When fans excitedly logged on to try and scoop up one of Telfar Clemens’ highly-coveted Shopping Bags during today’s restock, they noticed the styles sold out even more quickly than normal. Soon, the tweets were coming fast and furious— with the chatter reaching sneaker-drop levels.
Many people were upset that they couldn’t score the bags, and soon, the designer took to Instagram stories with a striking statement: “Telfar is for the people. Not Bots. Store on ice while we root them out.”
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The it bag, also known as the “Bushwick Birkin”, retails between $150 and $257 — and has become a powerful success story that’s a rarity in the fashion world. First embraced by a group of cool kids, mostly people of color and queer people, Telfar’s fan base grew rapidly in a short time.
“There was nothing like it in that category before and the customer didn’t exist, so I decided to make the shopping bag that everyone carries but put my name on it,” the Black designer told FN in January at Pitti Uomo.
Now everyone wants to carry Telfar’s bags — as evidenced by today’s outcry over the restock.
To everyone out there super pissed that Telfar restock got cooked today by the bots:
Welcome to my world.
-signed, A Sneaker Addict.
— GREG SMITH (@glsmith04) July 23, 2020
While some of the tweets were light-hearted, others took a more serious tone, noting the impact the resale market could have on both the designer — who this week was nominated for the CFDA accessories designer of the year award — and his fans.
Exploiting small Black businesses — like purchasing bulk orders of @TELFARGLOBAL using bots to resell and make it more difficult for Black women to access affordable Black luxury items — is not supporting Black business.
— B.L.A.C.C. (@buyBLACC) July 23, 2020
Non-black people using bots to cop telfar bags & reselling them for a higher price to black people doesn’t sit right with me
— JUSTICE🌻 (@liljusto_) July 23, 2020
While Telfar’s star has been rising for the past few years, he has been at the center of the fashion conversation for weeks after it surfaced that Gap canceled its collaboration with the designer amid major attention around racial injustice. (Around the same time, the beleaguered retailer revealed a new partnership with Kanye West.)
People quickly rallied around the 35-year-old Clemens, and he told his side of the story in a revealing New York Times piece.
Now, as shoppers wait for the next bag restock (once the designer figures out the Bot situation), they are also anticipating Telfar’s upcoming shoe release.
Following his much-hyped spring collaboration with Converse, Clemens is launching his own line of footwear for fall ‘20.
Two styles, a loafer and a riding-meets-Western boot come in black and brown and feature his TC logo as a cutout. In the case of the boot, you can hold them like a handle, much as you would with one of his breakout bag styles — which is kind of the point. He hopes this new category will bring the brand the same success as the bags.
“I expect these will be in a lot of places in the next year,” he said in January.