Telfar’s Shopper Bag Is The Viral Tote Of The Decade
Get to know the ultimate it bag.
The Telfar Shopper needs no introduction. The boxy accessory has been touted by seemingly all of Hollywood, from Gabrielle Union to Dua Lipa. Nicknamed after one of the most exclusive bags on the planet, it even has its own moniker, the “Bushwick Birkin.” And it always, always sells out.
Designer Telfar Clemens, however, prides himself on Telfar’s ethos of inclusivity, not ex-. Just look at the brand’s tagline: “Not for you — for everyone.” The Liberian-American designer, who launched his eponymous label almost a decade before releasing the bag in 2014, told L’Officiel USA, “Many brands use price as a barrier to entry. I never wanted that for my brand.”
True to his vision of accessibility, the Shopper, which comes in three sizes, costs from $150 to $257 — thousands away from the Hermès bag it’s often compared to. Even its inception (and inspiration) was democratic.
Recalling the bag’s beginnings in an interview with Vogue, Clemens said the concept first appeared to him one holiday season when he saw “people walking down the street with a million shopping bags” and realized “how cool that looked as a silhouette.” “We really just measured paper shopping bags to design our own version in three sizes,” he continued.
Voilà, the unisex Shopper was born. But despite having been in the market for years, it wasn’t until the bag’s relaunch in 2018 that it exploded. Like Clemens envisioned, fashion girlies, boys, and they/thems took to the bag, clamoring for new color drops.
Celebs, too, began touting the bag, with the Shopper’s elite fan base spanning the likes of Bella Hadid, Selena Gomez, Zoë Kravitz, Oprah, and even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. And when Beyoncé was spotted carrying a white Shopper in 2021, it became even more elusive. To this day, you can hardly walk New York City block without spotting a colorful Telfar tote tucked under an arm or slung across a chest (especially, during fashion week).
If you want to secure your own Telfar Shopper, mark your calendars for the brand’s weekly restocks and releases. (Seriously, sign up for any newsletters if you must.) The bags come in three sizes, small, medium, and large, and go for $150, $202, and $257 respectively.
The bag has also been interpreted in a rainbow of yummy hues, like “Margarine,” “Double Mint,” and “Grape,” as well as a range of shimmery metallics. The classic styles come in faux leather, but there are also puff iterations (a huge trend these days) and even shearling-lined. They’ve also released collabs with several brands including UGG, Eastpak, and Moose Knuckles — those styles are still available for purchase.
If you missed your chance (relatable) and really want a Shopper, resellers like Fashionphile, TheRealReal, and Rebag have plenty of pre-owned options available. But they’re often sold at a major markup. That’s because apparently, the bag appreciates to almost twice its retail price — making it a sound investment if you are able to nab one. (Take that, Wall Street.)