How to Tell If Your Burberry Coat or Bag Is Authentic

The iconic British brand is irresistible to fashion lovers — and counterfeiters. Find out how to tell the real deal from a convincing fake.

Any fashion brand as storied and desirable as Burberry — one of the most expensive purse brands on the market today — is sure to attract counterfeiters who prey on unsuspecting handbag lovers and deal shoppers. Counterfeiting is big business, and while some knockoffs look suspicious right off the bat, others are very convincing.

So, how do you reduce your chances of getting swindled? The best way to determine what’s real and what’s not is to know the many ways in which fakes differ from the real thing.

We’ve created this guide to help you discern a genuine Burberry item from a knockoff so you don’t end up investing in counterfeit wares.

The History and Revival of Burberry

The company was founded as “Burberrys” in 1856 by a draper’s assistant named Thomas Burberry, who enjoyed experimenting with fabrics used for hunting and sporting clothes. He ended up inventing gabardine, a durable fabric woven from worsted wool and cotton strands that had been weatherproofed with lanolin.

Lighter and more comfortable than the rubberized fabric that was standard for the outerwear of the day, gabardine revolutionized outdoor clothing. Among its fans were famed explorers Ernest Shackleton and Roald Amundsen. During World War I, Burberry reimagined the trench coat, adapting it to meet the needs of British officers fighting on the front lines.

In the mid-20th century, the company licensed its famous trademarks to multiple manufacturers, boosting its popularity and profits. The famous Burberry check was everywhere! Market saturation and extensive counterfeiting pushed down the price of the clothing. And in the early 2000s, it became associated with lower-class “chav” culture and hooliganism in the UK. Some sports venues even banned the distinctive plaid to head off trouble.

Burberry had gone public in the late 1990s, and in 2006, new leadership sought to restore the brand’s image and exclusivity. The company removed the plaid pattern from all but 10 percent of the goods it produced and bought back franchises to stop the dilution of the brand and improve quality control.

The strategy worked. Its cachet and appeal now revived, Burberry returned to the luxury market. By 2012, it was worth more than $7 billion.

How to Spot a Fake Burberry Bag

To a designer handbag aficionado, few things are as exciting as an exquisite piece. It’s important to keep your excitement in check, however, so you can focus on quality and workmanship and make sure you’re spending your money on the real thing.

Here is a list of elements to examine and what to look for to determine whether a bag is the real thing or a knockoff.

The “Made in” Tag

Although a “Made in China” tag was once a dead giveaway that a Burberry bag was counterfeit, that’s no longer the case. Today, the company manufactures items around the world, including in China, Italy, Poland and England. The only “made in” tag that probably won’t change any time soon is the one on Burberry’s famous cashmere plaid scarf, which is produced only in Scotland.

The Price Tag

A major factor in the cost of a Burberry bag is the era in which it was made. Bags made in the 1990s and early 2000s are less expensive than those produced after the mid-2000s. Although the company committed to ban the use of exotic leathers in 2022, the resale value of its alligator bags remains high.

Modern Burberry bags made under enhanced quality standards — especially the styles in high demand — will fetch much more than their earlier counterparts. Prices of vintage Burberry handbags vary, but savvy shoppers can find excellent values.

The Stitching

The quality of stitching on a Burberry bag is another clue to authenticity. On legitimate Burberry bags, it will be neat and even. It should also follow the line of the bag, whether curved or straight.

Pay careful attention to seams, handles and other interconnecting areas. Look for flawless stitches on the interior and exterior of the bag. If it’s a new model, check for loose threads, which may indicate the bag isn’t an authentic Burberry.

The Label or Metal Plaque

Every Burberry bag will have either a metal plaque or a leather label inside. On an authentic piece, this will never be crooked or off-centered. The Burberry name will be perfectly centered, stamped or engraved. The metal of the plaque should match the metal of the bag hardware, and the engraving will be clean and crisp. If it’s blurry or uneven, the bag may not be authentic.

The Burberry Logo

The Burberry font is distinctive, and once you know what to look for, it becomes easy to spot inconsistencies. The company has used several fonts over the years, with the latest update in 2018. But no matter when the bag was made, the logo will be crisp and even on a real Burberry.

The mounted knight logo Burberry is famous for was developed in 1901, when the company was known as Burberrys. In 1999, it dropped the “s.” In bags made between 1999 and 2018, the “R” of the name has a slight tail. The left stem of the “U” and the left arm of the “Y” are wider than the right stem and arm, and the bottom of the “B” is larger than the top. The bottom branch of the “E” is longer than the middle and the top.

If a Burberry shoulder bag, top-handled bag, purse or coat is purported to be vintage but the tag says “Burberry,” something may not be right.

Knowing the various incarnations of the Burberry logo over the past 166 years can help you vet the authenticity of any Burberry item — but it’s only one piece of the larger puzzle.

The Folded Bag Tag

The folded bag tag on a new Burberry bag bears the latest logo and contains details like the style, color and barcode. These should match up with the bag. If they don’t, the purse may not be authentic.

The Check Pattern and Knight Image

The Haymarket check is perhaps Burberry’s most famous pattern — and the only one that includes the brand’s distinctive knight image. On the Haymarket check pattern, the image is placed where the red lines intersect. It should be crisp, not blurry.

Burberry makes several plaid patterns, each with distinctive colored stripes and backgrounds. The common denominator is that on authentic Burberry pieces, the plaids are perfectly straight and flawlessly printed and match up perfectly at the seams. Any deviations or imperfections in a Burberry check may indicate a fake bag.

Keeping track of the numerous manifestations and variations of Burberry plaids is a monumental task; it has even been the subject of a doctoral thesis. The most common Burberry plaids currently in play include

  • the Haymarket/Equestrian check, which bears the mounted knight image.
  • the House/Classic check, which is the same as the Haymarket check but without the knight.
  • the Nova check, which is similar to the House check but larger and with a cream instead of camel background. Nova check lines have a pinkish hue rather than the Classic’s red. You may see Nova used diagonally on handbags.
  • the Vintage check, which is similar to the Classic but in vintage colors.

The Care Booklet

Every new Burberry bag comes with a booklet that authenticates it and provides care instructions. Examine the font of the booklet logo. It should be crisp and centered.

The Hardware

The hardware on an authentic Burberry bag is of the highest quality. The solid metal should feel weighty and substantial, not lightweight or flimsy. It should never be discolored, faded or chipped. Some pieces of hardware are engraved with the knight logo, which should be crisp and clear, not blurry or askew. The zipper should have the same substantial feel as the rest of the hardware, and it should open and close smoothly.

The Overall Bag

Take a step back from the bag, and look at it as a whole to see if you spot any flaws inconsistent with the luxury quality associated with Burberry.

If you’re not sure about a bag’s authenticity after closely examining its components and overall construction, consider having it authenticated by a professional appraiser before spending a substantial amount of money on it.

How to Spot a Fake Burberry Coat

The silhouette of a Burberry coat is instantly recognizable — and irresistible to counterfeiters. The general evaluation criteria for coats are the same as those discussed above for bags: impeccable stitching, perfectly aligned patterns, weighty metals and flawless fonts.

Criteria specific to determining if a Burberry coat is a fake follow below.

Labels and Tag

In general, Burberry coats have several tags sewn into the inside seams. The locations and finer details of these tags may vary, depending on the style and age of the coat and the country in which it was manufactured.

Considering the large number of tag variables, it’s best to keep your first inspection simple and then dive deeper into details if something looks amiss. Here’s what to expect on authentic Burberry tags and labels:

  • All words and letters are uniform in size and color and centered on the label. 
  • Words are crisp, with no smudging, bleeding or blurring.
  • Tags are neatly sewn into the seam with uniform stitches.
  • On new coats, a hang tag is attached with a cotton string that must be cut off. If you can pull it off easily, or it’s attached with plastic, taking a closer look to determine the coat’s authenticity may be in order.


Most Burberry coats have crisply detailed, heavyweight plastic buttons with “Burberry” stamped across the top and bottom. If the coat is brand-new, the buttons should be sewn on neatly and securely.

Materials and Colors

Burberry uses only its traditional colors — red, tan, black, gray and blue — for the exterior of its Heritage trench coat. Other styles may have a more vivid palette, incorporating green, pink, white or yellow. Burberry coats are made with high-end woven fabrics. An authentic Burberry coat will feel durable and luxurious, not flimsy or cheap.

The Stitching

Matching the quality and precision of Burberry’s stitching is difficult for counterfeiters — particularly on coats, which have 11.5 stitches per 2.5 centimeters on the collar and four lines of stitching across the belt. Some Burberry coats are quilted in a diamond pattern, which is even more challenging to replicate without deep expertise and expensive, top-of-the-line machinery.

Whether you’re on the hunt for a Burberry bag or iconic trench, a methodical approach to evaluating its authenticity reduces the chances that you’ll fall for a fake. As always, if you’re buying online, only purchase from reputable dealers or platforms that thoroughly vet all sellers and offer buyer protections.

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