Comme des Garcons PLAY
Comme des Garcons PLAY

How To Spot Real Comme des Garçons PLAY

Words by Jody Hume | 10.4.23

A sign. A symbol. A feeling. This is the mantra of Comme des Garçons PLAY, the diffusion line instantly recognizable by its striking “peeping heart” logo. Founded in 2002, PLAY quickly gained a cult following, much like the main Comme des Garçons brand. Yet, despite its popularity, PLAY still maintains an air of mystery, partly due to founder and designer Rei Kawakubo’s enigmatic persona. Known for evading the press and keeping her personal life private, Kawakubo lets her designs speak for themselves. It was only recently revealed how Comme des Garçons got its name — but it’s significant to note that Kawakubo herself did not divulge the secret. 

Comme des Garçons PLAY offers a streetwear-inspired take on avant-garde fashion, focusing on comfort with everyday essentials like T-shirts, sweaters, button-ups, and sneakers. However, the most distinctive feature of the brand is undoubtedly its iconic heart logo.

The “peeping heart” logo, designed by artist Filip Pagowski, preceded the Comme des Garçons PLAY line. Originally envisioned for another Comme des Garçons project, the logo didn’t make the cut at the time. However, when PLAY came into existence, the heart logo found its perfect fit and started to make waves as the emblem of the PLAY line.

With the logo’s soaring popularity, counterfeiters have unfortunately seized the opportunity to capitalize on its success. As a result, it has become essential for PLAY enthusiasts and fashion aficionados to be able to distinguish genuine Comme des Garçons PLAY items from counterfeit replicas. To help, we’ve enlisted the expertise of Sean Conway, The RealReal’s Senior Sneaker & Streetwear Valuation Manager. He shares his insights on authenticating some of the most commonly counterfeited Comme des Garçons PLAY pieces — T-shirts, sweaters and Converse sneakers. 


Spotting Real Comme des Garçons PLAY: T-Shirts & Sweaters

If you’re inspecting a Comme des Garçons PLAY shirt or sweater with an embroidered heart logo, start by checking the heart’s overall shape. “The hearts on counterfeits will often have some irregularities, such as a heart that’s either too curved or not curved enough,” explains Conway. “The top of the heart should not be a pointed ‘V’ shape. Authentic heart logos should have a rounded curve.”

Another crucial aspect is the heart’s color, as it comes in various colorways, including different shades of red, gold, pink, and yellow, among others. “Check the shade and saturation to ensure you are looking at an authentic item,” says Conway. “For pieces with a double heart, make sure that they are perfectly symmetrical, stitches and all. If not, you are most likely looking at a faux item.”

The stitching on Comme des Garçons PLAY shirts and sweaters is a key authentication factor. “Counterfeits often have thin stitches,” says Conway, “While the stitching on authentic pieces will be of a heavier weight. The heart’s black pupils should also be stitched—not printed or painted on—and that stitching should be visible on authentic pieces.”

For a closer look at authenticity, flip the shirt or sweater inside out to inspect the heart logo’s interior stitching. “The stitching at the interior may be slightly imperfect or irregular, but it should have a clean finish in general,” Conway adds. “There should not be excess stitching or thick stitches at the interior.”

Another detail worth noting is the brand tag on Comme des Garçons PLAY pieces. “The tag should not be too shiny and should be almost matte,” says Conway. “When it comes to the font, the bottom of the ‘P’ and ‘Y’ in PLAY should fall directly above the ‘Os’ in Comme des Garçons.”

Authentic Comme des Garçons pieces should have two interior fabric tags, commonly found at the side seam, and they should say “Made in Japan.” The opposite side of the tag will include an alphanumeric code indicating the season and year the item was produced.

The material of the fabric tags should differ slightly from the material of the brand tag. “They should have a bit more weight to them and a glossier finish but not be too shiny,” Conway says.


Spotting Real Comme des Garçons PLAY: The Converse Collaboration

When authenticating a pair of Comme des Garçons PLAY Converse sneakers for authenticity,

start by inspecting the interior tag. “Comme des Garçons PLAY does not create Converse sneakers in half sizes, so double-check that your pair is a whole size in US (MEN’S and WO’S) and UK sizing,” says Conway. “The text on authentic pairs should be thin, clean, and legible. Counterfeit pairs often include text that is too bold.”

Authentic pairs of Converse sneakers should have two bold, black lines at the top and bottom of the tag, and these lines should be perfectly centered.

Another important detail is the heart logo on the sneakers. “The black pupils should be touching the red heart at both the top and bottom on genuine pairs,” says Conway.

Examining the exterior of the sneakers, you’ll find two metal eyelets at the inner sides. “Another way to check authenticity is to measure the distance between the two holes,” Conway adds. “The distance should not be too small and should be a minimum of 1.5 inches on authentic pairs.”

Pay attention to the stitching below the laces, which should almost meet the top of the printed heart logo with little space in between. Counterfeiters often get this detail wrong and leave ample space between the stitching and heart logo. Also, note the heart’s eyes. On genuine Comme des Garçons PLAY Converse sneakers, the black pupil should be imperfect, while inauthentic pairs may feature rounded black pupils that almost resemble a perfect circle.

Another detail to examine is the stitching at the shoes’ heels. “Check for clean stitching,” says Conway. “If you see loose or messy stitching, you could be looking at a counterfeit pair.”


The Quality of Comme des Garçons PLAY Materials


In addition to examining the logo, stitching, and tags, another essential aspect of authenticating Comme des Garçons PLAY items is assessing the quality of materials used. Rei Kawakubo is renowned for her attention to detail and commitment to using the finest materials, and this dedication is evident in every piece of the PLAY collection.

For T-shirts and sweaters, genuine Comme des Garçons PLAY pieces are crafted from high-quality fabrics, providing a luxurious feel and exceptional comfort. The texture of the fabric should feel soft and smooth to the touch, and the stitching should be neat and well-executed, ensuring the longevity of the garment.

Whether it’s the lightweight, stamped-grain leather of Epsom or the heavy, matte-grained leather of Clemence, Comme des Garçons PLAY bags exude sophistication and durability. The leather should feel supple and luxurious, with a fine grain pattern that adds to the overall elegance of the bag. The Converse collaboration is another area where the quality of materials plays a vital role in authenticating the sneakers. Genuine Comme des Garçons PLAY Converse sneakers boast high-quality canvas uppers, providing a comfortable and breathable fit. The rubber soles should be sturdy and well-crafted, ensuring both style and functionality.

While counterfeit replicas may attempt to imitate the appearance of Comme des Garçons PLAY items, they often fall short in terms of material quality—and inferior materials means counterfeits will lack the the premium feel and finish of authentic Comme des Garçons PLAY pieces.

Where To Buy Authentic Comme des Garçons PLAY

Given the prevalence of counterfeit Comme des Garçons PLAY items in the market, it is crucial to purchase from trusted and reputable sources. The best way to ensure the authenticity of your purchase is to buy directly from official Comme des Garçons boutiques or authorized retailers, and The RealReal, of course, has a stringent authentication process. 

Remember that authenticity comes with a price, and if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be cautious of unauthorized sellers offering significantly discounted Comme des Garçons PLAY items, as they’re more likely to be counterfeit.

Whether it’s a T-shirt, sweater, bag, or pair of Converse sneakers, Rei Kawakubo’s commitment to craftsmanship and attention to detail shine through in every piece of the PLAY collection—which is why these markers should make it simple to spot lower quality counterfeits.



All items are pre-owned and consigned to The RealReal. Trademarks are owned by their respective brand owners. No brand owner endorses or sponsors this ad or has any association and/or affiliation with The RealReal.

Please note: Brand standards, logos and other identifying features may have changed since the time of publication.

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