Telfar is a brand that has been around for 15 years but recently gained notoriety from people all over the world. In January of 1985, Telfar Clemmons was born in Queens, New York. Initially from Liberia, his family relocated to New York while his father completed his Master’s degree at Pace University. While in school, Telfar’s teacher would use monograms made out of a student’s initials, and his monogram would later become his now renounced logo for the brand. After high school, Clemmons enrolled at Pace University to major in Accounting, but he wasn’t interested in the major as he would spend his nights at clubs and working on his future clothing line.
Telfar got his big break in 2004 when he started making oversized T-shirts, which sold at the major clothing brand establishments in SoHo stores. Later that following year he officially launched his label Telfar. Although he created the brand in 2005, it wouldn’t gain popularity until later. During the significant recession period of 2007, Telfar struggled to make ends meet with his new creation. In 2009, he decided to take a break from the fashion industry and focus more on his love for art. In 2011, Clemmons returned to the fashion scene and used his passion for art and fashion to create his SS 2011-FORmale collection, which is an art exhibit of mannequins positioned meticulously displaying his pieces.
In 2013 Telfar’s longtime friend Babak Radboy joined the brand as a creative director and business partner. Radboy’s genius marketing secured Telfar a sponsorship with K-Mart for the brand to be more widely accepted by the public. The strategic move to collaborate with an everyday retail store such as K-Mart grew his creation.
In 2017, Telfar received a significant fashion award as he received the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Award, accompanied by $400,000 to give back to his brand. Telfar spent almost all of the monetary prize on shopping bags, which was the most strategic move for his company. Just as the bag was gaining popularity, he saw a return on the investment of his winning product as he started to produce the bag in more colors, sizes, etc. Demands for the Telfar bag eventually grew as more people were beginning to purchase the affordable product.
Countless celebrities have been seen wearing the bag, including Beyonce, Asap Ferg, Oprah, and many more. With the famous Telfar bag being held in such high demand and priced at an affordable cost, Clemmons has found his niche and will likely always be notable in the fashion industry.