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Knock-Offs: How to Spot a Fake Lacoste and Other Imitation Clothing

Published 12/18/07 (Modified 6/17/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

Knock-Offs: How to Spot a Fake Lacoste and Other Imitation Clothing

I went to gradate school in the run down city of Baltimore, Maryland. I used to joke with my friends that more people in Baltimore City owned and carried around designer Louis Vuitton handbags than in any other city in the world. When I went to school there it seemed like every corner near the city courthouse had a vendor hawking fake designer brand products like Prada, Coach, and even Polo Ralph Lauren. Most of the merchandise were no doubt fakes - cheaply made knock offs made in countries like China, a country known for its lax efforts in stopping piracy in the marketplace.

I want to focus my analysis on the Lacoste designer clothing brand line. Companies like Lacoste spend a great deal of investment on brand building and quality control. However, with the prevalence of overseas sweatshops and people buying Lacoste clothing online, fake knockoffs have been spreading through the internet marketplace like wildfire and many buyers are unwittingly ending up with fakes. While a genuine Lacoste polo shirt can cost an average of $60-75 per shirt, buyers of fakes are frequently getting ripped off for shoddy products worth substantially less. Whether it makes any sense to pay so much for a mere polo shirt is another matter. The fact is, buyers have to be able to ensure they are getting the high end quality product they are paying top dollar for.

Unlike authentic Lacoste clothing, fakes and knock offs simply don't wear and feel like the real thing. Sometimes it's easy to spot the fake, but sometimes the differences are much more subtle. It's easy to know it's a fake when you are only paying $10 for a supposedly genuine Lacoste shirt off a street vendor, but what about when you are buying online? Many of the tips and telltale signs provided below can also be used for other designer clothing brands as well.

Here Are Some Of The Things To Look Out For To Determine Whether A Lacoste Shirt Is A Genuine Or Fake

1) The Lacoste Crocodile Patch - Lacoste's famous trademark symbol is its Lacoste crocodile logo patch. This is one of the easiest way to spot a fake. A genuine Lacoste crocodile should be very distinct and should show scales, claws, and teeth. Any variation from this detailed standard should be deemed a fake, as high end designer brands like Lacoste spend a great deal of effort to ensure quality and uniformity. For the men's polo shirts, the crocodile is embroidered on a patch then sewn onto the shirt, rather than printed directly on the shirt. In the women's, it is printed onto the shirt. The Lacoste crocodile symbol should be attached seamlessly with no obvious white stitch marks attaching the patch to the shirt.

2) Crocodile Alignment - On men's polos, the crocodile is on the left hand side, between the bottom stitching and the second button. In the image displayed, I want to draw your attention to the genuine blue Lacoste shirt on the right hand side labeled "Real" - notice how the crocodile logo is aligned directly between the lower button and the bottom stitching. This is an authentic shirt. Contrast that with the pirated yellow shirt on the left side labeled "Fake" where the logo is instead aligned with the bottom placket stitching. This is one of the easiest way to tell a fake from a real one.

3) Pearl Buttons - Genuine Lacoste polo shirts have real pearl buttons, known as mother of pearl. Since the pearls are naturally found, no two patterns should be the same. Fakes usually have mass produced plastic buttons. The real Lacoste buttons should not have anything printed on them either. If they have the word "Lacoste" on the button, the shirt is a fake.

4) Unusually Low Cost - Lacoste is a high end, fairly expensive designer brand. As such, prices are usually high and for good reason since the products are usually of very high quality design and material. Prices are usually around $60-72 for a single polo shirt. If you discover prices that are extraordinarily different, you are most likely dealing with a fake. If you are only paying $10 for the shirt, your alarm and antennae should be going off.

5) Cloth Material - Genuine Lacoste clothing should be made of 100% soft cotton and neatly threaded. There should be little to no loose threading as is frequently found on shoddy and inferior knockoffs. The cuffs on the sleeves should not appear shredded and the stitching should not come loose only after a few washes.

6) Sizes - Lacoste clothing are sized using numbers, rather than the usual letters or words, e.g. sizes 3, 4 , 5. They do not come in sizes utilizing the words "small", "medium", or "large".

7) Method of Sale and Purchase - Many eBay sellers will insist and claim that their Lacoste products are real and authentic, but 90% of them are either wrong or lying. Unfortunately, even by checking their feedbacks isn't necessarily sufficient to protect you from fakes since many buyers themselves cannot readily distinguish the fakes from the real thing until it is too late. Lacoste does not have factory discount outlets, but sells its products through select distributors at premium prices. Be careful if you decide to buy through an online auction or through an amateur supplier based in Asia as many are the works of scam artists. I highly advise against buying from such shady sources and recommend sticking with more reputable and established shops.

Where To Buy Genuine Lacoste Polo, and Other Luxury Brand Clothing Products:

The best and most reliable source for genuine Lacoste products is from an actual Lacoste branded store or from a major department store retailer like Macy's, Nordstrom's, Bloomingdale's, or Neiman Marcus. From any other place like eBay, Craigslist, or some street side China Town type vendor - you're just asking for trouble so please be careful! Those type of deals will appear to be substantially cheaper, but remember, you get what you pay for.

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115 Responses to “Knock-Offs | Fake Lacoste | Imitation Clothing | Money Blue Book” 

  1. rajesh says:

    follow up to my previous message,it has a blue crocodile on the shirt and no pocket i bought it from lacoste from sheffield uk

  2. linda says:

    10 years from now will it really matter if you wore a real or fake? I could care less. I will wear a fake and put the change in my pocket. Who really gives a ____? It's not the shirt, it's the person in the shirt.

  3. nik says:

    does anyone know were i can find 100% aunthetic lacoste t-shirts in bulk lot wholesale

  4. jil says:

    Well, anybody have the right to decide what to wear and not wear, if it is a fake one or a real one!!! Is that really make a different? Some people can afford to buy a lacoste polo shirt at 80$ other ones can't, some people can pay 15,20 or 30 bucks for a fake one and they happy, so what!!!!!

  5. matt walker says:

    I am from Baltimore, dont talk about my city, I own a clothing store in Florida, home of the flea markets with all the bootleg stuff. On every tag the is a RA number, if you dont see RA and some digits after that on the tag it"s not real

  6. Marcus says:

    not actually accurate i bet you this guy is working for lacoste just hating on knock-offs. Who cares if its $10.00 lacoste or not as long as theyre close enough people will not look at you and investigate your shirt.
    Everything is made in asia anyways and they all cost cheap from the factory same place wer lacoste gets them.

  7. Raymond says:


    I do not work for Lacoste or any other clothing apparel related company. I'm just a regular online consumer advocate who writes for his own blog.

    I don't have anything against knock offs or pirated shirts. In fact, I own several cheap imitations. However, what I don't appreciate is those out there who attempt to sell fake polos or fake Lacoste clothing on eBay auctions or Craigslist while making them out to be real. Oftentimes, these sellers will sell the fakes at high price premiums, prices one would normally pay if they were the real deal. That's the part that really grinds my gears.

  8. jakehall says:

    after reading all of these comments i am shocked as it is my birthday on friday and i have just got a lacoste top that i orderd of a website which tbh looked abit dodgy (www.bvbargain.co.uk) my polo has the pearl bottons logo in the correct place the tag says the size in a ''5'' in red and also it says desighned in france and made in peru , but the logo is abit shorter than the real , could this be a real polo ?

  9. arby says:

    I hate to say it,
    but does anyone realise that we are being frauded when we pay $100 for a POLO!?
    I mean come on! There is no way that that polo cost more than $10 to produce and its being turned around and sold for 100+ thats rediculous!?

  10. Yaser says:

    there's a store in UK, scotts, in which the logo aligns with bottom stitch!!

  11. Bella says:

    Now they can copy it even better:) thanks.

  12. Ma Neta Ji says:

    Hey not all lacoste shirts have a pearl button many shirts displayed on their website have different colors. I just bought a few shirts from a street vendor but they were fake
    I found that out through the LOGO thanks this article was really informative :)

  13. Bjorn says:

    Hi! First of all, thanks for a great article! But I still have a few questions, and would be very glad if someone could help me out.

    Today, I went to a store and bought a Lacoste Polo Shirt just like this one: http://www.hipleeds.com/?i=5963

    I read somewhere that the lacoste logo on the tag was supposed to have two eyes, but on mine you can't se the eyes. Does this make my shirt fake?

    I also noticed that it's not 100% cotton, but I see they sell the same shirt from a lacoste website (http://shopapparel.lacoste.com/p/Red-Collection-Short-Sleeve-Stretch-Polo-with-Contrast-Color-Trim/B001NDHI58) with 94% cotton and 6% elastane. So, does anyone know if it's real or fake?

    Thanks for reading! :)

  14. chianayne says:


    I dont think that the shirts selling at shopapparel.com(lacoste)is fake..

  15. Max says:

    There are several things to be noted, when buying Lacoste polo.
    They have started to add new collections thus they do now produce 3-button, 2-button, with green logo, with silver logo, with 100% cotton or some elastine...
    But what they do not change is what is written above (No 2) - Crocodile Logo is one of the most well-known logos in the world and Lacoste takes care of. Disregarding is it green, silver, bigger or smaller (like f/e on some new collections or oxford etc. shirts), attached higher or lower - it is very carefully done. You can easily see eye, teeth - all details. And color is vivid.

    Also as it is mentioned by Del below - shirt is always very light and well-done. It "breathes" and you can see light thru if you look.

    In fact there is no real reason buying fake product, when you can always find less expensive but genuine alternative.
    Lacoste is a grate brand but not the only one. There are plenty of almost the same quality Italian or even Turkish textile fabrics, for a half or even less price.

  16. Bjorn says:

    Thanks for answering Max! I took a closer look at the shirt after I red your response, and it seems real from what you told. The crocodile one the chest is very detailed, but the one on the tag (on the little note where you read the size of the shirt) didn't have eyes. I could clairly see light trough the shirt when I held it up though, so I'm guessing it's real :-) Do you have any examples of good Italian brands? I'm always open for suggestions!
    Thanks again!

  17. Max says:

    to Bjorn
    If It looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, than it's probably a duck :)

    I mean logo which is on the front. It is the easiest way to check if Lacoste is genuine. And Lacoste was in fact first who put logo on chest - that's how they've changed standards in fact.
    Label croco is different - one on chest has black eyes etc... and one on label is green and white.

    As for about Italy - in department stores I was astonished to find enormous number of almost non-known local brands, with nice quality and medium prices.

    I should say that I'm rather brand-sticker. 90% of all clothes I do have are from the same brands (4 in fact) including Lacoste... thus have not "tested" many other brands wearing, but have seen lots of other shirts in Italy looking nice "by-eye" and "by-touch" and "by-feeling".

    F/e internationally better known - Fabio di Nicola, maybe not the cheapest one but medium-priced. OVS (Oviesse), Bernardi...
    Turkish group ABBATE also holds some medium-sized Italian manufactures.

    German Rene Lezard, Mexx (Dutch) are good alternatives. Or cheaper Chinese Giordano, Turkish Collin's still better I think than buying something fake.
    Not to mention Groups like ZARA as everybody knows...
    Also good idea to go for second and third branded lines - like Armani Exchange.

    Going back to the topic - as general, there is no such thing like cheap Lacoste. Lacoste has done alot to be pointed as high-end fashion brand (in their segment of course). Like any other high-fashion brand it is member of French Fashion Federation, has well-known chief designer and takes part in Fashion weeks. They want to look "preppy". They don't want to be a mass-market product. They are sold only in boutiques or special corners with design, logo, trained personnel etc... etc...

    And one more thing - Lacoste has a world-wide agreement with Devanlay Group - Lacoste clothing items producer. If Lacoste is not produced by Devanly - be sure, it's not genuine (of course, I do not mean boots, belts, towels, various accessories etc. or old ones - 10 or more years old).

  18. Silveraden says:

    Wow, I was about to buy 3 shirts from a dealer and thanks I found this blog. Based on the example of crocodile alignment you posted, there is no doubt that the shirts I am about to buy are 100% fake... Thanks for this post..

  19. Ceschr says:

    Go to any department store and you will find variations in the patch placement depending on the color and size. (In fact, I just came back from Macey's.) The buttons and material change too depending on the market/country. European outlets are much different than a US dept store.
    It's sad, but there is no sure way to buy an authentic product unless you buy it in a dept. store or brand store.

  20. max says:

    You are pessimist, Ceschr :)
    But those manufactures, who produce fake garments simply are not organized to pay attention to all details and to produce product which is really identical. And they do not aim to. They are focused on different market segments. F/e Lacoste Polo is "absorbing" it's color thru the unique process which lasts at leas 13 hours (!). Who has time and patience to imitate that?
    I have seen lots of faked polos, some really good, but none of them was done carefully enough. Thus it is STILL possible to find difference. But whilst buying you should concentrate on very small details and not generals.

    As for original Lacoste outlets - they do not differ much. They do not differ at all. If we speak about the same model of course.
    Sure, there are various models which differ - that's why they are different models, right?

    And collections are designed at Lacoste different way from if you compare with mass-market companies like Gap or Zarra. Lacoste has globals strategy today and tough control over design process. They quit with various partners (like Izod...) and today each type of product is produced only by sole company with global license. That was done to avoid varieties you speak about. F/e clothing is produced solely by Devanlay. For Paris, London or NYC. The same about belts, watches, fragrance, frames etc... etc... Sole global partner per division.
    Simple and very efficient strategy.

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