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The Tea on Telfar

If you haven’t been living under a rock these few months, you have to have seen one of Telfar’s Shopping Bags. The simple but unique design has garnered immense success on social media in recent months easily--dare I say it--making Telfar this year’s it-bag. Despite its more recent boom in popularity, this brand is far from new. Let’s get to the bottom of all the hype behind Telfar.


Telfar Clemens is the mind behind the magic. A queer, Liberian-American fashion designer from Queens, New York, Clemens founded Telfar in 2005. With his brand, he dreamed to break barriers in three categories: race, gender, and class. More specifically, he hoped to make the kind of unisex clothes that didn’t exist while he was younger. Throughout the decades, Clemens honed his genderless aesthetic and small core team, building his community of dedicated fans from the ground up.


In the middle of Telfar’s core is none other than Babak Radboy, Clemen’s business partner who wears several hats in the company. Acting as the label’s creative director and business brains, he has also helped in strengthening the brand’s ties to the art world, aligning it with recognizable institutions around the world. 


Now, for more on what you’ve been waiting for...


The uber-popular Telfar Shopping Bag boasts numerous attractive qualities, including its affordability and versatility; the bag comes in any color you could dream of. Also, this bag looks stylish on everyone—and I truly mean everyone! It’s both simplistic and timeless with the Telfar emblem on the front adding the perfect touch for any outfit.


Despite its simple namesake, the Telfar Shopping Bag represents so much more than your average tote. Much more than your average expensive, impossible-to-get tote bag. There is a reason why Telfar is far from a quick fad and has continued to stay relevant.


In a nation more divided than ever, Telfar’s message of inclusion shines brightly. In fact, the current collections tagline reads: “Not for you, for everyone”. It’s a brand that doesn’t have to release statements about diversity, inclusion, and change in order to keep up with the times. No—Telfar is the change. The brand embodies the kind of societal shift that so many people are looking for in this day and age. It represents a transformation in both fashion and black culture, a quality that many popular brands can only dream of possessing. In this way, Telfar’s increasing popularity is all but inevitable.


Above all, Telfar is a brand that continues to defy race, class, and gender. There is an entire community of people that support Telfar, because they feel the brand represents them and who they are. In today’s society, there is a craving for ‘other’ points of view, other stories, and a new protagonist. Telfar Clemens fits this role perfectly, and like many, I can’t wait to see him receive the continued success and recognition that he undoubtedly deserves.

Camryn Clanton is a rising junior at Howard University with a Political Science major and Philosophy minor. She's a city girl through and through, having been born and raised in Chicago. She has enjoyed writing since an early age, but a few of her other interests are music and foreign language (been learning Mandarin for 7 years). In the future, Camryn hopes to combine her passions for law and foreign language by pursuing the field of international law. Camryn's main goal with her writing is to inspire, encourage, and uplift the women around her.
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