Telfar Bags
Telfar Bags

Telfar Bag Or Faux? How To Spot The Real Thing

Words by Jody Hume | 11.16.20

Has there ever been an It bag like Telfar’s? Not quite. Before the “Bushwick Birkin” was just as difficult to snag as an actual Birkin, it loomed under the radar for years. The boxy tote, crafted of vegan leather and inspired by department store shopping bags, first launched in 2014 to complement founder and designer Telfar Clemens’ innovative, ungendered ready-to-wear. But the bag has taken on a life of its own, surging in popularity to the point that its weekly drops sell out in minutes, if not seconds. (Considering Oprah officially deemed it one of her favorite things of 2020, that’s not likely to change anytime soon.)

Many luxury icons exist as symbols of rarity and exclusivity. You won’t find that here. Instead, the Telfar bag represents the brand’s core values of accessibility and inclusivity, effectively turning the traditional “It bag” concept on its head. Solange, Chloë Sevigny and AOC all own one — but more importantly, countless members of the brand’s diverse following do too. After all, Telfar’s tagline states that “it’s not for you — it’s for everyone.” Preventing its most dedicated fans from buying a bag would go against everything Telfar stands for. 

Doubling down on their modus operandi, the brand made headlines when they announced the Bag Security program in August. For 24 hours, shoppers were able to preorder Telfar bags in any size and color without the fear of competing against bots or other frenzied customers. For those who haven’t “secured the bag” yet, there’s also the secondary market to consider, but it comes with a caveat. “Faux pairs have been seen on a well-known replica site, which is unfortunate but not surprising due to Telfar bags’ current popularity and minimalist yet iconic design,” says The RealReal Handbag Valuation Manager Kiara Cooper. Luckily, Cooper has a Telfar bag of her own and has inspected a number of the bag’s iterations, so she knows how to spot the real deal.


Real Telfar Bag: The Logo

When inspecting a Telfar bag, pay close attention to the logo at the front of the bag. “Telfar bags feature a single debossed logo at the front,” notes Cooper. “The logo should always resemble a T within a C.” There should be no stitching or textured delineation around the Telfar logo; the transition between bag and logo should be completely smooth. 


Real Telfar Bag: The Construction

Telfar Bag Stitching

Telfar bags are produced in small, medium and large, and while the construction is consistent across these different sizes, there are specific details to look out for. “Authentic Telfar bags should be made of 100% vegan leather with a twill, synthetic interior lining,” explains Cooper. “Telfar Shopping Bags feature a boxy silhouette that has a structured appearance. Over time, the medium and large bags should become slightly more relaxed with use, but the small should remain structured.”

The stitching, and particularly the bag’s corners, can help you determine its authenticity. “Basic, straight machine stitching is used throughout, and at the bottom corners of each side there should be a small, 45 degree-angle stitch,” says Cooper.

Telfar Bag Handles

The bags’ straps should include rolled, smooth edges with stitching along either side; however, aspects of the straps have changed as new bags have been produced. “Telfar bags should feature two types of straps — double top handles and double shoulder straps,” says Cooper.The sizes and shoulder strap lengths have shifted over the years, though. For example, the small shopping bag’s longer straps used to be shoulder-strap length, but recent iterations include longer straps, allowing the bag to be worn as a crossbody. The medium shopping bag has changed as well, and was originally smaller in height and width compared to the current medium bags.”


Real Telfar Bag: The Interior Details

Peek inside a Telfar bag and look out for a couple of essential authenticity clues. “A single jacquard square logo tag should be found attached to the back interior wall,” says Cooper. “This should not be sewn down all the way, but instead reinforced only at the top corners with a horizontal stitch. There should also be stitching along each side of the tag, but not along the top and bottom. The logo tag doubles as a secret slit pocket, so the tag should look split. The logo on this tag may be black or white, depending on when the bag was produced. Prior to 2020, the interior square logo tag was white with a white Telfar logo — a monochrome appearance. Bags produced in 2020 should feature the black-and-white logo.” 

There should be limited hardware on a Telfar bag. “Telfar bags are very minimal and feature little hardware,” says Cooper, “but all sizes should include a magnetic snap closure.” Current medium Telfar bags include a pocket with a zipper closure, while large bags include a spacious back compartment with a zipper closure and a front interior pocket. “If a zipper is present, it should be silver-tone and may be branded YKK,” says Cooper.

Check the bag’s base for an additional brand tag. “Select bags will also include a brand tag in the bottom back left corner,” notes Cooper. “This long, folded white tag should be sewn into the lining, feature the Telfar logo and say ‘TELFAR / EST. 2005, NYC’ in a black, bold font. All letters should be capitalized. Note that this tag is not included in all bags and all sizes. We’ve seen some small, 2020-produced bags with the white folded tag, while some medium, 2020 bags have been seen without. Bags produced prior to 2020 have not been seen with this tag.”


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All items are pre-owned and consigned to The RealReal. Trademarks are owned by their respective brand owners. No brand owner endorses or sponsors this ad or has any association and/or affiliation with The RealReal.

Please note: Brand standards, logos and other identifying features may have changed since the time of publication.

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