During New York Fashion Week 2021, the Black-owned and already emblematic brand Telfar held a press conference—breaking the norm as always—to announce the launch of TELFAR TV: a channel for the brand’s community dedicated to showcasing the work of artists, from music to shows. But it’s now been revealed that it is also the new destination for the label’s highly coveted launches called ‘drips’. Designer Telfar Clemens explained that the channel will be the only way for potential customers to get their hands on the brand’s new bag, a cylindrical duffel bound to become as iconic as its predecessors.
While TELFAR TV is a 24 hour, linear television channel, occasionally, it also broadcasts QR codes that stay up for just a minute, and when scanned allow viewers access to new products before anyone else. This is an attempt to cut down on bots, also known as software programming that scoops up the bags faster than our human hands can refresh a page and reach for a credit card.
But according to its FAQ page, Telfar has more ambitious plans for its TV channel, “If we can create an ecology between our business and the freedom of this channel, we will be able to develop programming on the scale of any other channel—without the corporate oversight/overseers—and because we sell bags and clothes and not human beings—we can allow artists to retain ownership of their work. Because our DRIP structure incentivizes a small but tight audience—we can give people real creative freedom. It’s not for you—it’s for everyone. It’s not for everyone, it’s for everyone. The world isn’t everything. Peace <3”
Whether Telfar’s latest project succeeds or not, the brand’s impact on the fashion industry is already one that cannot be ignored. With his genderless and affordable vegan leather bags, Clemens has managed to change the meaning of luxury. The infamous mononymous bag was first showcased in 2014, however, sales only skyrocketed in 2020 due to the rise in activism and the Black community vowing to support their own businesses. Since then, the Telfar shopping bag has often been labelled the ‘new Birkin’ of the millennium or the “decade’s most important accessory.”
In turn, the label’s originality has inspired (or should I say forced) a wave of creativity throughout the fashion scene. Although Clemens’ mission to smash the old fashion system to bits has only just begun, it has already kicked off a feeling of open-mindedness and novelty in its wake, leaving many to hope for a more inclusive and sustainable future for the fashion industry.