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Style > Beauty

Why Telfar is the Next Big Thing

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

It’s hard, if not impossible, to imagine a world of fashion,—both streetwear and haute couture alike—to exist without the influence and innovation of Black people. Truthfully, if it weren’t for Black people’s sense of creativity and ability to make something out of nothing, a lot of major clothing labels like Fashion Nova for example, wouldn’t exist as we know them today. And over the decades as conditions of the world change, so do our sense of style in terms of how we may decide to fix our hair up or do our makeup or even accessorize. For example, with the rise of the Black Panther party and the Civil Rights Movement, Black men, women and children began to embrace their natural features and donning the culture with panache. Or how when the 80s and the boom of hip-hop rolled around, you would’ve found people rocking their biggest bamboo’s or doorknocker earrings, Kangol hats, athletic tracksuits and a plethora of fine gold jewelry such as here and here.

Courtesy of Summer & Rose via FabFitFun
Like music, fashion is a sign of times; an indication that we are fluid beings and live in a world that modernizes with us, if not even quicker. And in the age of social media, we’ve seen brands and trends come and go, at a rate more rapid than we can economically and environmentally sustain, as research has shown. On the other hand, everyday we make a tiny bit of progress towards a more tolerant, inclusive, and equitable society. This is only possible through not only solidarity but also through cultivation; actually, a significant portion of this cultural shift can be attributed to advancements in the arts such as fashion. With this in mind, I’d like to talk about TELFAR, a brand that’s been making waves over the internet circa summer ‘20.  

If you haven’t heard of TELFAR, where have you been? For those who may not know, TELFAR is a clothing and accessory line created by black fashion designer Telfar Clemens who had started out by reconstructing vintage clothing before launching his own brand in 2004. Although the brand has been around for years, it wasn’t until earlier of this year that I caught onto what’s been deemed the “Bushwick Birkin” or ‘hood Birkin’ by Black Twitter (meaning,  the side of Twitter composed of people of the Black/African/Afro-Caribbean diaspora).The nickname for these popular purses came about as a joke but really, just means that it has a similar sense of profitability and opulence as more well-known high end designer labels. 

Black And Anxious Hero
Rebecca Hoskins / Her Campus Media
What makes TELFAR so popular is that the designs are unisex, contemporary, and downright classy. It’s a status symbol and in a way, also a new-wave cultural symbol. By that, I simply mean that TELFAR can be seen as a status symbol for people who are interested in high fashion but aren’t necessarily financially equipped with the means to afford, say, an Hermès Birkins (which are super exclusive). However, I do want to note that although items such as the popular shopping bag, are alot cheaper than other well known purses and handbags, TELFAR isn’t necessarily affordable for every customer. With that being said, it’s a great way to support a black owned business that prides itself on being both eco-friendly and stylish.If you’re ever looking for your next ‘pick-me-up’, then look no further. As Donna from Parks & Recreation would say, “Treat yo self!”. 

Besides being trendy and inclusive, it also represents the new direction that Black fashion is moving towards. This includes but is not limited to: earth-tone knitwear like the ones you see in Hanifa, the bold colors of Stella Jean, Cushnie style sleek cutouts, and just an overall sense of Black pride stitched into every piece like the ones of Maki Oh. The famous TELFAR shopping bags range from $150 to about $260USD, offered in three sizes and a large variety of colors to choose from that can be found online here!


The coolest part about TELFAR’s well deserved, albeit belated, success was the fact that back in August 2020 after the sudden boom in attention the brand received over social media, it was announced that the “Bag Security Program T&C” would be launched. You can read about it more in-depth here but to summarize, it was a sale that took place to ensure that everyone could purchase a bag without worrying about scammers buying them all up and/or re-selling fakes. In my opinion, it was also somewhat of a political statement that the brand would only make as many bags as were sold so that they weren’t overproducing and creating unnecessary waste. (We love an ecologically conscious and inclusive brand!)

Although all of the shopping bags have since sold out, TELFAR promises customers that they’ll have another drop so that people can buy again or buy if they missed the first round. So sign up to their mailing list and keep an eye out for the Next Big Thing coming soon to a shopping cart near you!

Ayanté Hardy

UC Riverside '21

How would I describe myself as a creator, as an individual? I don’t know I just love cynicism and chaos and villainy, color, texture, tenacity and audaciousness, just exhausting every facet of life, nauseating grandeur. I think my strength is that I know how to play it up but also reel that in when needed. I’d like to think I’m quite good at containing this dichotomy within myself and really letting that free in my creative or intellectual expressions. My articles are my interpretation of this notion.
Deedee Plata

UC Riverside '22

20 year old creative writing major with a love for skincare, representation, and art. When not laying down and watching cartoons, I can be found working on my novel or browsing through baby name forums.