How to Authenticate Prada Bags | Full Guide to Real vs Fake Prada

How to Authenticate Prada Bags | Full Guide to Real vs Fake Prada

Since entering the scene in 1913, Prada has managed to truly revolutionise the fashion industry, from its iconic nylon bags to its innovative and functional apparel that never fails to capture global attention. But with such a tremendous presence and immense popularity, comes counterfitters who try to capitalise on demand for the Italian luxury fashion house’s products. The most counterfeited Prada products are by far, bags. Whether it be backpacks, shoulder bags, waist packs or hand bags, there are countless fakes looming around the world, both online and in physical stores such as second-hand shops and thrift-stores.

If you’re looking to purchase (or have already purchased) and authenticate a Prada bag, this will be your most definitive and detailed guide. Here at Top Floor Gallery, we sell a range of designer labels, with Prada being one of our most regularly-stocked and requested bands. Given that all of our items are 100% authentic (or a full refund, guaranteed), we thought it would be a great idea to inform everyone on how they can distinguish between a fake and real Prada bag. We recommend keeping this page bookmarked, so you can refer to it whenever you need to authenticate a Prada bag for yourself, or someone else. 

To make things nice and clear, we’ve broken this guide down into 2 major categories: Standard Prada Bags (that feature the inverted triangle badge) and Prada Sport/Linea Rossa Bags. We’ve then further categorised important points that we like to call POAs (Points of Authentication) for both styles of bags.

Mainline Prada Bags

With mainline, we are referring to the bags that feature Prada’s iconic inverted triangle badge on the outside, as seen below.

These bags are the most commonly replicated bags by counterfeiters, so it’s good to become familiar with how to tell apart an authentic from a fake. 

 

1. Front Badge/Plaque

The best place to start is by analysing the inverted triangle badge. The badge/plaque on an authentic Prada bag will have the following features

  • All 3 corners of the triangle will be rounded
  • A hollow or filled silver circle on all 3 corners for ceramic badges (leather badges will not have the circles, but neat stitching around the edges of the triangle)
  • The words ‘PRADA’ ‘MILANO’ (not ‘MILAN’ sometimes seen on replicas) and ‘DAL 1913’ (meaning from 1913), all in capital letters
  • The colour of the Plaque should match the colour of the bag’s leather
  • A slight indent/ notch in the ‘R’ in Prada, located where the right leg conjoins to the letter (watch video)
  • The top of the right leg in the ‘A’ in Prada will overhang the letter
  • Right legs of the ‘A’ are thicker than the left legs
  • Even spacing between letters
  • Plaque is nice and straight – not skewed

2. Interior/Inner features

i) Plaque/Badge

Depending on the Prada bag, the brand marking on the inside will be slightly different. But, all authentic Prada bags will have inside branding – if the bag doesn’t, it’s fake. 

The older style bags (pre-2010) will feature a rectangular plaque (again, the same colour as the bag’s leather), with a silver or gold outline/border and embossed text. “PRADA MILANO” or “PRADA MADE IN ITALY” will be displayed on two lines, or “PRADA MILANO MADE IN ITALY” separated on three lines.The newer style bags will almost always display “PRADA MADE IN ITALY” on two lines.

Some bags will not have a ceramic plaque, but the text printed directly on the inner leather material. Some newer Prada bags may have the text printed on a rectangular leather patch rather than ceramic. 

The same features on the inverted triangle plaque apply to the text on the inside branding – indent in the R, even spacing etc. 

ii) Lining 

Depending on the bag, the material of the lining will vary. But if you come across a Prada bag with the rope motif (usually made from embossed jacquard nylon fabric or nappa leather), here’s what you need to know. As seen below, the Prada name is written horizontally alternating with the rope design. The Prada name should be upside down on every other line. 

When it comes to the rope motif, there should NOT be a notch in the ‘R’, nor should the right leg in the ‘A’ hang over the letter. Therefore, if you see a Prada Bag that follows the same rules/format as the lettering on the plaques for the lining, or not flipped every other line, it’s not authentic! 

iii) Quality Assurance/Factory tag

Stitched into the inner-seam of all authentic Prada bags is a small square white tag with a number printed in black, indicating the bag’s factory number. The number can be one, two or three digits. If you have the Prada bag with you, check the inside to see if there’s a quality assurance tag. If looking at a bag online, ask the seller to provide a photo of the tag.

3. Zipper

  • Unlike Gucci, and post-90s Louis Vuitton bags, Prada don’t manufacture its own zippers. The only 5 manufacturers you will see on authentic Prada bags are

    • Lampo
    • Opti
    • Riri
    • Ipi
    • YKK

    To see if the bag uses one of these 5 brands, check the underside of the zipper(s). The factory stamp/name should be engraved or embossed.

The zip tab will be manufactured from either leather in the form of a short tab, or from woven cotton in the form of a longer loop strap. Hand bags often feature solid silver or gold-coloured zip tabs with “PRADA MILANO” engraved. 

4. Authenticity Card

Although this is something to check, if you’re purchasing a second hand Prada bag, they may not always come with the authenticity card. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a counterfeit – so always analyse other aspects mentioned in this guide.

 

When purchased from a Prada store, all bags will come with two cards inside a black/dark navy blue envelope. These two cards are the 

  • Authenticity card (approx. 5.5cm x 8.5cm)

A white, plastic card

Front: The Prada logo, and “Authenticity Certificate Card” in English and Italian

Back: Two blank spaces for the sales associate to fill in the date and store location of purchase (these may be blank)

  • Product card (approx. 4.5cm x 8cm)

Black cardboard

Front: Prada logo embossed

Back: White sticker with product name, article code (Art.), colour, group name (material), product number. 

5. Leather

Calf or lambskin, the most commonly used leather by Prada, is high quality and supple. If the bag comes with the authenticity card, check to make sure the description of the leather on the card matches the bag.

6. Stitching and Overall Quality

Generally, the topstitching on Prada bags is stitched at a slight angle. Fakes often have a horizontal topstitching.

7. Hardware and Engraving

The hardware on authentic Prada bags are often engraved with ‘PRADA’ (again, in the same font style with the same lettering rules with the R and As), or “PRADA MILANO” on metal zipper tabs.

8. Dustbag

An important point to keep in mind when buying second hand Prada bags are; just because there is no authentication certificate, card, or receipt, you should not rule it out as being inauthentic. Many, if not most second hand Prada will not come with these – that’s why being familiar with other aspects such as the lettering will provide you with a better indication. 

 

Prada dust bags can be found in two colours 

  1. i) White with blue logo
  2. ii) dark/navy blue with gold logo

 

The dustbags will feature drawstrings on the two top corners, in the same colour as the bag. 

Prada Sport Bags

Introduced in 1997, Prada Sport (now Prada Linea Rossa since its name change in 2009) is the brand’s line that focuses on functional apparel and accessories. Touted by some as the original athleisure, Prada Sport incorporated unique materials in unprecedented ways, such as industrial nylon. During the late 90s and 2000s, Prada released numerous bags under the Prada Sport line, which differ in style to the mainline bags covered above. Here are some Prada Sport bags released throughout the years. 

Although bags from this line are no longer produced (as far as we know) and there were far fewer replicas of these bags made, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist, or won’t exist in the future. Especially considering the relaunch of the Linea Rossa line in Fall Winter of 2018, showcasing a range of high-fashion, high-performance apparel.

We’ll be going through similar POAs as the mainline bags, for the Prada Sport bags. 

1. Front Badge/Plaque

Rather than a ceramic inverted triangle, Prada Sport utilises a soft, silicone-like plastic material for its iconic red rectangular logo. Examine the logo below carefully – some important characteristics to take note of are 

  • Raised inner rectangle inside of the larger rectangle. 
  • Straight red stitching along the outside of the smaller raised rectangle (don’t worry about the number of stitches. Unlike e.g. the stitching on Louis Vuitton Speedy and Alma bags (which will always have 5 stitches running across the handle). Some bags may have more stitches, while some less. 
  • Outline of the letters ‘PRADA’ are debossed, and the letters themselves embossed within the indents. 
  • The ‘R’ and ‘A’ letter format rule also applies here, but it may not be as easy to see the notch in the letter R.
  • The logo should be approx. ___cm x ___cm and have a rubbery texture

2. Interior/Inner features

i) Inner Tag

All authentic Prada sport bags will have inside branding – if the bag doesn’t, it’s fake. 

 

  • The inner tag is a transparent rubber/silicone material rectangle (approx. __cm x ___cm), with grey cross/zig-zag stitching running along the edges. 
  • The red prada sport logo should be embossed/raised and placed approx. __cm below the top of the transparent tag. Once again, the outline of the letters will be debossed, while the letters themselves (in white) will be raised within the debossing). 
  • The bag’s article code (e.g. Art. 4VA032) and ‘Mat.’ (e.g. Mat.JAY) should be embossed in black, and in the larger font than all other text
  • The materials the bag is comprised of should be embossed in black, all in capitals – in a smaller font than the Art. and Mat. (most, if not all Prada Sport bags will be 63% polyester, 37% polyurethane, with a 100% polyamide lining)
  • “Made in Italy” should be displayed on the bottom left on the transparent tag. If not, there should be a black loop tag inside the bag with “Made in Italy” and the materials re-stated _______.
  • Washing and care icons running vertically down the right side of the transparent tag 

ii) Lining 

The 100% polyamide will is a grey colour – the texture will be exactly like nylon (as nylon is a type of polyamide).

iii) Quality Assurance/Factory tag

Just like the mainline bags, stitched into the inner-seam of all authentic Prada sport bags is a small square white tag with a number printed in black, indicating the bag’s factory number. The number can be one, two or three digits. If you have the Prada bag with you, check the inside to see if there’s a quality assurance tag. If looking at a bag online, ask the seller to provide a photo of the tag. 

Exceptions: There are exceptions to some Prada Sport bags in terms of the red horizontal logo and inner tag. 

  1. Some bags (like the ones seen below) will feature the red horizontal logo on the outer-face, but the ceramic badge seen on mainline bags, on the inside.
  2. Some bags will also feature the red horizontal logo, but with white lettering. 

3. Zipper

As with the mainline Prada bags, the only 5 manufacturers you will see on authentic Prada sport bags are

  • Lampo
  • Opti
  • Riri
  • Ipi
  • YKK

To see if the bag uses one of these 5 brands, check the underside of the zipper(s). The factory stamp/name should be engraved or embossed. 

The zip tab will almost always be manufactured from woven cotton in the form of a longer loop strap (generally black or grey depending on the bag).  

4. Authenticity Card

Although this is something to check, if you’re purchasing a second hand Prada bag, they may not always come with the authenticity card. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a counterfeit – so always analyse other aspects mentioned in this guide.

 

When purchased from a Prada store, all bags will come with two cards These two cards are the 

  • Authenticity card (approx. 5.5cm x 8.5cm)

A silver-grey plastic card (originally in a transparent pocket/sleeve as the envelope). 

Front: The Prada Sport logo, and “Authenticity Certificate Card” in English and Italian

Back: Two blank spaces for the sales associate to fill in the date and store location of purchase (these may be blank)

  • Product card (approx. 4.5cm x 8cm)

Transparent hard plastic 

Product name, size, Art., colour, group name (*sport*), and one (or two) barcodes.

The product cards are handled by the sales associates at the retail level, while the authenticity cards are generated at the factory level before being passed onto the stores. 

 

Remember that the PRADA spell out on both these cards and the envelope should follow the same formatting/font rules as above.

5. Stitching and overall quality

Generally, the topstitching on Prada bags is stitched at a slight angle. Fakes often have a horizontal topstitching.

6. Hardware and Engraving

The hardware on authentic Prada bags are often engraved with ‘PRADA’ (again, in the same font style with the same lettering rules with the R and As), as seen below

7. Dustbag

Prada Sport bags came in transparent plastic bags, much like the bags that BAPE and Palace items are packaged in. Coming across a Prada Sport bag that comes with the transparent bag is not common. 

With all the information above, you’ll now have the knowledge and confidence to distinguish an authentic Prada bag from a fake one. If you’d like to find out how to authenticate a Gucci bag, check out our detailed article here. We also stock 100% authentic Prada items here on Top Floor Gallery, including mainline bags, Prada Sport bags, as well as apparel. Shop our Prada sale today.