How to get the Telfar Shopping Bag that is always sold out

Gregory P. Daily

For the most part, last year’s biggest shopping trends were pretty easy to predict. From tie-dye sweatsuits to the nap dress, we were looking for items that would keep us comfortable while we stayed home and adjusted to our new normal. So when the Telfar Shopping Bag became one of the most-wanted accessories of the year, it was somewhat surprising.

While other luxury brands struggled as the economy took a serious hit, Telfar, helmed by Liberian-American fashion designer, Telfar Clemens, seemed to have its best year yet. The global fashion shopping platform, Lyst, revealed in their Year in Fashion Report at the end of 2020 that searches for the brand saw a 270 percent increase week-on-week since August.

While Telfar makes a variety of products, from shoes to apparel, none are quite as popular as the cult-favorite Shopping Bag. It ranges in price from $150 to $257 and is nearly impossible to get, since each iteration always sells out almost as soon as it’s released.

Tomorrow, however, anyone who has the item on their wishlist will get the rare opportunity to add one (or a few) to their closet, as Telfar is setting up to launch its second Bag Security Program, a limited-time event that allows customers to pre-order any bag on the site. Ahead of the event, here’s what you need to know about the bag’s popularity and how you can get one for yourself.

Why are Telfar bags so popular?

Clemens started the business back in 2005 and launched the bags in 2014. But it wasn’t until more recently that things really took off. Just last year, the brand (and the Shopping Bag specifically) had some of its biggest moments to date. In 2020, Clemens earned industry recognition when he won the American Accessory Designer of the Year award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the brand got love from celebrities like Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid, who were spotted toting the bag around, adding to its appeal.

And then Oprah gave it her official seal of approval. She named it one of her “favorite things” of 2020. Following the announcement the brand launched the bags on Amazon for the first time ever — of course, they sold out almost immediately afterward.

While the bags have become big among well-known names, at the same time the brand, which uses the slogan “not for you — for everyone,” has been lauded for its focus on inclusivity, something that you don’t always find in the world of high-fashion — and that has created legions of supporters. This week alone, Telfar fans came to its defense when Guess’ G-Label Tote bag used a logo and design people felt was too similar to Telfar. On Monday, the handbag licensee of the Guess tote, Signal Brands, announced it was discontinuing the bag.

The Shopping Bag has been dubbed the “Bushwick Birkin,” thanks to its popularity with the Brooklyn crowd. Marketing campaigns for the company showcase diverse faces, and the low price point makes it feel more accessible. Sure, starting at $150 the bags seem much more expensive than your average purse. But when compared to other designer bags, like those from Birkin, for example, they’re practically a steal.

How can you get a Telfar bag?

For those looking to get their hands on one of the bags, now is the time. The brand is bringing back its Bag Security Program this week for the second time.

For just 36 hours, starting at 9 a.m. on March 30 and ending at 9 p.m. on the 31st, customers can go to the Telfar site and order the Shopping Bag in any size, color and quantity. Unlike the brand’s usual drops where there are only a limited number of bags available, this time, any bags that are ordered will be custom made.

Once ordered, you can expect your bag to ship between July 15 to September 15. Since each one is specially made there are certain restrictions and you won’t be able to make changes or get a refund after you’ve made your purchase.

Each bag is made from vegan leather and features both cross-body straps and handles so it can be worn multiple ways. They come in a variety of colors and blend fashion and function, thanks to the sleek design featuring the now iconic Telfar logo and a decent amount of carrying space. (The medium can hold a laptop and a few other items, while the large is roomy enough to be used for a weekend getaway.) You can find more details on the Telfar site, but below are a few of the most popular options that you’ll be able to preorder starting tomorrow.

Medium Chocolate Shopping Bag

Small Yellow Shopping Bag

Large Cream Shopping Bag

Small Gold Shopping Bag

Large Oxblood Shopping Bag

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