Coach and the YKK Zipper Myth - the Basic Facts

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Coach and the YKK Zipper Myth - the Basic Facts


A high percentage of Coach authenticity guides have some reference to the almost-sacred "YKK zippers on a Coach prove it's genuine" myth. Sorry, but that statement is just a myth. A piece of stamped metal will never prove a Coach is real, and having a zipper with a different brand name does NOT mean it's fake.

First of all, some facts - Coach has been making bags for a long time, and its early styles - those thick, heavy glove-tanned cowhide beauties - usually had zippers that were as heavy-duty as the leathers. Originally the US-made vintage bags used mostly Talon zippers, Talon being a US-based company famous for durable, high-quality fasteners. Coach even used an "industrial-style" Talon zipper that was set into a blue denim-colored fabric base on many of its early styles from the 70s and 80s.

(While on the subject of zippers - a plastic zipper in a Coach is NOT the sign of a fake, or even a cheaper product. Coach HAS used plastic zippers often and for several reasons, one being that they sometimes prefer to have the color of the zipper match the leather or lining it's sewn into. Another reason is to lighten the weight of the bag. Coach has made many efforts over the years to shave unnecessary weight off their handbags because of complaints from buyers of neck, shoulder and back injuries due to carrying heavy purses. They even started an entirely new line in the late 1980s called the Lightweights, which had lighter hardware including zippers and thinner, lightweight leathers. The Lightweights eventually became the Sohos, which still use less-heavy materials and often use less chunky nickel or stainless steel hardware instead of the heavier brass.)

Later Coach added YKK, ECLAIR, RIRI, and possibly ZIPLON and DOVE and even an occasional local brand in bags made outside the US. Some zippers didn't have any maker's name, just maybe a number or a trademark stamp so what company they came from is anyone's guess. Coach's zippers are MOSTLY from YKK right now, but they've used a wide variety of suppliers in the past, and even now not all Coach bags will have YKK zippers. No Coach should ever be assumed to be fake or be reported as fake just because the zipper isn't stamped YKK.

Common-sense Point #1 - YKK sells to tens of thousands of different manufacturers. YKK is the largest zipper manufacturer in the world. As long as someone can pay the price, they can get the merchandise. They certainly don't sell to Coach exclusively, nor do they expect Coach to use only YKK zippers exclusively. They sell to everyone from LeSportsac to Louis Vuitton, NOT just Coach. And many fakes manufacturers, especially after reading dozens if not hundreds of "Guides" that tell potential buyers "if your Coach bag has YKK zippers, then it's probably real" are more than happy to spend a few extra bucks/grickles/yuan/quatloos to buy that brand if it makes their junk easier to peddle to improperly informed buyers.

And if they're NOT ready to spend a bit extra for the real thing, there's always:

Common-sense Point #2 - COUNTERFEIT YKK zippers. Of COURSE YKK zippers are counterfeited - why wouldn't they be? YKK's website warns about the problem and it's a very big one. If a manufacturer of fake Coaches wants to save a few bucks they have no problem at all finding someone who'll supply cheap zippers that look and maybe for a few weeks almost work like real YKKs. Use that Common Sense mentioned previously - How hard is it to fake a zipper ?

So when you come across a Guide that gives you a YKK strict rule consider the fact that zippers don't prove anything.

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