Quality of the hardware
Coach hardware is primarily composed of nickel, brass or gunmetal. Only a Coach lozenge logo should be stamped on buckles, pinch clips and charms. You'll find the embossed logo on the hardware of wallets, belts, key fobs, some glove styles and newer handbags, with the exception of the Legacy line which takes its inspiration from older classic styles. The buckles and pinch clips of early classic Coach handbags and belts were not embossed with COACH.
The snaps on most styles are stamped COACH on the undersides. Magnetic snaps are stamped COMAG or ROMAG with a Pat Pend No. Also, some grommets are stamped COACH. Check Coach zipper mechanisms for the letters YKK inscribed. This high quality zipper is used in the majority of Coach products (but not all). However, in 2006, fake YKK zippers began flooding the market with inferior metal stamped with YKK, so be aware that fakes may have YKK zippers. Hardware should never be stamped "Solid Brass" or "Stainless Steel" Study authentic handbags or navigate the Coach website to become familiar with authentic hardware. For example, the sliding latch button of fake leash clips may be tiny compared to the prominent latch of an authentic clip.
Quality of the material
Coach selects only the top ten percent of leathers and treats its fabrics, leathers and suede for stain and water resistance. Coach Fabric Cleaner (or Ivory Liquid Soap) will often remove smudges, grime or the occasional oily spot on the jacquard fabric. Coach suede kits are helpful in removing fresh soil. Without the treated fabrics and leathers, removing soil is much more difficult and fake bags are often heavily soiled or tend to rip easily - another reason authentic Coach stands apart from knockoffs. If the fabric feels very stiff, or conversely, if it appears less durable and tends to slouch rather than hold its shape, these may be indicators of a counterfeit bag. Also watch for fake suede that is comprised of fabric with a sueded effect, yet no actual suede!
Alignment of the Signature pattern
Most Coach signature patterns are aligned in a precise manner to ensure that the opposing Signature C's will align dead center of the handbag and the remaining C's should continue symmetrically to the right and left edges of the handbag. Meticulous craftsmen sew the patterns in this manner and discard the excess fabric that can't be utilized. This may be too costly a venture for cheaper knockoffs to reproduce symmetrical patterns and their patterns may be misaligned. However, today's technology produces replicas that are more precise in their alignment and not easily detected. Therefore, it is important to consider several factors noted in this guide before determining if an item is a knockoff. When studying the alignment, keep in mind that "C" patterns are aligned horizontally, never vertically. Note: Two authentic Coach styles (8K47, 8K48) actually have a diagonal alignment of the C's.