Change My View: The Telfar Shopping Tote is Totally Overrated

Should I save my money or be more committed to the cause?

When it comes to practicality, nothing beats a big beautiful tote bag.

Super spacious and easy to carry, tote bags usually find their way into every woman’s closet at some point or another. It could be because they’re a student or an avid traveler or maybe even a busy mom. Whatever their situation, having a tote bag becomes a lifeline that helps get them through the day.

Almost every major brand offers a tote bag in some shape or form, but there was one noteworthy bag that I previously saw become an overnight obsession: the Telfar Shopping Tote.

Even though it was originally created in 2014, the Telfar tote managed to make it to temporary ‘IT Bag’ status after it was rated as the most wanted bag of 2020. And now this “Bushwick Birkin,” as it’s been called, continues to still be seen on the arms of many major celebs and fashion influencers two years later.

I can see that it’s a simple bag offered at a pretty affordable price (at least if you were ever able to get your hands on one; it was always sold out), but despite it being ultra-popular, I personally just can’t help but consider it to also be ultra-overrated.

Now Hear Me Out…

I love the brand’s backstory and its dedication to inclusivity. As a person of color, it’s wonderful to see those who look more like myself making their mark in an industry that has historically been dominated by European designers. I’m forever grateful for the work of designers like Virgil Abloh, Brandon Blackwood, and Telfar Clemens. Their designs came at a time when certain communities were (and still are) looking for ways to deal with a harsh reality and a 24-hour news cycle that can be less than kind. Fashion functions as a type of escapism for many, even if only for a season.

But I just need more from this bag.

As much as I want to do my part by supporting the work of Telfar, I just can’t bring myself to desire a bag that is so basic. And when I say basic, I don’t mean minimalist. I mean thin, plastic-y, and uninspiring.

I just have so many questions!

Like Stella McCartney bags, I guess Telfar is great for the purse-lovers who are averse to leather but isn’t vegan leather just processed plastic? Isn’t that worse for the environment than real leather?

Also, is incorporating a brand’s logo on a product now enough to call it fashionable?

I want to hear others’ perspectives on this, so please, my fellow PurseBloggers, change my view.

  • Do you have a Telfar tote? Do you like it? How has it held up?
  • Is it better for daytime errands or travel?
  • Are they totally cool, or am I right in thinking they’re overrated?

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