**Sitting patiently with my $499 to buy my Himalayan now that Bey has made it affordable**

Wait, what?

Is this some prank to lure in unsuspecting Hermès-buyers with a “buy Birkins for cheap!” scam? A counterfeit ring? Or a call for some ultra-damaged Birkin (that too in Himalaya!) with no hopes of being brought back to life whatsoever (not even by Hermès… if that’s even possible)?

Funnily enough, it’s neither. Rather, quoted above is what a user tweeted in response to Beyoncé’s latest album, Renaissance, which was released with massive fanfare on the 29th of last month.

If you haven’t listened to the new album, drop everything else and do so immediately.
And if you have, you’ve already come across the various nuggets Queen Bey has dropped for her fans all along. From paying tribute to black musicians, like Diana Ross and Donna Summer, to the Progress Pride Flag designed by artist Daniel Quasar, and even her godfather, Uncle Jonny, the seventh studio album of the dance diva has been described as “a love letter to the Black queer roots of dance music” by Essence Magazine.

But that’s not all. This bold set of tracks saw Beyoncé dress in the likes of established luxury houses, like Schiaparelli, Gucci, and Mugler, as well as rising indie and black-owned designers, like Melissa Simon Hartman, Bethany Cordwell, and Luis De Javier, for the artwork of her album.

And the name-dropping – oh, the name-dropping! From Chanel and Tiffany to Bottega, Balenciaga, and many more, lovers of fashion, dance, music, and pop culture have all been abuzz with excitement and speculation ever since the release of the musical masterpiece.

But where does the Birkin fit into the picture?

Bags In The Wild Miami May 5th 16

The Incriminating Scoop

As this article from The Cut describes,

“But even in moments of great joy, there are casualties.”

More specifically, in the ending stanza of “Summer Renaissance,” the final track of this 16-song dance-and-house music collection, Beyoncé unexpectedly delivers a burn on the Birkin. The lines in question are:

“Versace, Bottega
Prada, Balenciaga
Vuitton, Dior, Givenchy
Collect your coins, Beyoncé
So elegant and raunchy
This haute couture I’m flaunting
This Telfar bag imported
Birkins, them shits in storage
I’m in my bag…”

To unsuspecting listeners (and let me assure you, no one anticipated such a dig at the legendary carryall from the superstar herself), this was the most shocking revelation.

Is Queen Bey denouncing the Birkin in favor of the Telfar shopping tote? Its direct interpretation would be that, yes, the singer’s substantial collection of Birkins, that Jay-Z literally dedicated his 2006 song “30-Something” to, is now gathering dust in her closet (quite possibly a veritable storage unit of its own). And perhaps there is some truth to this claim. Throughout the last year, Beyoncé was spotted numerous times with a white version of Telfar’s polarizing vegan leather tote, no Birkin in sight!

So, does this mean that the days of the Birkin are numbered? When the album’s first song, “Break My Soul,” came out, the singer proclaimed, “quit your job,” and people actually did! Now, would they do the same for the Birkin? Or does this signal something else entirely?

Telfar Mini Shopping Tote

The Bags in Question

The Birkin, of course, needs no introduction, and honestly, by now, neither does Telfar. Owned by the queer black Liberian-American designer Telfar Clemens, the New York-based brand was launched in 2005. The brand’s Shopping Bag immediately rose to fame, selling out drop after drop and going for a premium on the resale market.

From its aim to democratize luxury with affordable prices (the small size starting at $150), the Telfar tote has become a symbol of Black and LGBTQ+ communities and a way for the buyer to show their solidarity for Black-owned brands, especially after the events of 2020.

Boasting a clientele as vast as Dua Lipa, Selena Gomez, Zoe Kravitz, Bella Hadid, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Real Housewife of New York Sonja Morgan, as well as Beyoncé herself and her sister, Solange Knowles, the bag has been affectionately dubbed “the Bushwick Birkin” by its fans.

Bella Hadid Telfar

Bella Hadid

The Hermès Birkin, on the other hand, has come under fire in recent days for its use of exotic skins, which drew criticism and concerns from Jane Birkin herself, and now the fashion house is actively working to source in a more ethical and less cruelty-free manner. This, however, has not put a dent in the bag’s popularity, its retail and resale prices soaring beyond the realms of luxury into “ultra-luxury” territory. And the Himalaya Crocodile Birkin that sold for half a million dollars (which the Twitter user refers to above) is a testament to that.

Battle of the Bags

But, when Renaissance dropped, the battle between the original Birkin and its Bushwick counterpart seemingly came to a head. Vogue Business reports that on the luxury resale site, The RealReal, there was a whopping 85% increase in views for Telfar on the day of the album’s release compared to the previous day. While the number of views of the brand on the weekend of the LP’s drop rose by 131% compared to the same timeframe in 2021.

Fashionphile data analyst Rachel Koenig also witnessed a 47% increase in searches, page views, and “add to cart” activities for Telfar on the site following the release of Renaissance. And seemingly, just as Queen Bey predicted, search volume for the Birkin, reportedly the third most searched term among millennials this year on Fashionphile, remained unchanged.

Hermes Birkin

Social media platform TikTok has been going crazy in the Beyoncé-induced Telfar frenzy, with the search term ‘Telfar’ now having 149.6million views. And with these figures and the fact that the vegan leather market is anticipated to be worth $66.84 billion by 2030, it’s easy to think for a hot second that Telfar is indeed about to surpass the Birkin.

But not so fast. While search analytics on Google Trends shows that searches for “Telfar” exceeded those for the “Birkin bag” on July 30, the spike lasted only for five hours, with the Birkin much more popular overall. Rebag’s data shows a 33% rise for the term Birkin, between July 28 and 31, from the previous three-day period, while the searches for “Telfar” grew at a slower rate of 21%.

Apparently, the Birkin continues to dominate.

So, the Birkin isn’t over. Or is it?

Beyoncé may have puzzled Birkin lovers for a bit there. Still, the bag’s historical performance (and reputation as an “investment purchase”) not only remained steady but has grown stronger during the pandemic. At the luxury resale site, Privé Porter, Birkins sell for 50 to 100% over their retail price, rarer pieces going for up to 10 times that figure. And regarding the purse’s outstanding COVID-era performance, the company’s managing director Jeffrey Berk says, “The clientele for a Birkin or Kelly handbag suddenly wasn’t traveling, buying a house or a Bentley. She had a lot of cash and needed to park it in an indulgence.”

In the real world, we have seen how this has panned out, with the Hermès store in Guangzhou, China, having made over $3 million in sales on its first day of opening post-pandemic, one of the biggest single-day sales figures the company ever reported and definitely higher than pre-COVID sales. The Birkin has remained enduringly popular. In the brand’s attempt to limit sales to its top clients and restrict supply (its leather goods production only increases by about six percent to seven percent annually), its perceived scarcity and perceived value seem to rise.

So, is the Birkin really going anywhere, or is it here to stay? Judging by the responses and reactions to the Beyoncé album, I’m inclined to say that it’s still a classic. We definitely should check out Telfar, not only due to its rising popularity but also because of its community-driven motto. Telfar and Hermès, however, represent two very different worlds and, by extension, audiences, so I suppose it’s quite safe to say that Telfar probably isn’t going for the Birkin’s throne. Both can happily coexist.

Telfar Shopping Tote

And after the album’s release, it’s apparent that there really is no bad publicity for Hermès. In fact, some Birkin-lovers have even stated that Birkins are like gold and need to be secured to protect their pristineness and prices! Neither is Queen Bey leaving her mainstream designer brands anytime soon, as apparent from the name-dropping in the album.

But there has undoubtedly been a shift in the perception of luxury, especially among millennials. Kayla Marci, the market analyst at retail decision intelligence company Edited, says, “Renaissance is an homage to Black women and the Black queer community. The brands mentioned — particularly the traditional heritage labels — should align their strategies with the album’s messages, as the accompanying music video will undoubtedly have a significant impact on fashion and culture.” So, serving the younger, more aware and more conscious audience, alongside battling the challenges the resale market pose, are what Hermès needs to focus on now if it is to keep its crown as the “Mother of All Purses.”

Until then, what do you think? Is Beyoncé leaving the Birkin for good?

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Jaime
Jaime
1 month ago

The lyric is literally Birkins in storage. She did not say get rid of, or even they over. She is simply promoting Telfar with whom she is friends with and supports. I feel like people are making a bigger deal out of this than necessary.

Jacquie Karlenzig
Jacquie Karlenzig
1 month ago
Reply to  Jaime

Agreed, I had my Fendi Spy Shoulder in the dust bag for years because smaller bags were it but now that hobo bags have seen a resurgence I pulled her out. I still always loved her though. I have no Birkin’s because I can’t retire early enough with one but I admire them no matter what anyone says.

FashionableLena
FashionableLena
1 month ago

I’ve seen these Telfar bags in the wild many times. I don’t get it. Maybe I’m not hip or cool enough, but those bags are ugly and cheaply made. To be clear, I have zero desire to have a Birkin, but I wouldn’t carry this either.

Last edited 1 month ago by FashionableLena
Fabuleux
Fabuleux
1 month ago

Y’all can go buy Telfar… I’ll keep my Birkin bags.

Nechama
Nechama
1 month ago

Very important topic, thx Sajid! Good points about how this question has been overstated.

It’s always possible the Birkin will be dethroned one day–but if I was going to bet on the bag to do it, I wouldn’t bet on the Telfar. It would be a competition of apples and oranges. Telfar may be “designer” but it’s not luxury. It’s made of plastic–not great for the environment any way you slice it–it will flake and become goo eventually. No Hermes bag is great for the environment either but at least they will last a long time.

I think the next wave in luxury is environmental conscience. Carrying a vintage bag is cooler than carrying a new bag, because you’re not dumping more money into the game of consumerism. Old bags that can no longer be made–with thick leathers that you can’t find anymore, not even at houses like Hermes–will I think be the coming wave.

The pristine will give way to the patina.

Jacquie Karlenzig
Jacquie Karlenzig
1 month ago
Reply to  Nechama

I love what you said. I agree with the vintage quality and beauty. I love my LV from 92 way more than any recent purchases and with Coach my vintage ones are incomparable to new. I got a Pillow tabby and there is a permanent scuff on the “c” after three wears but I have a vintage Coach turn lock shoulder bag that was my Mom’s, she very likely got it thrifting so it’s on it’s third or more life and I use it often that is still gorgeous!

Emily
Emily
1 month ago

Telfar bags looks like something from Primark?

I was not familiar with the brand but I recognise the Telfar logo, as every time I see celebrities carrying one I assume they are getting paid to do so as I just find them very unattractive, to the extent that I find it hard to even try to imagine what people who actually has the means to choose exactly what they want to carry would be attracted to in the design. I can’t even count how many times I have thought that celebs must sell themselves cheaply to risk being seen carrying that crap.

I am sorry, I applaude the good intentions but the design looks like a poorly executed attempt to make some cheap quality bag from some food chain that also sells clothes look luxurious by putting a big, gaudy logo that means nothing but it has a LOGO so it must be EXPENSIVE.

And I am not hating on Primark or cheap bags from food chains, but I would not pay designer prices for one. Am I the only one who got that that ”vibe” from the design? 😂

Jacquie Karlenzig
Jacquie Karlenzig
1 month ago
Reply to  Emily

I totally got that vibe. I wish the bag was better because I like what they stand for but I wouldn’t buy one for 20 bucks let alone 150. There are many more accessible bags that are good if you don’t have luxury money. Coach leather bags, Mansur Gavriel and Polene all have nice designs that are quality.

psny15
psny15
1 month ago
Reply to  Emily

I don’t know anyone who carries these ugly looks plastic bags

Emily
Emily
1 month ago
Reply to  Emily

I tend to not be particularly opinionated about bag designs, but this one undoubtedly hurts my eye in a way that I don’t experience often. 😂

daveloeweyou (Dave)
daveloeweyou (Dave)
1 month ago

A handmade Birkin with one of the best furs in the world is not going to be superseded by a bag that is not even leather and the fashion of a few years. I think a controversy has arisen where there is none. What’s more, I think that over time it will further strengthen Hermès.

Wendy
Wendy
1 month ago

Isn’t Beyonce quite outdated already? I would consider it more ”cool” to buy the opposite to what she claims to be hot… 😂

Jacquie Karlenzig
Jacquie Karlenzig
1 month ago
Reply to  Wendy

I’ve never understood Beyoncé’s popularity in the first place. I liked Destiny’s Child when I was a teen but I don’t think she’s very special. I guess growing up with Diva’s like Whitney, Mariah and Celine wrecked it for me. Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys in terms of more modern female artists are much better IMO. With really new stuff I’m too old to find anything ground breaking, I like Doja Cat and Cardi B but they’ll never be the 90’s Diva’s.

psny15
psny15
1 month ago
Reply to  Wendy

That’s what I thought – is Beyonce even relevant? And she was never known to have good style

Last edited 1 month ago by psny15
Sandy
Sandy
1 month ago
Reply to  Wendy

Right! IMO Beyoncé has never had great style!

Max Brownawell
Max Brownawell
1 month ago

Birkins in Storage sounds like she’s treating them as an investment.

Tricia Flowers
Tricia Flowers
1 month ago

As someone who ethically prefers not to buy leather, I actually really appreciate more brands going the vegan route. I know this is not something Hermes will do, and I am not their target market, which is fine, they’ll do fine without me 🤣 I think 1. She’s being satirical, 2. I really like the Teflar bags and am much more likely to get one of those then a birkin, and 3. She’s supporting a POC LGBT+ brand which is great. There will always be people buying Birkins, but for those of us that are not ever going to have one, I think it’s cool to see a celeb promoting a new, more attainable brand

Jacquie Karlenzig
Jacquie Karlenzig
1 month ago
Reply to  Tricia Flowers

you’re right that more celebs should promote accessible brands like J Lo and Coach. As far as being Vegan, I respect that but Karl Lagerfeld offers much nicer Vegan bag IMO. I’m not a fan of non leather personally but I accidentally purchased a vegan bag from them unknowingly and I love leather. That is how good it was! I’ve never been a fan of vegan leather until I discovered that it can be nice. With the Teflar bag my main issues are the huge logo and the thin top handles. The strap is thin so some rolled handles might offer a better overall look. To each his own though. If you like it than you go girl!

Tricia Flowers
Tricia Flowers
1 month ago

That’s great progress! I’m so glad to see more brands doing this 🙂

J H
J H
1 month ago

What Jaime said.

J H
J H
1 month ago
Reply to  J H

Right now Beyonce is in her Telfar phase. She may go back to Birkins or she may not but for now, she is promoting the Telfar business. She is not throwing out her Birkins and she has not sold them or given them away. I don’t like Birkins but the idea that a lyric in a song presages the bag’s demise is a making too much out of a Beyonce song. That being said, unless Hermes can get Gen Z and Gen Alpha on board with their products, the brand will eventually become an old-lady brand. I know that none of my younger relatives, many of whom are vegan or vegetarian and all of whom are very fashion conscious, have zero interest in legacy brands like Hermes because of concerns about sourcing.

Lorelei
Lorelei
1 month ago
Reply to  J H

I have an Hermes Evelyn. My daughters have all put their names on slips of paper tucked inside so they can have it when I go where you don’t need purses. Lol.

PeggySue
PeggySue
1 month ago
Reply to  J H

What does “an old-lady brand” mean? That older women have exquisite and impeccable taste? Also, they appreciate excellent, highly coveted, well made brands that make craftsmanship their top priority for which they’re willing to pay for this quality? That’s what I think when I read this. Maybe Gen Z, Gen Alpha, etc. can learn from those in the know… i.e. “old ladies”.

Jacquie Karlenzig
Jacquie Karlenzig
1 month ago
Reply to  PeggySue

My son always calls me “boomer” I’m an Elder Millennial on the cusp of Gen X. I wanted to purchase another home for us before I sold our existing one and to free up cash for a down payment I sold some bags. I’m quite happy with my “old lady bags” as well as my side part and skinny jeans that are apparently also out of style and old according to the young ones.

Emily
Emily
1 month ago
Reply to  PeggySue

Well I assume the term may have been used to portrait a scenario in which Hermes is labeled ”unattractive” by younger consumers. The older generation can just keep up the sales for so long, and if Hermes does not find a way to win the kids over the popularity will steadily go down, causing sales to drop drastically, this also the prices. No need to get offended.

PeggySue
PeggySue
1 month ago
Reply to  Emily

You’re presumptuous to think you know how I’m feeling. Don’t assume anything.

Jerri R
Jerri R
1 month ago

I think people are missing the tongue-in-cheek-ness of this article…

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