post, you too will be able to distinguish a fake from the original from now on.
Lessons I learned from this experience with resellers: (1) ask a lot of questions to test the reseller’s knowledge of the products / items being sold, (2) request for more close-up pictures of the items you are interested to buy so you can check its authenticity, and (3) demand for a refund option in case the items sold are not authentic.
If the reseller is confident enough to guarantee the authenticity of his/her items, then the money-back option should not be problem at all. In fact, some IG resellers have included this as part of their sale terms and conditions. Minalas lang ako cos mine doesn’t have one. “Made in Peru” ang reply sa akin, and I really don’t know what to make of that answer. Too bad this isn’t eBay where I can report a seller selling counterfeit items.
Caveat emptor, dear readers!