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The Row Alligator Backpack, $34,000 via Net-a-Porter

As is probably to be expected of anything that’s received as much press attention as this little bag has, naturally.

The Huffington Post is reporting that The Row’s $34,000 black alligator backpack has sold out, but that appears to be the result of a misinterpreted quote that one of the Olsen sisters gave to Women’s Wear Daily during a party for their newly launched handbag line in Paris. My suspicion is corroborated by the fact that Net-a-Porter still has the bag in stock well after its debut, but the point still stands – people are buying this bag. Who are they? As always, I have a few theories.

First, though, it’s important to understand that this bag was likely made in extremely limited quantities, which means that it wouldn’t take a whole lot of units for it to “sell out,” which the Olsens don’t even seem to be claiming that it has done. If you read the linked WWD article, Ashley Olsen merely says that the bag was “the first thing to sell off the shelf.” That’s a little different than claiming a complete sell-through of global inventory, at least to me. It does indicate brisk sales, though, at least relative to available (small) supply.

Second, there’s a sucker born every minute. If you’re a regular watcher of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, then you know that someone was on the show this week, bragging about buying a $25,000 pair of sunglasses. Because this bag has been all over the press for its high price tag, women who have more access to cash than self-esteem have likely taken to this design like ducks to water. All of their friends will already know how much it cost on sight, and then the bragging can begin.

Third, I’m willing to allow that this is actually a fairly attractive bag for those who dig The Row’s modern-minimal aesthetic. The brand’s pieces have been super pricey since its inception, so The Row’s devoted clients are those with money to burn. It wouldn’t shock me if one or two of them were up to the challenge of burning it on this bag in particular. Also, Mary Kate and Ashley likely have lots of rich friends, so maybe a few of them who aren’t close enough (or famous enough – think about all fashion issues from a PR perspective, always) to be gifted with a bag this expensive put their money where their mouths were.

This is speculation, of course, but I’m betting that some combination of those scenarios occurred to sell a few stupidly expensive alligator backpacks over the last month. If someone wants to, you know, give me one, I wouldn’t say no. Just in case someone with a billion dollars is out there, reading this, and wondering if I’d like one as a gift. My birthday’s coming up.

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Share Your Thoughts With Us

  • rose60610

    “First thing to fly off the shelf”? Where? Dubai? Who says the economy is bad? I think a Birkin or Kelly in croc/gator is far more impressive than a backpack. In comparison, this is the “cheaper” alternative to one of those.

  • atty2de

    <<<not going to spend the price of a car on a backpack.

  • mochababe73

    My thoughts were the same as yours. If they only make about 5, of course it wouldn’t take long for them to sell-out.
    I don’t see sell-outs of this backpack in a quantity more than that. As a matter of fact, I envision some celebrity being paid to be seen strutting around with it on their shoulders. And, I’m talking about someone waaaay up the celebrity hierarchy. In other words, Kardashians (as much as I LOVE that family) need not apply.

  • Sandra Rowley

    While I am sure the quality of the bag is the best…it is still a back pack for $34,000.00…..if you purchase this bag you clearly need to do better things with your money…help the homeless.

  • bir

    hmm quality may be woderful but in no way time or place will i pay this for a back pack!!! i dont mind the brand so much if i like it and its a good material well made bag fine but…… backpacks should stay back …… the 90s.

  • Anna

    “…women who have more access to cash than self-esteem…” LOL!!!

  • 318Platinum

    OVERIT.ORG! This is ridiculous! When something is this pricey, there are VERY limited numbers made, and that is probably why they are selling out (YEAH, RIGHT!) I could be a BILLIONAIRE and STILL not buy this bag! I’m sorry, I meant BackPack. SMH, I do love Exotics, though! I’d rather have a Balenciaga Croc Paiper Tote!

  • alishia

    I’d rather have a real alligator

    • Ju Aquino

      LOL me too!

      • Bubble_Gum


  • klynneann

    So first of all, the article incorrectly quotes the price at $39k. Second, it says that they’re “rushing to keep up with demand”, which I’m thinking means they made one and have two people asking for it? Which is two people too many. I mean, it is a beautiful bag, but not for the price tag.

  • erica

    in-freakin-sane! I love fashion, bags, clothes, but even if I had Oprah’s money I would not buy a bag that cost this much! It’s just…dumb!

  • Saira

    Whilst this is a terrifyingly expensive bag (to me) there are an awful lot of people on this forum who have several $1,000-$3,000 bags and that to many people is equally prohibitive. It’s all relative according to what you have.

  • Rashida

    I wouldn’t pay 34,000.00 for a backpack. Period.

  • J Umm

    I’m not surprised because there are so many million/billionaires these days and i bet they dont even go out to buy it themselves, they probably get a stylist or the concierge to buy it for them.

  • Perry P

    What I see a lot in the comments is that people are refusing to buy the bag because of the cost. The Row understands that their customers aren’t your typical 9-5 workers. Rather, The Row has a niche market and $34,000 is considered change. I would congratulate the Olsens on their designs and business management. I would buy one too if my worth was $50 million+.

  • Tina

    If you like this bag and couldn’t afford it, get the leather one! I think it is only $3000….pricey but dirt cheap compared to the alligator one!

  • Katherine

    I understand that this is an old thread. Today I had this handbag in my hands. Apart from the inexplicable price and the nicely tanned leather this is not top luxury. Having been working for a long time as a designer for a high end brand I am highly disappointed of what I saw. The straps of that rucksack are made of rather cheap cotton, it feels like the targeted customer is ridiculed in a cynical way. There are brands who do produce the real high end luxury, skilled craftsmen work for weeks on one single bag in Ateliers in Paris or Milan and those brands use Barosso Crocodile not the cheaper alligator skins. Even the bunch of documents coming with it do not make it the real deal.

  • whyudodis