LOGO: GENERAL RULE
Start with the logo itself. There should be a slight indent/ notch in the 'R' in Prada, located where the right leg conjoins to the the letter. Fakes will often omit it, or make it too sharp or prominent. Also, the top of the right leg in the 'A' in Prada overhangs the letter. Check to make sure the logo is consistent throughout the purse, including on the hardware.
LOGO: EXCEPTION: ROPE MOTIF LINING
There is only one exception to the logo's general rule and that is Prada's rope motif. Prada employs a distinctive rope motif often found on the inside lining of purses or packaging, which provides the Prada name written horizontally alternating with the brand's distinctive rope design and the Prada name should be flipped upside down on every other line. Most often, the rope motif lining is made from embossed jacquard nylon fabric or nappa leather. When the Prada mark is used in context of the rope motif the right leg in the 'A' in Prada does not overhang the letter and the 'R' in Prada does not have the notch. This is a purposeful distinction to the logo that counterfeiters often mix-up, so be aware! (or beware?!) ;)
Common errors to keep an eye out for: If you see the rope motif whereby the Prada name follows the general rule, then it is fake. Likewise, on the rope motif, if the Prada name isn't flipped upside down on every other line, then it is fake. Lastly, if the rope motif lining feels like it is made from cheap synthetic material, it is fake.
INSIDE BRAND MARKING
The inside of the bag will always have a brand marking. Older bag styles display “Prada Milano" on two lines or "Prada Milano Made In Italy” separated on three lines. Newer styles, however, dictate “Prada Made In Italy" on two lines. This is commonly found on a ceramic plaque. Always check the plaque to ensure the background of the plaque matches and/or compliments the bag itself. Occasionally, certain styles will use a leather patch on the interior instead of the typical ceramic plaque, usually (but not always) these are re-edition bags or non-leather bags. Many small bags will simply print the brand marking without using the ceramic plaque or leather patch. If you don't see "Made In Italy" directly under the Prada logo on the inside brand marking, then check the seams of the interior lining (often in the interior pocket) for a fabric tag that says "Made In Italy" (example below). Keep an eye out for deviations, the label should read “Milano” not “Milan” (which, I've seen on counterfeit bags before).
Prada uses zippers from the following five factories, which I like to refer to as LORIY: Lampo, Opti, Riri, Ipi and YKK. The factory stamp should be engraved somewhere on the underside of the zipper.
Authentic Prada bags are made from the highest quality leather, often calf or lambskin, which should feel soft and supple to the touch. Fake leather may look real from afar or in photos but it feels rigid and stiff to the touch and sometimes bears a plastic-like smell. Always check to make sure the description of the leather on the Authenticity Card matches what you have in your hand. Prada has a specific naming system for the leather used on its bags, I'll outline all of them in a separate post. But, for brevity, you should always keep in mind the quality and description of the leather purported on the bag in question!
The topstitching on most Prada bags is slightly angled. Fakes commonly have horizontal top stitching, uneven holes for the seams or use very thin weak thread — all telltale signs of a fake.
QUALITY ASSURANCE TAG
All Prada purses have a Quality Assurance Tag, also known as a Factory Tag, stitched into the seam of the interior purse pocket. It's a white tag with 2-3 numbers printed in black, which indicates the purses's factory number. Note, that Prada wallets and wallet purses (wallets with removable purse strap) do nothave a Quality Assurance Tag.
All Prada purses come with two cards served in a black envelope, namely: (1) the Authenticity Card, and (2) the Product Card. Below is a picture of an authentic set of these two cards. Note, I blurred out the barcode number for security purposes. Duplicates, or omissions, of the Product Card is not conclusive of a fake, but is suspect — the reason is because these cards are handled by sales associates at the store level, giving rise to greater error. The Authenticity Card, on the other hand, is included at the factory level and is not handled again by the sales associates until purchase, therefore, there should only be one — any deviation is a red flag.
The Authenticity Card is a white, plastic card that looks like a credit card with the Prada logo and "Authenticity certificate card" printed in English and Italian on the front. On the back, there are two blank spaces for the sales associate to fill in the date and store location where the item was purchased. Don't worry if these are blank, sometimes sales associates forget to fill these out. If it is filled out, cross reference the information provided. For example, look up the location of the sale — is there a Prada store in that location or another authorized reseller (such as Saks or Neiman Marcus)?
The Product Tag is a piece of sturdy black cardboard with the Prada logo embossed on the front and a printed sticker adhered to the back. It will provide the following information: (a) Product Name, (b) Art. (short for Article, referring to the product style), (c) Colour (color), (d) Group Name (material), (e) Product Number (Note: the product number always starts with the Article number). Occasionally, you will see the MFSRP (or Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price) in the bottom right corner.
Below is a side-by-side example of a real verse fake Prada authenticity cards. As you will see, the fake set came with duplicate cards and messed-up the logo by failing to include the indent in the 'R' in Prada. As opposed to the real set of Prada authenticity cards, which correctly provides the brand's logo and only comes with one set of cards.
Prada is capable of checking valid serial numbers. You can contact their team directly from their online contact page requesting verification. Be sure to include the serial number validation request in the subject line and all relevant information from the authenticity card in the body of the message.