Why Telfar Shopping Bags Are Popular and Where To Buy Them

Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive updates from Your Next Shoes. This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure for more details.

Last year was what The New York Times dubbed “The Year of Telfar.” This is primarily due to the coveted Telfar shopping bag that became highly exclusive and hard to come by.

It was one of the hottest bags last year and is just as popular in 2021. In fact, the bag is so popular that it’s been consistently sold out!

The Telfar Shopping Bag was considered the "it" bag of 2020 and it remains to be one of the hottest bags in 2021The Telfar Shopping Bag was considered the “it” bag of 2020 and it remains to be one of the hottest bags in 2021

Telfar, the brand, has been around since 2005, but the now-infamous shopping bag really took off last year and has been seen on the arms of celebrities like Lizzo and Oprah.

If you haven’t heard much about the brand then you are probably wondering…

Why Are Telfar Shopping Bags So Popular?

Well, a lot of its popularity has to do with the designer behind the bag. Telfar is run by designer Telfar Clemens, a queer Liberian-American designer who has been advocating for inclusivity for years!

Inclusivity is the underlying value of his brand – a brand ‘for everyone’ with only unisex pieces.

Model Selah Marley with Liberian-American fashion designer Telfar Clemens at the 14th Annual CFDA Fashion Fund Awards in 2017Model Selah Marley with Liberian-American fashion designer Telfar Clemens at the 14th Annual CFDA Fashion Fund Awards in 2017

For years the designer dealt with disenfranchisement in the fashion world because of his sexuality, background, and values, and now those who once gatekept the industry are inviting him in. Telfar continues to create his own inclusive fashion world. Once rejected by fashion, the brand is now at the center.

Last year, Oprah appointed the Telfar vegan leather shopping bag as a “favorite thing,” and the notorious Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a.k.a AOC, shared the bag on her Instagram with 8.8 million followers. In the past two years, more and more celebrities have been seen wearing the bag.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by @telfarglobal

Telfar Clemens and his creative partner first created the popular bags in 2014. They feature an embossed logo of a T inside a C, a form of his initials created by one of Telfar’s childhood teachers.

Telfar's logo features his initials, with an embossed letter T inside an embossed letter CTelfar’s logo features his initials, with an embossed letter T inside an embossed letter C

They come in three sizes, small, medium, and large, and range between $150 and $257. These shopping bags are affectionately called “the Bushwick Birkin.” A name that comes from their Bushwick headquarters and the Birkin-looking square shape.

It’s a name that caught-on before the Telfar bags acquired the same exclusive status as a Birkin.

Telfar's popular vegan shopping bag comes in three sizes: small, medium, and largeTelfar’s popular vegan shopping bag comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large

Telfar shopping bags are made from vegan leather with a large logo on the side. The design was inspired by Bloomingdale’s shopping bags, although more commonly compared to Hermes.

The bags are made in China, and Telfar has openly spoken about the quality of work and flexibility when working with the manufacturer. Telfar’s financial model is unique.

They self-financed production, 100% on their own, and typically plan for production six months in advance. This is what has caused the shortage; it’s not a pre-meditated strategy to make the brand more exclusive and boost demand.

After consistently selling out in August 2020, the brand launched the “bag security program.” This program aimed to give more people the opportunity to buy one of the bags that kept selling out.

On August 19th, people could add their names to a pre-sale waitlist. There are also continuous bag drops where up to 7000 bags become available, which still sell out within minutes!

Pre-selling also helps them manage how many to order and produce so they don’t end up with wasted products or excess expenses.

With the massive increase in demand, they’ve had to double the size of their headquarters in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and have leased a 10,000 square-foot warehouse in New Jersey so they could manage their own fulfillment.

Clemens is from Queens and wants to stay there. He has said he would love to open a Telfar store (currently only available online) and wouldn’t want it in Manhattan. Instead, he’d like to stay in Queens or Brooklyn.

Where To Buy Telfar Shopping Bags?

The iconic tote with its T logo is currently sold out on the Telfar website; however, they have weekly drops. You can be notified of when the bags will become available next by signing up to their mailing list on the website.

The bags have also been on Amazon sporadically, though, as you can imagine, they sell out quickly! Online retailers Farfetch and Shopbop have also carried the bags. Sign up to their mailing lists as well to be notified when the bags are available again.

Since they are so hard to come by, many people are reselling the bags online. Although you may have to pay more, this will likely be the fastest option for securing a Telfar shopping bag.

When buying from a second-hand retailer like eBay, you need to be careful and watch for authenticity. There are nearly 300 bags available on eBay that are marked up in price to almost double what they retail for.

If you can’t wait until the next Teflar bag drop and looking to buy online, you need to watch for fakes. Here are some key areas to pay attention to when determining whether is it a real or a fake Telfar bag.

7 Ways To Tell Fake and Real Telfar Bags

1. Logo

The bag should feature a single debossed logo at the front that resembles a T inside a C.

2. Material

The bag must be made from 1000% vegan leather with a synthetic twill interior.

3. Shape

The bags all have a boxy, structured silhouette.

A screenshot from Jennifer Tiffany's YouTube channel showing the difference in shape between a fake (left) and a real (right) Telfar shopping bagA screenshot from Jennifer Tiffany’s YouTube channel showing the difference in shape between a fake (left) and a real (right) Telfar shopping bag

The original Telfar shopping bag (right) looks more structured compared to the fake bag (left)The original Telfar shopping bag (right) looks more structured compared to the fake bag (left)

4. Stitching

Look for machine stitching at a 45-degree angle on the bottom corners.

Stitchings on the real Telfar bag (right) look cleaner, tighter, and more aligned than the fake one (left)Stitchings on the real Telfar bag (right) look cleaner, tighter, and more aligned than the fake one (left)

5. Straps

It should have two types of straps; double shoulder straps and double top handles.

The straps on the fake Telfar bag (white) are longer than the real Telfar bag (chocolate)The straps on the fake Telfar bag (white) are longer than the real Telfar bag (chocolate)

6. Interior logo

A single jacquard square logo attached to the back wall is only reinforced on the sides. There is no stitching on the upper or bottom walls, except for a small stitch on the upper corners.

A jacquard square logo is attached to the interior back wall of the bagA jacquard square logo is attached to the interior back wall of the bag

7. Brand tag

Inside the lower interior of the bag, there should be an additional brand tag that reads “TELFAR / EST. 2005, NYC”.

Unfortunately, due to the low price, bots and resellers are purchasing these bags from Telfar and reselling them for double the price or more. The brand has tried to stop this.

A resale site, Hypernova Group, was previously blamed for buying up 60% of the stock only to resell at a 100% markup.

According to Clemens, “What the bots are doing goes against what we are about – we are not trying to create fake scarcity – we just have crazy demand.” So, if you can, it is best to wait and hope that the fashion Gods are on your side for the next bag drop on Telfar’s website.

If you find yourself lucky enough to score a Telfar shopping bag, here are a few of the most popular bags:

6 Most Popular Telfar Bags

1. Large Black Shopping Bag

The staple large black shopping bag features a main compartment, an internal laptop-sized compartment, and an internal pocketThe staple large black shopping bag features a main compartment, an internal laptop-sized compartment, and an internal pocket

Black is a staple – which is why it is so popular. If you have one of these high-in-demand yet hard-to-get bags, you want to show it off at every opportunity.

The large bag is big enough to be used as a carry-on or a weekend bag. It’s 14.25 inches tall, 19.25 inches wide, and has a depth of 8 inches.

2. Small Orange Shopping Bag

Bella Hadid owns this coveted party-ready small orange shopping bagBella Hadid owns this coveted party-ready small orange shopping bag

The orange color of this bag is stunning! Bella Hadid has been seen wearing the tiny orange Telfar tote while running errands in New York City.

The small bag is perfect for going out to a party or grabbing dinner. The small bag is 1.74 inches tall, 6.80 inches wide, and 1.15 inches deep.

3. Large Yellow Shopping Bag

Telfar's large yellow shopping bag is one of the most popular as it comes in this year's hottest colorTelfar’s large yellow shopping bag is one of the most popular as it comes in this year’s hottest color

Yellow has been declared the color of “Gen Z” and is one of the hottest shades in fashion. In January, Dua Lipa was seen walking through JFK airport using this bag as a carry-on. The large shopping bag retails for $257.

4. Large Cream Shopping Bag

The large cream shopping bag is a classic and it's versatile enough to be paired with just about any other colorsThe large cream shopping bag is a classic and it’s versatile enough to be paired with just about any other colors

While at a Helmut Lang runway show, A$AP Ferg was seen with his large cream shopping bag tucked under his seat.

5. Small Oxblood Shopping Bag

Telfar's small oxblood shopping bag is a favorite among celebrities and fashion modelsTelfar’s small oxblood shopping bag is a favorite among celebrities and fashion models

If you have a smaller budget, go for one of the small bags as they retail for just $150.

This small oxblood shopping bag is a celebrity and fashion-icon favorite and has been seen on Selah Marley and is the bag that designer Telfar Clemens wore to the 2019 Met Gala.

6. Medium White Shopping Bag

The Telfar medium shopping bag measures 10.75 inches tall, 15 inches wide, and has a depth of five inchesThe Telfar medium shopping bag measures 10.75 inches tall, 15 inches wide, and has a depth of five inches

For a bigger bag that you can still pair with a dress and take to dinner, the medium white bag is a great choice.

In July 2019, before the bag really took off, Sonja Morgan was seen wearing this bag with a white ruffled dress. Selena Gomez also has a Telfar bag in white, but she opted for the small size.

A highly-anticipated line of bags is scheduled to come out later this year. A Telfar X UGG collaboration went on pre-sale in December 2020 and Telfar has indicated more exciting collaborations will be announced this year.

In addition to selling more of the Telfar shopping bags, Telfar Clemens and his creative partner Babak Radboy are hoping to make their line of clothes the focus of 2021.

As a brand that stands for inclusivity, it’s easy to see why so many people want to support and wear one of these bags.

If you hope to get one of these bags anytime soon, I suggest heading over to Telfar’s website and putting your name on their mailing list now! You won’t want to miss the next bag drop.

Credit: Patricia Schlein / WENN

DO YOU LOVE SHOES? Win free shoes, organize your shoe closet, see the latest styles + more


Curr Cat
© Copyright Your Next Handbag 2010 - 2021 | Back to Top