April 16, 2019
By Noelani Piters
HOW TO SPOT REAL PRADA NYLONSHOP PRADA NYLON
In 1984, Prada created something that would change fashion forever. It was a simple, durable, light backpack, a bag that could withstand the wear and tear of everyday life. But it wasn’t its supple leather or mind-blowing shape that appealed to the style set — it was its ripstop nylon fabric. Prada’s use of tessuto nylon in the realm of luxury was an iconoclastic innovation that paved the way for Phoebe Philo’s normcore at Céline and Demna Gvasalia’s irony at Vetements, all of whom have taken the functional and traditionally uncool to new sartorial heights.
The Italian house originally sourced its nylon from factories producing military parachutes, and has since created totes, clutches, belt bags and even ready-to-wear with the industrial-strength material. But its iconic status has led to counterfeiters attempting to capitalize on Prada’s success. So how can you spot the real thing? Read on as our Chief Authenticator Graham Wetzbarger dives deep into the details of Prada’s nylon pieces.
Prada Nylon Bag Materials
While Prada’s ripstop nylon was originally made of a light, thin military-grade fabric, it has evolved to a heavier weight. “Compared to Prada’s initial versions, the current tessuto nylon is a twill material, and slightly thicker,” notes Wetzbarger. “Every iteration, however, is extremely durable and water-resistant, and the texture should not be crunchy or slippery. Some Prada bags will be unlined, but if there is a jacquard lining, you should be able to feel it through the bag.”
The classic jacquard logo lining will feature a coiled rope motif and PRADA repeated throughout. “Check how wide or narrow the pitch of the A is,” notes Wetzbarger. “This use of PRADA will be different than the triangle logo accents, since it’s woven. The As should be a little wide and both As in PRADA should be consistent. If it’s not the correct proportions, that’s a sign that it may be inauthentic.” Additional accents such as handles can be made out of a thick web strap, smooth leather or saffiano leather. “If there is a web strap, it should be thick and high-quality. If there are signs of unravelling, that’s a big red flag,” adds Wetzbarger.
Prada Nylon Bag Construction
The construction of Prada nylon bags will vary depending on the style. “Most tessuto and vela bags are unlined and feature bound seams,” says Wetzbarger. “If there is a lining, it will likely be the jacquard lining mentioned previously.”
A common question arises regarding Prada nylon — what’s the difference between Prada tessuto and Prada vela? It comes down to the pieces themselves. “The term is widely used interchangeably, but generally Prada’s tessuto nylon pieces will be higher-value bags with more features and components like backpacks and satchels,” explains Wetzbarger. “Vela nylon is a term commonly used for entry-level pieces with minimal trim, such as cosmetics bags and pouches.”
Prada Nylon Bag Hardware
Prada’s hardware has changed numerous times over the years. “The first generation of zippers were powder-coated and unbranded, with a blank back,” says Wetzbarger. “On first generation bags, the color of the zipper teeth and the fabric of the bag should match and zippers will feature a nylon, rectangular zipper pull as opposed to leather.” As these bag styles developed further, Prada eventually began to use IPI and Riri or Lampo zippers, which we see on most of Prada’s luxury bags. “Zipper pulls evolved as well to feature branding and leather accents, as seen above,” notes Wetzbarger. “Buckles and zipper pulls will say PRADA on most bags, but grommets will not.”
Prada Nylon Bag Brand Identifiers
Prada’s enamel triangle logo is perhaps its most iconic. “On older Prada bags, the corners of the enamel triangle logo are affixed with rivets, though newer iterations may not include them,” says Wetzbarger. “The enamel should be smooth and flat, and not bubbly or sloppy.” Early triangle logos will be riveted on all three corners, and newer versions will have domed rivets. “Many counterfeiters attach the triangle with central brads so it’s loose, and the edges will lift up,” says Wetzbarger. “If you can manipulate the logo placard and feel the brad itself, that’s a sign of inauthenticity. These placards should never be attached with a central brad.”
Prada’s logo placards will say PRADA / MILANO / DAL 1913 and include the brand crest. “Pay attention to the font,” says Wetzbarger. “Specifically, the R’s notch and upturned leg.” On interior PRADA / MADE IN ITALY logos, the placard should always match the bag’s color. “Early placards were made of sterling silver with enamel, and feature 925 and an Italian hallmark,” describes Wetzbarger. “Prada quickly got rid of those, however, so this inclusion is not a sign of a counterfeit — just a very early model.”
The format for these interior placards has changed over the years, so depending on the piece you’re looking at, the location and shape should not be cause for concern. “Some interior logo placards are rectangular and get thinner as time goes on, but they should all still say PRADA / MADE IN ITALY,” says Wetzbarger.
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Please note, brand standards, logos and other identifying features may have changed since the time of publication.