New York designer Telfar Clemens started his fashion label in 2004 while still attending Pace University for business management. Since then, the Liberian-American creative has become one the industry’s most sought-after talents for unisex designs. Clemens is also a prolific voice on how the roles of gender, race and socioeconomics shape fashion today, which also influence his creations. In 2017, he won the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund and was commissioned by food chain White Castle to design its uniforms. The newly-designed shirts also made their way to retailers and concept boutiques like Opening Ceremony.
Clemens’ solid year came from him confidently stepping into the spotlight with some noteworthy accomplishments. He first made headlines in January for nabbing a partnership with fast-fashion giant Gap, although the collaboration was deemed “indefinitely postponed” late June due to the global company’s falling revenue. Regardless, Telfar close to working with Gap was still a high-profile accomplishment, adding to his reputation as a go-to creative.
In September, Telfar Clemens won the American Accessories Designer of the Year award at CFDA’s 2020 fashion honors. It was a fitting achievement as Telfar continued to release one of the industry’s most coveted “it” bags right now. The Telfar shopping tote regularly sells out within minutes once stocked on the brand’s official webshop. As a solution, the designer came up with the Telfar Bag Security program which allows more customers to pre-order their bag of choice. Pre-ordering on the website is set for a limited-time, giving consumers a chance to place their pre-purchases without having to worry about drops or unfair e-commerce bots.