Everyone with a Twitter account has heard about the “Bushwick Birkin.” The iconic Telfar bag has gone viral over the past few months, redefining the word “luxury.” While it isn’t uncommon to pay upwards of $15k for a designer bag, a Telfar’s price tag is never higher than $300. How did an inexpensive fashion brand single-handedly transform the fashion industry’s definition of “designer”?
Telfar was founded in 2005 by Telfar Clemens, based in Brooklyn, NY. Fashion houses often thrive off their untouchable nature, remaining out of reach for most consumers because of their high price point. Instead, Clemens has created a designer bag that is more accessible than any other. Not only is it affordable, unisex and vegan, but it was made with people of color in mind.
Although it only reached its viral peak recently, the Telfar philosophy is nothing new. For years, social responsibility has been a part of its brand DNA. In 2017, Clemens launched a collection with White Castle as an ode to the New York boroughs you can find its stores in; the proceeds paid the bail of minors at Rikers Island.
While Telfar’s goal is accessibility, the scarcity brought in by pandemic-induced production issues has made this difficult. Recently, the bags have sold out in as little as 60 seconds. One of the biggest issues has been the influx of bots that mass-purchase items; the shortage of bags has made it easy for resellers to list these inexpensive bags for as much as $700. However, the new Bag Security Program is making it easier for customers to obtain the it-bag.
[bf_image id="qe8hxe-9dykww-a72bgg"] Many are wondering what caused a brand that has existed for 15 years to blow up nearly overnight. We’ve seen a spike in online shopping since quarantine began, which could have contributed to its popularity. Since the Black Lives Matter movement peaked, many have been going out of their way to support Black-owned businesses. No matter what led to Telfar’s success, it is clear that the brand is going to leave a lasting impact on the fashion industry.
Learn more about Telfar and support the Black-owned brand here.