Just in time for the summer holidays, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to spotting fake sunglasses so you can be sure how you’re spending your money.
Spotting fake sunglasses is pretty easy when they’re lain out on a sunny beach and labeled with knock-off names like ‘Ray-Boon’ or ‘Gucki.’ It becomes a little trickier online though, when sites work hard to advertise their products as the real deal. Big designer brands like Ray-Ban, Gucci, Tom Ford and Prada have been replicated since their early days. Over the recent years fake sunnies are getting even closer to the real deal in their immediate appearance making it difficult to tell if you’ve been duped. Not all fakes are as obvious as being wonky, or having a ridiculous name. Once you know what to look for though, spotting fakes becomes easy.
Before we get into the step by step guide, it’s important to discuss the danger of fakes. Being tricked into buying knock-off products is infuriating enough on its own. Then there’s the huge dint to your bank balance on a cheap plastic product and not the high-quality pair of sunglasses you were after. Most importantly, fakes never offer the protection your eyes need against the sun. Eyes are extremely sensitive organs that need protection from the sun’s UV rays as much as your skin does.
Long exposure can cause cataracts, eye cancer, macular degeneration, photokeratitis and other painful injuries. High-quality designer sunglasses offer 100% protection from these risks. However, fake sunglasses have cheap lenses that do nothing of use. Many people confuse shaded lenses as offering sun protection but the actual UV protection materials has nothing to do with how shaded the lenses are. In fact, clear optical lenses can be UV protected. Further than this, because fake lenses are shaded, it causes your eyes to relax and your pupils to dilate, allowing even more damaging UV light into your eyes. We know it’s tempting for some fashionistas on a budget to overlook the worry of their “bargain” designer sunglasses being fakes if it saves them a little money. But, in the long run designer sunglasses are always a better choice for protection as well as them being made of durable materials so they won’t need replaced quickly.
Ray-Ban’s are without a doubt one of the most counterfeited products in the world. On holiday, in every market and across the promenades of all the beaches are lines and lines of fake Ray-Ban sunnies. There’s the comic Roy-Bans, the Ray-Bins, the Ray-Bos and the fakes that manage to stick to the name but never the high standard of quality. Online stores won’t be quite so bold as to stray from the iconic Ray-Ban name; they want to make you think they’re selling the real deal. However, more and more sites are cropping up selling fake Ray-Ban’s to unsuspecting customers.
Luckily, Ray-Ban are pushing against these fake sellers with force by giving their customers a sure fire way of checking they are purchasing the real deal. On the official Ray-Ban website you can search for genuine re-sellers by domain name. Enter the name of the website you’re using, for example. https://www.B Sunglasses.co.uk/, and you’ll see we are genuine re-sellers of Ray-Ban. All other genuine re-sellers will be listed here so make sure to check the site you’re on.
What’s more, without even seeing the sunglasses you can take a few clues from the website itself to see if it’s genuine. All good websites should have accessible contact details and all of their products priced within the RRP (Recommended Retail Price) range of their competitors. All genuine products should be priced fairly similarly, give or take the odd discount. If you’re getting excited because you’ve found an astonishingly low price, then slow down, because it’s highly likely that the product is fake. Look at the company’s Terms and Conditions and FAQ’s for more information and check to see if they have any stamps of approval from worldwide manufacturers such as Luxottica. If you are unsure, get in touch and ask for some authorisation from the manufacturers themselves.
Even if you think the website seems legit, and you order your Ray-Ban’s with no worry, still take a couple of minutes to check them when they arrive. It could save you huge disappointment later. Here’s a step by step plan to check your purchase properly…
Box – The box should not be shiny or flimsy, it should be made of sturdy cardboard and should be a silver matte.
Code label – On the end of the box should be a white label with the Ray-Ban product code and bar code on it. This code should match the sunglasses code on the inner arm. To be sure, Google the code and see if your pair comes up.
Case – Ray-Ban cases are made of real leather in either a sleek black or soft brown colour. Obviously, not all of us are experts in spotting real leather, but a quick tip is just to smell the case because that’s an immediate giveaway. Genuine cases should have a strong leathery smell. The inner case should be a soft velour fabric and it goes without saying that all the seams should be neatly sewn. The case should be sturdy, as of course, it’s there to protect your sunnies when you’re on the go. On the left hand side of the case should be the authentic Ray-Ban logo and there should be an inscription on the button in the middle.
Accessories – Each pair of Ray-Ban’s will come with a set of accessories. A high quality cleaning cloth and an instruction booklet will be tucked in the case beside the sunnies. As well as this, there will be a certificate of authenticity. Just to be extra certain, have a glance over these booklets and check everything is spelled correctly and has the correct place of origin etc. It should have a Luxottica group logo on the back.
Frames – Ray-Ban sunglasses are crafted from the highest quality materials and use the latest manufacturing processes to get that classic pristine finish. Ray-Ban sunglasses are usually cut from a single sheet of acetate and hand-polished. This means that any nicks, rough spots or ‘seams’ on the sunglasses indicate a lower quality of material and cheap production values which – you guessed it – are common among fakes. Depending on the style of the sunglasses, the Ray-Ban logo can feature on the temples in a variety of ways. However, the best indication is the product numbers printed on the inlay of the sunglasses. On the left temple you will find the full product number of the sunglasses with a “CE” to indicate that the sunglasses are certified to European eyewear standard. If this is poorly printed or smudged, your product might not be genuine; it’s also always a good idea to check that the code corresponds with the code on your box.
Lenses – Ray-Ban lenses also have a small RB etched in the lens. This detail is the signature trademark of the brand and if your sunnies are real it will never scratch off. Give it a little scratch with your nail and see if it remains.
Nose-pads – An even more minute but important detail is the RB logo on the nose pads. Without this, you know your Ray-Ban’s aren’t genuine.
Hinges – Low quality metal hinges are also a dead giveaway if your sunglasses are copies. The hinges should be cleanly bolted into place and should not show signs of gluing or being held in place by cheap plastic. Your sunglasses should not bend or twist past the hinge.
After Ray-Ban, Gucci suffers many websites and shops flogging fakes of their popular products. Gucci don’t have a way to check if the re-seller is genuine the same way Ray-Ban do. However, like Ray-Ban you can check things on the website that suggest if it’s legitimate or not. Read above for the full details. As well as this, try and make sure the site you purchase from have a flexible returns policy – there’s no reason they shouldn’t – and then you are free to return them if you’re worried they aren’t genuine. Like Ray-Ban again, Gucci packaging gives a lot away but here’s some more in depth advice on what to look for…
Case – The older Gucci eyewear was presented in a shiny gold hard box with a matching leather case inside. The more recent collections however have seen Gucci cut out the outer box and present the sunglasses in a hard box case made of velvet. The cases are mono-colour on the outside, with a vibrant contrasting colour in silk on the inside. The inner case will be printed with the Gucci logo in the middle of the upper section. On the outer packaging (probably a plastic case) there will be a Gucci product code label and bar code.
Accessories – The newer Gucci sunglasses come with an additional soft silk case inside with a ribbon tie and the iconic Gucci logo printed on the front in gold. All Gucci eyewear will come with a soft cleaning cloth and a guide. As well as this, a certificate of authenticity card will accompany the sunglasses and with this you know without a doubt that they are a genuine product.
Frames – Firstly, check the inner left arm for the product code, match this up to the code on the label on the case. Be sure to Google this code too so you make sure the image it brings up matches your product. On the right arm the Gucci logo and a ‘Made In Italy’ sign will be printed in small writing. All Gucci eyewear is made in Italy, so if any other country is printed there then alarm bells should ring. There will also be a ‘CE’ sign which stands for European Conformity. So sellers have gotten good at manufacturing fakes right down to minute details, so give these writings a little scratch because they shouldn’t budge if the sunglasses are genuine.
Lenses – On the left lenses the Gucci logo is etched close to the frame. This, like the writing on the frames, shouldn’t scratch off no matter how long you have your sunnies for.
Weight – This seems like an obscure one because ‘how heavy should a good pair of sunglasses be?’ is a difficult question. However, fake sunglasses are made of cheap, light materials and you’ll be able to tell when you hold them in your hand. Even though real Gucci sunglasses are comfortable, and therefore not really heavy, they should feel sturdy and of significant weight.
Price – With high-quality manufacturing, and high-fashion style, from Gucci you also have to pay higher prices. This is unavoidable when paying for high-end designer products and therefore if you’re sunglasses are remarkably cheap then it is undoubtedly because they are fakes. Don’t be hypnotised by cheap prices; remember to stay rational and remember you are buying a top market product.
Italian fashion house Prada has a rich fashion heritage. Prada is one of the biggest fashion houses in the world, known for their impeccable quality and sense of glamour. Prada eyewear is also part of the Luxottica group and therefore shares some of the same authenticity features as the other brands mentioned. As with Gucci and Ray-Ban, Prada sunglasses will have the product code printed on both the box and the inner arm. Prada boxes are a dark blue, extremely sturdy cardboard rectangle with the Prada name printed in silver on the top. Make sure all the accessories are there – a soft cleaning cloth and the information booklet with Luxottica printed on the back.
On the right arm will be written ‘Prada Made In Italy CE.’ Prada lenses have a colourless, transparent etching of their logo that is barely visible. Again, you should never be able to scratch the logo etching off the lens. Our top trick to spot a fake is the detailing of the Prada logo. On the nose pads the Prada name is printed in small, but extremely clear, writing. The genuine Prada name should have a small crescent shape in the letter ‘R’ where the circular top meets the bottom. This tiny detail is most often missed by counterfeiters.
Oakley creates some of the best performance eyewear on the market. If you’re investing in a pair of Oakley’s then you’re investing in functionality as much as you are style. Therefore, it’s crucially important that you don’t get ripped off paying for a cheap pair of low-quality plastic sunglasses that won’t do anything they say on the box. Advanced technology and high-quality materials go into the fabrication of each pair of Oakley’s, the brand is famed for their ground-breaking lenses, comfortable frames, and durability.
Firstly, Oakley sunglasses are all manufactured in America so the box and all the booklets should be marked “Made in USA.” Like with the other sunglasses, if any other country is written then alarm bells should start ringing. Each pair of Oakley’s is presented in a thin black cardboard box with the logo and some grey detailing on it. The product code labels are larger than other brands, with multiple bar codes, the name of the sunglasses style and the product code and colour printed on it. Oakley cases are hard black/grey oval cases with a zipper opening. Inside you should also a receive a soft silk bag for a more compact travel case.
Oakley frames will also have the iconic “O” logo glued to the temple. If you’re feeling unsure about your sunglasses a simple way to check is to google the model you’ve purchased and see if the “O” logo is on the same place in the temple as the photo. It’s a detail that counterfeiters often get wrong and it’s a sure mark that your sunnies are fake if it’s not in the exact same place. Like the other brands, Oakley print their product code down the inner arm, as well as having “CE” on the other arm. Remember to check the product code matches the box and the product on the official Oakley site.
Oakley nose pads are made from high-quality materials that offer maximum comfort. Therefore they should feel really soft and spongy rather than hard and smooth like fakes will have. On the lenses, depending on the style you order, there will be a few different markings. Oakley will often be etched into the upper centre, and the special edition sunnies will have a marking on the lower lenses. For example, the Radar EV Path frames from the Tour De France Collection all have a cartoonish “”Le Tour de France” etched into the lower lens. Go on the Oakley website and search the pair you’re after. Carefully match the markings on their frames to the ones you’ve ordered. If the pair are genuine then there will be no disparities between the details. All designer sunglasses offer high-quality and therefore buying a fake causes issues. But, for Oakley in particular we want to stress the importance of purchasing the real thing – it’s performance eyewear and we can gurantee the fakes will never perform.
Tom Ford designs are favourites of celebrities and fashion-lovers. The high-quality craftsmanship that goes into each pair of sunglasses is what makes them such a stunning product – if they’re genuine that is. Authentic Tom Ford’s are presented in a luxurious brown velour hard case in a sturdy brown box with a soft cleaning cloth and an information booklet. Tom Ford sunglasses are produced under license by the Marcolin group, so this should be printed on the booklet you receive. Tom Ford sunglasses always come with a little envelope containing a gold typed certificate of authenticity on brown card. Marcolin are based in Italy and each pair of sunglasses should have “Tom Ford Made in Italy CE” printed on the inner arm. As well as this, like the other brands, there should be the product code printed on the inner arm.
A common feature of Tom Ford sunglasses is an embedded metal logo on the tip of each arm. Check your style on the official website and see if all these details match up properly. All the logos should be in the exact same places. An iconic detail of Tom Ford’s is the T-shaped hinge design and this appears on nearly all of the brand’s eyewear. However, because it is so distinctive then counterfeiters have grown pretty good at including this detail in their fake products, so don’t rely on the T hinge as a mark of authenticity. Finally, remember to use your gut, Tom Ford is a luxury designer with a legacy of producing high-quality eyewear; your sunglasses shouldn’t be made of really lightweight plastic, bend, chip, or lose any of their refined finish.
Other common counterfeits
We’ve picked the brands that are most commonly replicated on the market today. However, like anything, successful sunglasses designs lead to fakes. This season, Saint Laurent’s dramatic cateye Lily frames and their oval sunnies have become hugely popular for summer festivals and therefore fakes of both styles have grown rife. Dolce & Gabbana’s fresh playful design, and Miu Miu’s geometric shapes are also soaring in popularity. Again, there are countless copies on the market. More or less, big designers ensure their high-quality products have many marks of authenticity. Remember, always check the product code on your sunglasses arm to the code on the box, as well as looking up the code on the official website to check the image matches your pair. It’s not only the luxury designers who have their products copied, other brands who sell high-quality eyewear for lower prices are also counterfeited. Fake Levi’s, Freedom Polarised, French Connection, Ben Sherman, and other more affordable brands have many fakes on the market. These fakes are equally as dangerous because they don’t offer the protection the established brands provide.
Before you even begin to look at the minute details of your eyewear though remember these three big signs of authenticity-
- Price – as we’ve previously said, if the price sounds too good to be true then it probably is. High-quality products from big designers will never vary in price too much from those on their website.
- Case – Designer sunglasses are always presented in a protective travel case with the brand’s name printed on it. If you receive a flimsy plain silk bag, or just a plastic covering, then you know your purchase isn’t genuine.
- Frame – Use your gut. Do the frames feel light? Are they wonky, scratched or peeling in any way? Do the arms bend making them too big or little? Are the hinges weak and easy to move? If yes is the answer to any of these questions then send your sunnies back and find a genuine retailer.
We hope this guide has reassured those of you looking for quality sunglasses. With anything great, there will always be copycats, but fake sunglasses are not only a rip-off, they also pose serious risks to your health. If you have bought a knock-off pair then we’d recommend getting in touch with an authorized retailer and inform them of the website and hopefully stop this seller from trading. It’ll prevent someone else being tricked into spending their hard-earned money on fakes!