In the past few weeks an influx of Vivienne Westwood Anglomania counterfeits have appeared on auction site Ebay. It is well known that the site is awash with fake jewellery and handbags, even some clothes such as the classic t-shirts and jumpers, however this is the first time I have seen them trying to fake more high profile pieces. The majority are dresses but also jackets and coats have been spotted. These sales are very difficult to detect as being counterfeit from the listings, the sellers are really devious. I have no doubt that the people bidding on them believe they are the real deal, especially considering some of them are selling for hundreds of pounds. They clothes look like the real deal to the untrained eye, especially when you can’t see it in real life. I hate to see people being ripped off, especially as I champion ebay as a great place to pick up Westwood on a budget so I have made this guide in the hopes of helping. There a a few easy things you can look out for to detect the fakes, its a lengthy post with images so click for more:
Due to popular demand, I updated my original post ‘Vivienne Westwood Pirate boots – History & How to Spot Fakes’ and also added a short Youtube┬á video to demonstrate what real Vivienne Westwood Pirate boots look like in the flesh. You can also check out the video below, where you can see I am not a Londoner like many people mistake me for, but a real Northerner! I also have a cold so its a bit sniffy sorry! I will be adding lots more shoes videos to my channel so stay tuned.
Introduction to Vivienne Westwood Pirate Boots
In 1981 something rather incredible happened, the Vivienne Westwood pirate boot was born! Westwood designed the boots as part of her Pirates collection see below.
Though this is not the reason why you can buy pirate boots today, as they soon went out of production. In fact you can thank Kate Moss for the pair of modern pirate boots you are wearing today. Kate stepped out in a vintage pair from Rellik in 1999 and due to the phenomena know as the ‘Moss’ effect, caused such a high demand for them Rellik was receiving 50 enquiries a week. Hence the boots went back into production and are now one of the most highly sought after fashion classics.
Floral version from S/S11
Cuban heeled and stiletto heel, images from eBay
┬áI am sure you are aware these boots don’t come cheap at ┬ú370 (price correct as of May 2013), worth every penny as they are handmade and beautiful quality, but still very expensive. I know many people have tried seeking out a pair on eBay, which is a great option but unfortunately there are many counterfeit / fake pairs. By this I do not mean boots in a similar style such as ones from Topshop or Office for example, but one which are branded Vivienne Westwood but were not in fact produced by the brand. Counterfeit goods are not only illegal but are also very badly made and in some cases dangerous. My guides on spotting fake Chanel and Louis Vuitton have been very popular and I know have helped a lot of people, so after a few emails on pirate boots I decided to write this one.
I should also mention that fakes are not just sold on eBay, but also on websites which look like the real deal. The only websites licensed to sell the Gold Label pirate boots in the UK is http://www.viviennewestwood.co.uk/ (.com if you are international), the Accessories boots are available on other designer websites which stock Anglomania clothing such as net-a-porter but as the boots are seasonal the stockist can change. The best advice I can give is only use a website you are familiar with, that has a clear ‘about us’ policy and holds a secure server. Also if the price is too good to be true, it usually is!
Gold Label Pirate Boots
These are my new Gold Label Vivienne Westwood pirate boots, as you can see they are very soft suede this is why they slouch down so easily. Note the very, very pale colour of the straps. This is how all untreated leather should look, over time it will darken to a honey / tan colour as the natural leather oxidises. This is the same thing which occurs on Louis Vuitton bags. All the images of the genuine boots are my own.
The Gold Label boots come in a cream box with gold embossed lettering.
Inside you will receive ONE soft felt cloth dust bag, with a gold string and gold lettering. If there is tissue paper in the box it will be pale pink with gold orbs.
The toe piece (vamp) on the Gold label is wider than on the Accessories label.
The boots slouch as they do not have a supportive strip on the back of the boot – unlike the Accessories label ones which we will see later. The first strap and the fourth strap will go right around the boot, whilst the second and third strap go half way, the fifth strap goes around the foot.
The heel is made from a wooden piece with 3 separate layers, topped with a piece of rubber, the rubber piece goes right across the heel – unlike the Accessories boots, see later. I should also note that once the rubber section gets worn down you should have the boots re-heeled, once you get to the wooden section the heel will be irreparable.
The buckles are silver, also note the very tiny and neat stitching.
As the straps are natural leather they will be nubuck (suede) on the reverse.
Inside the boots are padded on the sole and embossed in gold writing.
The sole of the boot will also be embossed in gold, here you can also see the whole rubber heel. The square mark is where the materials sticker was removed, and the little circle the size sticker. These stickers are transparent plastic with gold writing, the square sticker will have three shoe symbols representing the outer, inner and sole then each has the leather mark next to it to show that the entire boot is made from leather.┬á The little round size sticker will have the size in UK sizes e.g 4, 5, 6 and not European sizes e.g 37, 38, 39. The soles of the boots are also leather, it has a thin layer with a slight sheen to it which will wear off after the first wear. When the sole gets very worn and starts to look thin it should be covered with a rubber sole to protect it. Rubber soles can also be added prior to wear to make them wearable in the rain and also prevent the leather sole wearing, it also gives the sole grip. I have the rubber soles added on new shoes if they need grip, otherwise I wait until they need reheeling and get them reheeled and resoled at the same time.
Timpsons does a free reheel if you pay for the sole. I find Timpsons are great for all reheeling except for the Vivienne Westwood Gold Label low heeled shoes, those I take to Jones the Bootmaker as they make sure the new heel is correctly balanced. Unbalancing occurs when the new heel tip is thicker, and thus higher, than the old one and the VW shoes have a much thinner tip that the standard heel tips Timpsons use. Whilst we are onto care tips Office brand suede spray is the best brand I have found, as it sprays dry so you don’t get any spotting which can happen with some sprays.
Accessories Label Pirate Boots
Now we can look at the Accessories Label pirate boots. Here is the box, as you can see it is twice the size of the Gold label boots! It will be in coated silver card with gold lettering saying ‘Vivienne Westwood Accessories’.
Here are the black with tan straps and the all black versions (these aren’t mine, wish they were). The toe is rounder and narrower, they are taller and they have a leather strip along the back. The straps are originally slightly darker than the Gold label boots, but these here have also naturally darkened – you can get them to darken faster if you massage them with clear leather beeswax polish or teabags for a darker stain.
The back strip will be embossed ‘Vivienne Westwood’
The buckles are silver and again note the neat stitching.
The soles are leather but will have a slight sheen from the coating, this will wear off after first wear. The heel is different as it only has a section which is rubber, it will be embossed with ‘Vivienne Westwood’, ‘Made in Italy’, the size in European sizes and the orb logo.
How to spot FAKE Vivienne Westwood Pirate Boots, by comparison
Spotting Fake Bondage Boots
Just let me know if there is anything else you want to know,
hope this was helpful,
Watch my companion video to the guide on Youtube
You can now download my FREE eBook ‘A Guide to Spotting Counterfeits: including Chanel 2.55, Louis Vuitton scarves and Vivienne Westwood Pirate & clothes’ HERE
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