The future is, as ever, very uncertain. But what if you could guarantee one thing for 2021, like a new Telfar bag, for example? Maybe that would make enduring a chaotic election, economic disasters, and a global pandemic just a little more tolerable.
The new Telfar Bag Security Program ensures exactly that. The new project – which launched yesterday – opened up Telfar bag pre-orders for 24 hours with a guarantee that you will receive your purchase by January 15 2021 at the latest. You can order in any color or size, with the caveat of no refunds.
This system seeks to undo the calamity of trying to navigate bots and resellers under the normal circumstances of buying a Telfar bag, which has seen the brand's website crash within seconds during previous drops due to the excessive demand. WSJ reported in 2019 that "the in-demand accessory has helped spur Telfar’s annual sales to $1.6 million from $100,000 over the past two years."
This isn't a total system overhaul, founder Telfar Clemens and creative director Babak Radboy tell Highsnobiety. "We are still doing drops but the bag was selling out in under a minute, and we were dropping thousands. So, on the one hand, the vast majority of people can’t get it, but on the other, we don’t even have a clue about the demand. We can’t measure it and plan around it. Offering a 24-hour preorder gives us an X-ray of the situation so we can strategize."
The Telfar bag debuted in FW14 and garnered immediate cult appeal thanks to its simple embossed design (inspired by a Bloomingdale's shopping bag), easy-to-clean faux leather material, and accessible price point. As Highsnobiety editorial director Jian DeLeon noted, "Telfar Clemens is running the Lower East Side. Everyone has that bag.” Everyone has it because Telfar actively wants it to be available for anyone who wants it — torpedoing the very idea of exclusivity. That's an extremely rare move for a brand with such a hot item. Its "Bushwick Birkin" nickname, a spin on the elusive and highly coveted handbag from Hermès, is not without merit.
Telfar bag owners are also the label's marketers, as the brand reposts every tagged image of customers with the bag in hand to their Instagram. This — along with early adoption from a crew of high-profile celebrities such as Solange, Chloë Sevigny, A$AP Ferg, and Ashton Sanders – who accessorized his Met Gala outfit (also by Telfar) with a black miniature bag – solidified the product's status as a must-have item.
As for the Hermès comparison... "We don’t think about other brands that much," says Clemens. "That’s not where we came from or really where we going. We are not criticizing - it’s just different. Over the years we have realized it’s not about explaining things but building with the people who understand." In other words, if you get it, you get it.