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It’s Not Just a Bag, It’s Telfar

Fashion trends come and go, but this one seems to be here for the long haul. The telfar bag has taken the fashion world by storm, therefore making the bag the impossible accessory of the year. However, people have been curious to where the bag originated from and is it worth the hype?

The brand’s owner, Telfar Clemens, is a 35- year old, born to Liberian parents in Queens, New York. Clemens began the brand in 2005 as an undergraduate at Pace University. He centered the brand on three adjectives: genderless, democratic and transformative. The designer expresses to The Gay Times how his parents were pretty strict on what he could wear while he was growing up. Therefore, he wanted to make a line of clothing that was genderless and spoke to people like him. Clemens unisex clothing inspired by New York streetwear and medieval Italian architecture allotted him to be the recipient of the 2017 CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund. The designer used most of the four hundred-thousand-dollar prize money to invest in the production of the Telfar Shopping Bag. 

The success of the shopping bags stems from their trademark phrase, “Not For You, For Everyone”. The shopping bags are priced at $150 to $257, making it an affordable luxury brand. The shopping bag received its nickname “The Bushwick Birkin” because it symbolizes status for people in fashion especially in Brooklyn who do not have money for the $40,000 Hermes bag. As the popularity of the Bushwick Birkin went up, the bag’s accessibility plummeted. The bag was in such high demand, bots began buying all the bags and reselling them for triple the original price. Clemens, once again showing his commitment to his brand being accessible to everyone, introduced The Bag Security Program.

On August 19, 2020, the brand Telfar offered a one-day-only, 24-hour online event, to enable everyone to get their hands on a Telfar bag. The Bag Security Program included a full restock of the bag in every size and color. With the massive number of online pre orders, Clemens emphasized how preorders will not be available until at the earliest December 2020 and at the latest January 2021.  Even though the brand will still offer their usual drops, the security program decreased the resale value of the bags and allowed everyone to avoid the bot drama.

Since the increased desire for the bag, Telfar Clemens has received great notoriety for his innovative bags and brand.  Clemens received the 2020 CFDA Award for American Accessories Designer of the Year. In addition, Clemens has recently announced his partnership with UGG Australia. The New York designer has proven himself to not be another temporary brand. Clemens and his brand are here to stay. The popular bag has also been on the shoulders of notable people such as Solange Knowles, Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez and Azealia Banks.

Even though most people did not learn about the phenomenal brand until this year, Telfar will continue to make a name for itself in the fashion world. Customers love the brand because it is accessible, affordable, and accommodating- plus it is black owned. Telfar Clemens and his “Bushwick Birkin'' have proven that they are here to stay.


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Sydney Broadnax

Hampton U '23

Sydney Broadnax is currently a senior journalism major with an area of concentration in english from Detroit, Michigan. She has been in Hercampus since freshman year of college and is excited to serve as 2022-2023 Editor-In-Chief. She cannot wait to share her love for writing with her Hercampus chapter
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