Telfar’s Under £300, Sell-Out Shopping Bag Is Finally Back In Stock

Its shopping bags are called the 'Bushwick Birkin' and they're like gold dust. Only more difficult to get your hands on.

buy telfar shopping bag

by Natalie Hammond |
Published on

Normally, 'It' bags carry a huge price tag that feels inaccessible for most of us. But times, they are a-changing – and for the better, too. Telfar, the 15 year-old unisex brand from Telfar Clemens has seen an unprecedented reaction to its Shopping Bag, which has been carried by every celebrity you can think of (almost) and which starts at £184 for the smallest size.

Known as the ‘Bushwick Birkin’, the Shopping Bag has a logo almost as famous as Louis Vuitton's - a ‘C’ that lovingly curls around a ‘T’ - and has a fan club including Issa Rae (in her hit comedy,Insecure), Solange Knowles, Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa. It has even reached political circles, with the ever-impressive Alexandria Ocasio Cortez taking hers to Congress, no less. While these bags don't stay on the shelves for long, there are (amazingly) a few currently available at Farfetch.


SHOP: Telfar's Shopping Bag

Telfar, Embossed Logo Tote Bag, £2431 of 3

Telfar, Embossed Logo Tote Bag, £243

Telfar, Medium Shopping Bag, £2432 of 3

Telfar, Medium Shopping Bag, £243

Telfar, Mini Tote, £1843 of 3

Telfar, Mini Tote, £184

AOC didn’t just carry the bag, however, she also posted about it. ‘Fun fact: @telfarglobal is now known as a globally celebrated designer, but do you know this Black, LGBTQ+ designer + founder got their start in LEFRAK CITY, QUEENS? That’s right! Telfar Clemens is a HOMETOWN HERO from our district! Another NY - 14 native using their talents to challenge us to question convention and imagine a different world. Our community is so proud!’

AOC with her Telfar bag
AOC with her Telfar bag

It's true that Telfar has come to be so much more than just a fashion brand thanks to its uplifting message of diversity and democracy. And the Shopping Bag has helped to future-proof the business. According to BoF, thanks to the sell-out bag, Telfar’s revenue was more than $2 million in 2019, up from $102,000 in 2016. It doesn’t just look like something that today’s cool kids want to carry - and they do, with the brand recently launching what it’s calling a ‘Bag Security Program’ giving customers a one-day window to pre-order their Shopping Bag - it encapsulates everything the brand stands for. Its mission statement, after all, is, 'Not for you, for everyone.'

Bella Hadid
Bella Hadid ©Getty

Speaking to The Guardian, Clemens said: 'The idea for the bag came during Christmas years ago. Just looking at everyone with their paper shopping bags, I realised that this is a completely unisex silhouette. We measured a Bloomingdales bag to make the first sample. When it came to the price, I based it on what a DJ might make in a night; that’s what felt right for me.’

With the reckoning that’s been set in motion this year after the Black Lives Matter protests, brands have hurriedly been posting on social media, aligning themselves with the right organisations, remedying their diversity policies and, in some cases, apologising for past behaviour. But for Telfar, it’s slightly different. As Clemens’s business partner, Babak Radboy, explained to BoF: ‘People are making up these ideas that there is some kind of social use to this brand, that it stands for something, it’s all about inclusivity and this and this and this. We don’t have to express the idea of change because we represent the idea of change.’

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