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“This imported Telfar bag, Birkins, that shit is in storage.” It’s the line everyone is talking about from Beyoncé’s latest album, which was released on July 29.
The album became Spotify’s most-streamed album in a single day by a female artist in 2022 so far, according to the Branded Entertainment Network (Ben Group), which connects brands with movies, TV and music videos. Fans were quick to debate on social media whether this marked the end of our obsession with the French luxury brand’s tote bag, as they celebrated supporting Telfar as an independent black-owned company. But for Hermès, Beyonce’s mention of her most prestigious bag proved the old adage: there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Views of Telfar items on reselling platform TheRealReal increased 85% globally on the day of Beyoncé’s album release, compared to the day before, according to the market. Similarly, on luxury resale site Fashionphile, Telfar does search, page views, and “add to bag.” jumped 47 percent, according to Fashionphile data analyst Rachel Koenig. Search rates for Birkins on the site, which is the third most searched term by millennials this year, remained constant. On Google Trends, searches for “Telfar” soared above “Birkin bag” over a five-hour period on July 30, but overall, the Birkin is still much more popular. And while data on direct sales is hard to come by (the Birkin isn’t sold online), luxury resale platform Rebag said searches for “Birkin” rose 33 percent in the three-day period from June 28-31. July, compared to three days. earlier, while searches for “Telfar” grew at a lower rate of 21 percent.
“We tend to see an immediate spike in demand after major pop culture references to particular brands or styles,” says Kelly McSweeney, women’s merchandising manager at The RealReal.
Beyoncé, with 271 million followers on Instagram, first noted Telfar among her followers last year, when posted a photo on Instagram wearing a white version of Telfar’s cult-favorite shopping bag. Like other it bags, it’s hard to come by: the last delivery was Tuesday at 12:00 pm (EST), and previous deliveries sold out in minutes. But the bag, jokingly nicknamed the “Bushwick Birkin” in reference to the working-class neighborhood of Bushwick in Brooklyn, New York, retails for between $150 and $300, depending on size. The Birkin retails from $10,000 to over half a million dollars.
Telfar designer Telfar Clemens, a Liberian-American from Queens, New York, is known for democratizing luxury with his affordable price points, utilitarian designs, and drop models. Fans see the shopping bag as a symbol of the black and queer communities. More than a quarter of African Americans and up to 40 percent of African Americans under the age of 35 say they shop for black-owned brands frequently, according to a Morning Consult survey commissioned by Bloomberg. “It is not [just] a trend. In my own community, my friends and family value Black-owned brands more than mainstream brands. The events of 2020 made us realize [that] if we want to win as a culture, we have to support each other,” says Brandice Daniel, executive director of Harlem’s Fashion Row, an agency that connects designers of color with retailers. “[Beyoncé is] one of the few celebrities who has always used his platform to promote black designers, from Sammy B to Christopher John Rogers to Telfar.”