In the designer handbag market, the purses that have everyone abuzz typically come with price tags that are nearly 10 times higher than your monthly rent. So when the Telfar Shopping Bag, which starts at $150, claimed its place as one of the most wanted accessories of the last few years, it was somewhat surprising.
In 2020, 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 year that searches for the brand saw a 270 percent increase week-over-week since August — and demand for the brand's products seems to only have grown since.
While Telfar makes a variety of products, from shoes to apparel, 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.
Earlier this month, the brand gave shoppers a rare opportunity to get their hands on a bag in person when they hosted a pop-up at a Rainbow store in Brooklyn in honor of New York Fashion Week. But for those who couldn't make it out to the event, the brand has good news. Today, Friday, Sept. 23, it will be bringing its Telfar Rainbow drop online, giving people the chance to grab a bag in any color or size that they want. Below, we're sharing everything you need to know about the drop and what makes the bag so popular in the first place.
Why are Telfar bags so popular?
Clemens started the business back in 2005 and launched the cult-favorite Shopping Bag 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. Clemens earned industry recognition when he won the American Accessory Designer of the Year award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (which he won again in 2021) and the brand got love from celebrities 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 of 2021, 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?
For those looking to get their hands on one of the bags, you have a couple of options. You can wait for the brand's next Bag Security Program, a limited-time event in which customers can order the Shopping Bag in any size, color and quantity and the brand will custom-make them. But the most recent event took place in April, so you might have to wait a while for the next one. Otherwise, you can keep your eyes on Telfar's website, Instagram page or the Telfar TV app for announcements about periodic color restocks, drops or upcoming Bag Security Program events.
Telfar Rainbow drop
In a rare move, the brand announced this week that during its upcoming Telfar Rainbow drop it would be restocking not just one, but all colors of its beloved Shopping Bag. Today at 12 p.m. ET, you'll be able to add any color, size and quantity of the bag to your cart, as long as they're still in stock. Unlike the Bag Security Program, you won't have to wait for the bag to be made, so your order will ship almost immediately (between Sept. 29 to Oct. 29). Only the shopping bags will be available, so you won't be able to grab a Circle, Duffle or any of the Collab bags during the event.
Each bag is made from vegan leather and features both cross-body straps and handles so it can be worn multiple ways, according to the brand. It comes in a variety of colors and blends fashion and function, thanks to the sleek design featuring the now-iconic Telfar logo and a decent amount of carrying space. (The medium is designed to hold a laptop and a few other items, while the large is said to be roomy enough to be used for a weekend getaway.)
To get a bag during today's restock, we suggest deciding which size(s) and color(s) you want ahead of time and heading over to the Telfar site right at 12 p.m. ET (or a little before). While all the bags are being restocked, we have a feeling they're going to sell out quickly, so you'll have to act fast to secure one!