Latest Stories

The Bag Hag Diaries

More and more women gypped into buying fake Birkin


HERMES Vibrato Birkin with different-colored stacked leather

Ever since Hermès was introduced to bag lovers (credit goes to the brand’s exposure in movies and through celebrities), a lot of women have been asking me about Birkins and Kelly bags. They ask about the authenticity of the bags they bought on the black market.

It is most unpleasant to report this, but the number of women who have been gypped into buying a very expensive fake Birkin or Kelly is on the rise. Social media pages that sell and online “shops” have conned people into buying what they thought was a real Hermès bag for a fraction of the cost.

Buyer beware! Very good fakes have been proliferating, allowing opportunists to take advantage of buyers hankering for Hermès bags but cannot get them in Hermès stores because of limited supply.

Who hasn’t heard of the “wait list” at Hermès boutiques for the bag, and of the talk that the wait list is but a myth? I can confirm: Yes, there is a wait list; no, that’s not the brand’s way of saying they don’t want to sell you the bag.

Hermès has actually been having trouble keeping up with the production of these highly coveted bags; their factory is not producing enough to meet increasing demand. Which is why, according to its CEO Patrick Thomas, Hermès will build two more leather factories in France for a 20-percent increase in production as soon as they become operational in two and a half years.

I strongly suggest you buy your Birkin or Kelly at the Hermès boutique itself, to be sure that your bag is authentic. Plus, you don’t have to pay a crazy black market price—the rates can go incredibly high.

Before you buy, however, know more about the bag. The type of material used should be paramount consideration. It’s not just about the style, it’s also about what it’s made of.

HERMÈS Chevre Birkin, notice the “spine” pattern that runs down the center

Apart from exotic leather such as crocodile, ostrich and lizard hides, some of the more popular materials Hermès uses for Birkin, Kelly and even the increasingly popular Lindy, Evelyne, Victoria and SO Kelly, are:

Veau Togo—Calf leather. Togo is usually the most requested leather, for good reason. It is naturally grainy, pebbled, at times veiny, and a little stiffer so a bag made of this leather keeps its shape better. It’s also more scratch-resistant, compared to other leather.

Taurillon Clemence—Made from baby-bull leather. Characterized by wider, flat grain, a Birkin or Kelly made from this leather has a tendency to slouch over time as the leather is soft. This leather is also a tad heavier than the Togo. It is a very good alternative to Togo.

Chevre—One of my favorite Hermès leathers is made from goat hide or Chevre. Chevre Mysore and Chevre de Coromandel are two types of goat leather the brand has used. Both are characterized by a “spiny” grain that runs along the center of the bag, which gives it that exotic skin feel. It is less prone to scratches as well. The leather is on the shiny side, giving the bag a very polished look.

HERMÈS Birkin with Epsom-denim combination, striking color combination of leather and fabric

Epsom—The grain you see on this bag is actually not natural, but is imprinted or embossed onto an otherwise naturally smooth and stiffer leather. Birkins and Kelly bags made from Epsom have more structure. If you are concerned about wanting to retain the bag’s shape over time, get one in Epsom leather. It is also very lightweight and fairly scratch-resistant. Mind the corners of the bag, though, as they are more prone to scuffing compared to bags made of Fjord, Togo or Clemence.

Vibrato—Many who see the Vibrato initially mistake it for a type of heavy fabric. Unlike the other leathers on Hermès bags, the  Vibrato is a result of stacking and compressing different leathers together. It is a painstakingly time-consuming process, making this layered leather look very unique to Hermès bags. Sadly, Hermès does not make this bag too often anymore. Vibrato bags are truly special and showcases the workmanship capabilities of the highly trained Hermès craftsmen and women.

Toile, Canvas, Denim—A leather-and- fabric combination on a Birkin in the right tones can look very classy. While many would be resistant to the idea of a fabric bag because it can get dirty fast, Hermès leather bags combined with fabrics like Toile, canvas and denim are actually not as prone to dirt as they look, because they are treated.

Fjord—This is arguably one of the tougher leathers at Hermès and is made of the adult cow hide. Although slightly heavier, this is also one of my favorites because having a bag made in this material makes the body of the bag practically indestructible.

And while most of the leathers mentioned above are not meant to get wet or get water stains, Fjord leather seems to repel water droplets.

So, before you shell out a big amount for an Hermès bag (or any bag), research exhaustively. Arm yourself with Hermès bag knowledge as this will allow you to further appreciate the brand.

Online forums like the http://forum.purseblog.com and bag sites like http://www.bagsnob.com provide very reliable information about Hermès bags.

Visit http://www.thebaghagdiaries.com. Follow on twitter.com/thebaghag

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Accessories , Bags , Birkin , fashion , Hermès , Lifestyle

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  3. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  4. No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  5. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  6. The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  7. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  8. Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  9. What has happened to Barrio Fiesta and Singing Cooks & Waiters?
  10. Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  5. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. This is not just a farm
  8. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  9. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  10. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • [VIDEO] No assurances on Janet Lim-Napoles’ bid to become state witness
  • South Sudan president fires long-time army leader
  • Grenade explodes outside MPD Station 1
  • 25 cops ordered relieved over links to drugs
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao can dodge tax issues
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges
  • Big Chill freezes Cafe France to arrest skid
  • Pacquiao has to go through PBA Rookie draft
  • Guiao summoned by PBA for name-calling incident
  • Lifestyle

  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Embassy advisory: Filipinos still need visas to enter US
  • No travel restriction to Mideast, DFA clarifies
  • PH-HK relations repaired, but families of victims still being courted