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For the most part, last year's biggest shopping trends were pretty easy to predict. From tie-dye sweatsuits to the nap dress, we were looking for items that would keep us comfortable while we stayed home and adjusted to our new normal. So when the Telfar Shopping Bag became one of the most wanted accessories of the year, it was somewhat surprising.
While other luxury brands struggled as the economy took a serious hit, Telfar, helmed by Liberian-American fashion designer, Telfar Clemens, seemed to have its best year yet. The global fashion shopping platform Lyst revealed in its Year in Fashion Report at the end of 2020 that searches for the brand saw a 270 percent increase week-on-week since August.
Telfar makes a variety of products, from shoes to apparel, but none are quite as popular as the cult-favorite Shopping Bag. It ranges in price from $150 to $257 and is nearly impossible to get, since each iteration always sells out almost as soon as it's released.
This weekend, in a New York Fashion Week press conference, Clemens and other panelists revealed that the brand would be launching a new way for shoppers to get their hands on products: Through a TV channel, Telfar TV. The streaming network will feature exclusive content, fan videos and will serve as the main destination for all future bag drops (or "drips" as they're now being called). Following the big announcement, we're breaking down everything you need to know about the bag's popularity and how you can get one for yourself.
Why are Telfar bags so popular?
Clemens started the business back in 2005 and launched the bags in 2014. But it wasn't until more recently that things really took off. In 2020, the brand (and the Shopping Bag specifically) had some of its biggest moments to date. Then, Clemens earned industry recognition when he won the American Accessory Designer of the Year award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the brand got love from celebrities like Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid, who were spotted toting the bag around, adding to its appeal.
And then Oprah gave it her official seal of approval. She named it one of her "favorite things" of 2020. Following that announcement, the brand launched the bags on Amazon for the first time ever — of course, they sold out almost immediately afterward.
While the bags have become big among well-known names, at the same time the brand, which uses the slogan "not for you — for everyone," has been lauded for its focus on inclusivity, something that you don't always find in the world of high-fashion — and that has created legions of supporters. In fact, in March, Telfar fans came to its defense when Guess' G-Label Tote bag used a logo and design people felt was too similar to Telfar. The handbag licensee of the Guess tote, Signal Brands, later announced it was discontinuing the bag.
The Shopping Bag has been dubbed the "Bushwick Birkin," thanks to its popularity with the Brooklyn crowd. Marketing campaigns for the company showcase diverse faces, and the low price point makes it feel more accessible. Sure, starting at $150 the bags seem much more expensive than your average purse, but when compared to other designer bags, like those from Birkin, they're practically a steal.
How can you get a Telfar bag?
In the past, anyone hoping to secure a bag would have to keep their eyes on Telfar's website or Instagram page for announcements about periodic restocks, drops or for upcoming Bag Security Program events. But now, shoppers can tune into the TV network to get their hands on the newest releases. As reported by WWD, QR codes will randomly be broadcast on the channel, which will lead viewers to a link to purchase the bag. The idea is that the new process will ensure that the bags land in the hands of actual shoppers as opposed to bots (which has been a problem for the brand in the past).
"It’s really important to get the bags to people who want them," Clemens told WWD. "It’s not my vibe to have something that’s exclusive and hard to get that people have to wake up at 9 in the morning to buy. We will distribute as many bags as people are watching, and if we notice that a bot bought 120 bags, we are now able to redistribute them through the drip process."
Each of the bestselling Shopping Bags is made from vegan leather and features both cross-body straps and handles so it can be worn multiple ways. They blend fashion and function, thanks to the sleek design featuring the now-iconic Telfar logo and a decent amount of carrying space. (The medium can hold a laptop and a few other items, while the large is roomy enough to be used for a weekend getaway.)
Along with the new streaming channel, it was revealed during the press conference that the brand will be releasing duffel bags in three sizes and multiple colors. They will be the first product to "drip." The shopping network is now live on Roku, Apple TV and on the Telfar.TV website.
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