I'm working on the sequel to my book Black Market Billions. Research has taken me back to the same places I hit while writing my first book. Last weekend, it was Chinatown. Things have changed a lot in what I call "the epicenter of counterfeit handbag sales in NYC" since 2010. First, people come up to you asking if you want a luxury handbag. A couple years ago, those bags were displayed in the street on blankets. Second, the police presence is felt. Third, the "good fakes" are almost always in upstairs rooms where it can take up to 20 minutes for someone to take your request, fetch it and bring it to you. Last, sellers of fake goods are aware cops are around, and don't want to get caught.
As an experiment, I went to Canal Street. An Asian man approached me and asked what type of bag I wanted. I told him "Goyard." The Goyard brand has been around for more than 161 years. It started out as a luggage and trunk maker based in Paris. It's been a favorite of the well traveled elite, created an air of mystery around it, and has become a favorite of the hip-hop set thanks to style icons like Pharrell, A$AP Rocky and Lil Yachty. I picked it because it's incredibly difficult to identify the real from the fake. Check it:
Goyard bags are sold in limited quantities and in limited places in the United States. Retailers like Barneys (see above) or Bergdorf Goodman have the exclusive rights to sell these bags. Caveat Emptor if you are purchasing a bag on eBay, Craigslist or some rando site that doesn't have a verification process in place.
To the untrained eye, this bag could look authentic. The plastic wrap around the handles is a dead give away it's not real, however the chevron logos and the placement of the Goyard lettering is spot on.