Fakes are nothing new, from fake designer shoes to fake watches, they’ve been around since the advent of high-end (and high quality) products.
Over the years, shirt manufacturers like Nike, Puma and Adidas have all tried to take on the fakers by introducing new ways to prove shirt authenticity, but the fakes have always come back with improvements of their own that make telling them apart almost impossible - we say almost because we have some tips and tricks to tell the fake vintage football shirts, from the truly classic retro icons and we’re happy to share:
1. The embroidery craftsmanship (or lack thereof)
Usually the easiest way to tell a genuine shirt apart from a fake is to have a look at the embroidery or logo. A classic football shirt will have clean, professional embroidery that doesn’t peel off or look loose on it. However, it can be hard to tell whether you have a real retro football shirt on your hands with the rise of plastic heat-applied crests.
2. The seams
Take a close look at the seams on that retro Manchester United shirt - if they seem uneven (not a seam joke), you might have a fake on your hands. Normally, the quality of sewing on fake shirts can be lacking to say the least, so comb over the seams in particular, where a less-than-official seamstress can leave loose threads or over-stretched material.
3. A discounted price
Prior to buying a bargain retro shirt, have a look at other places that sell vintage football shirts. Price comparison isn’t always just to find the cheapest option but it can also help if you’re not sure what’s on offer is genuine. Fake stores can also have lots of shirts priced exactly the same - another sign that what they are selling isn’t a true retro shirt.
4. The product SKU
An SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) is a standard part of a football shirt that’s on sale. You can find the SKU on the shirt’s tag, it has letters and numbers and can be Googled to find out whether the product SKU matches up with the shirt online.
For example, Back Four Brand Protection shared the information that a lot of fake shirt-toters are using the SKU 819092-014 on fake Liverpool shirts - don’t worry though, we have plenty of real retro Liverpool shirts to save you from scammers.
5. Sketchy online purchasing sites
Online shopping on unknown sites always carries the risk of buying a fake and wasting your money, but if a site looks dodgy then the likelihood is that it is. If the photography is off, or it doesn’t function exactly as it should, the shirt prices are probably too good to be true.
Think of it this way: you wouldn’t buy a shirt from a dodgy bloke outside the ground, so don’t do it online either!
With this guide to avoiding buying fake football shirts, you can make sure that every shirt you buy - retro or new season - is a true reflection of your love for your team.