Fake Spotting: The Cambridge Satchel - Authentic vs Replica
22 October 2012

Fake Spotting: The Cambridge Satchel – Authentic vs Replica

With its humble beginnings that stemmed from founder Julie Deane’s DIY kitchen project, The Cambridge Satchel Company has basically catapulted into a global phenomenon. In fact, its fashion footprint seems to be expanding – it has gone on to win UK’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2012) and is currently in the running for the 2013 European Business Awards!

With its ever-increasing demand, the “Cambridge Satchel boom” is here to stay. And with that, comes tonnes of imitations and replicas. First, it was Zatchels, whom The Cambridge Satchel Company had successfully won the case against. Well, not that I’m advocating inspired-by goods in any shape or form, but at least Zatchels marketed it under their own brand (which is bad enough!). Yesterday, I actually came across a store that actually claimed that it was selling “the original Cambridge Satchel”.

I won’t name the store, its location, nor show the tag that says “The Original Cambridge Satchel” because it has the name of the store printed on it.  However, please be aware when purchasing a Cambridge Satchel: I can confirm that it isn’t officially brought directly into KL, whether by a store, or mall kiosk. The only place that it’s stocked in, is Glampot,  a luxury boutique that sells both brand new and preloved bags.

Because of this, today’s post is dedicated to telling an authentic Cambridge Satchel apart from an imitation or replica because what I saw was pretty darn close to the original. In fact, it was even available in the same colours and sizes (11″ and 13″)!

Cambridge Satchel Fans would know that unless it’s an ASOS exclusive or a designer collaboration, the satchel style doesn’t come in bi-colours. It’s only the Designer Collection that’s available in bi-tones, but in a batchel style (top handle atop the flap).

Next, all satchels and batchels come with a dust bag as shown below.

However, please note that if you purchase it via e-tailers like Shopbop or ASOS, it doesn’t come with the dustbag. You only get the dustbag if you buy it via the Official Website , or luxury department stores such as Harvey Nichols, Harrod’s, Selfridges and Bloomingdales.

All the original Cambridge Satchels and batchels have an embossed line border around the bottom of the flap in front and on the top of the strap.

The lines on the strap where my thumb is. There should be 2 – one on each side.
The line on the flap that goes round the sides as well, but no line on top.

And for the replica: no visible lines embossed whatsoever on both the flap or the strap.

The entire body of the satchel is made from one piece of leather, and therefore, aren’t any stitches that attach the flap to the bag at the back.

Whereas in the case of the replica, the flap is sewn onto the back of the bag.

And if you notice from the image directly above this, there isn’t anything at the bottom. On the other hand, the authentic Cambridge Satchels and Batchels have an embossed stamp right in the middle at the bottom of the bag with the brand’s logo (see photo below).

Other factors that you should be aware of:
The price:  Please note that Cambridge Satchels (after conversion) retail between RM600+ to 800/900+ depending on the exchange rate. So if you purchase a 13″ Cambridge Satchel from the website, it should be slightly less than RM700 with shipping inclusive but not including any customs taxes that might be incurred upon delivery.

The texture: The Cambridge satchel is made of genuine bovine leather which gives it a structured look, that’s also stiff to the touch. Although fakes, too, look structured, the ones that I have seen are not nearly as stiff, and quite “squishable”. Try squeezing the top of the flap of the Cambridge Satchel and you would realise that it doesn’t bend nor fold in, whereas the fakes do tend to do so much more easily.

Of course there will be other factors, because others would replicate it slightly differently, but I hope you found this helpful!

All images are by Stylicious Fashionista.