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Is that a Telfeezy? Telfar bags stay sold-out

Gen Z is obsessed with Telfar bags and here’s why

Telfar Clemens, now 36, is the creator of 2021’s staple “It” bag: Telfar’s utilitarian Shopping Bag – dubbed as the ‘Bushwick Birkin’ after the New York district where Clemens was born. Known for always being sold-out, the shopper’s inability to get their hands on the bag is now being referred to as a ‘Telfeezy’. The bag was created in 2014, modelled after a Bloomingdale’s shopping bag, and comes in three sizes with multiple colours to choose from at $200 to $300 per piece.

Clemens — born in Queens, New York to Liberian parents — started his brand in 2005 as an undergraduate at Pace University.  His clothes have always been marketed as unisex and were inspired ‘by the people, for the people’. Avena Gallagher, Clemens’s stylist, tells The New Yorker, “He has always been super interested in what everybody wears rather than what the rare person wears.”

The bag has become the brand’s best-selling item, and in 2017, Clemens went on to scoop the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Vogue Fashion Fund award. Again, in 2020 Clemens won the CFDA Award for American Accessories Designer of the year.

The bag gained major recognition after the historic Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. At this time, people collectively decided to primarily support Black-owned businesses. Following high demand, Telfar launched a bag security program, which helps shoppers to place advance orders, in a bid to become more accessible to the everyday consumer. Meanwhile prices vary from £112 o £192, making it relatively affordable for a luxury item.

And 15 years in to its career, Telfar has become the bag brand Gen Zs shoppers are obsessing over.

_shift had the pleasure of interviewing a few Telfar bag owners to uncover the truth behind the hype, and what draws so many people to purchase the bag.

Veronica Cue, 21, a student at Lander University South Carolina, says, “I first heard about Telfar bags on social media and immediately knew I had to get one some day.” Cue continues, “What made me buy a Telfar bag was simply the fact that it is Black-owned and is top quality. What caught my eye was that it was something I’d never seen before.”

@veronicacue1Why is small a mini and medium a large… sizing ???? But the bag is cute 🤌🏾✨ ##fypシ ##ForzaHorizon5GO ##fypシ ##fypシ♬ original sound – ell

Ri’Shaun Roulette, 24, a content creator from Nassau in the Bahamas, says, “The first time I saw a Telfar bag was on Twitter. I mean it was everywhere! In fact, I got it gifted to me because I raved so much about it and they’re so hard to purchase. Besides that, what  interested me in the bag was its sleek look as well as the brand being Black-owned. In particular what caught my eye was definitely the look and having experience in graphic design the logo just screamed ‘minimalist but sophisticated’ if I want it to be!”

@rishvunroulette😍 ##telfezzy ##fypシ ##bahamiantiktok ##🇧🇸 ##bahamas♬ telfeezy lawdhavemerci – milly marq

@rishvunroulette

😍 #telfezzy #fypシ #bahamiantiktok #🇧🇸 #bahamas ♬ telfeezy lawdhavemerci – milly marq

Quintin Wood, 21, a student from Nashville, says, “I heard about the bag for the first time on Instagram. Also I had a couple of friends who had good reviews about the Telfar Bag. But what ultimately made me buy it was the fact that it is a Black-owned company, and the bag comes with double straps and in three different size offerings.” Wood also embraced the androgyny of the bag, expressing, “What caught my eye about the bag was seeing men wearing the bag and the colour range offered.”

@rashad_q I finally got one and don’t know how to act #telfeezy #telfar #fyp #fypシ #SoundcoreGoForGold #lgbtq ♬ telfeezy lawdhavemerci – milly marq

Alyssa Simmons, 25, a historian from New Jersey says, “I first heard about Telfar in the beginning of the pandemic through social media and fell in love. I bought it because first, it’s a Black-owned business and I try to support Black-owned, or women-owned businesses as much as possible. Secondly, I loved the range of colours and sizes.” She adds, “I am a high-end fashion consumer and investing in a high-end luxury brand such as Telfar, while also celebrating the inclusiveness of their pricing, and it genuinely makes me feel like I have invested intelligently and in a company that deserves it.

“I was initially drawn in by the logo, it caught my eye. But the richness and vibrance of the colour pigment in the bags also sold the deal for me. The bags don’t fade and are high quality which was something that I needed in my collection.”

@itssolyss it’s a telfeezy… enough said 💅🏽 #telfeezy #telfar #blackgirlluxury #averageblackgirltiktok #style #burberry #fyp #blackownedbusiness #foryou ♬ TELFAR HUNNY – Avhcash

To conclude, we asked each of my interviewees how wearing a Telfar bag make them feel.

“Wearing a Telfar bag makes me feel empowered to know I have something that is very clearly limited because of how fast they sell out!” Cue says.

“It makes me feel like ‘that’ girl!” For real, there’s something about it that’s satisfying and brings your outfit together!” Roulette, says.

“It makes my outfit feel elevated, but for me personally I feel the same, just thankful that I have one,” Wood says.

“I feel empowered wearing my Telfar bag because it feels good knowing someone from my community is breaking barriers within luxury retail,” Simmons says.

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