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Backstage at Telfar AW20Photography Christina Fragkou

Did bots really buy out all the new Telfar bags?

Yesterday’s drop caused some drama – but it’s not quite as simple as it seems

The struggle to get a Telfar bag is real – so real there’s an entire genre of memes about it. The NY label’s democratically-priced It bags – which are essentially vehicles for the celebration of visible, radical, political Blackness, in the form of cute, colourful, genderless mini totes – are so in-demand that every drop leaves some fans disappointed. 

Yesterday’s drop, though, was a little different – the bags sold out in seconds, and it seemed that it wasn’t just Telfar lovers that were to blame. Another crowd had arrived to crash the party: the resellers. Boasting about buying up stock and listing it for massively inflated prices on websites like Grailed shortly afterwards, some flippers called Hypernova Group claimed to have bought at least 60 per cent of the drop’s product. The fallout was immediate: people were MAD, with ‘Telfar’ quickly trending on Twitter and many pointing out the sad discrepancies between cishet sneaker bros trying to buy bags from a Black-owned queer brand to sell for profit and individual fans trying to get a piece of a brand that represents them.

“Telfar is for the people, not bots,” the brand posted on its story. “Store on ice while we root them out.” 

“We improved security right before this drop,” Telfar told us last night, explaining that they were trying to understand the extent of the problem. “What the bots are doing goes against what we are about – we are not trying to create fake scarcity – we just have crazy demand.”

But while bots were definitely part of what happened, after investigating, a rep says that they aren’t the whole story: demand was so high the site crashed – and with or without resellers (which they stress is against the brand’s ethos), the inventory would have sold out within seconds. 

As for the resellers, how do they feel about being the most hated people on the fashion internet? “Don't care too much,” was the reply from Hypernova Group’s Twitter. “There are many worse and illegal ways to make money. We're all good people who didn't create this market. We just saw the opportunity.”

Whether their investment will pay off is another question: Telfar fans have pledged to buy direct, eliminating the “greedy” resale market.