Guess Stops Selling 'Rip Off' Of Black-Owned Telfar Following Backlash

Guess announced it would stop selling their G-logo tote bags following major online criticism and comparison to the Black-owned bag brand Telfar Global. 

The decision of Signal Brands, the licensee of Guess, Inc., comes after side-by-side images of the bags fueled criticism from social media users who accused the brand of stealing from Black brands. 

Telfar Clemens, the 35 year-old designer behind the Telfar Global brand, received critical acclaim from the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Vogue for his affordable luxury product. 

In a statement to Paper, Signal Brands said they “do not wish to create any impediments to Telfar Global’s success.”

"Signal Brands, the handbag licensee of Guess, Inc., has voluntarily halted the sale of its G-logo totes. Some on social media have compared the totes to Telfar Global's shopping bags. Signal Brands does not wish to create any impediments to Telfar Global's success and, as such, has independently decided to stop selling the G-logo totes," the statement says in full.  

Guess’ bag was reportedly being sold for $78 to $95 and came in three colors. The Telfar shopping bag comes in three sizes and an array of colors and retails between $150 and $257, The Cut reported.

Telfar Global’s motto is “Not for you –– for everyone,” and demonstrates the designer’s commitment to accessible luxury, though the bags are hard to snag, typically selling out in minutes. The designer told TIME, “I’m including people in my world rather than trying to cater to everybody.” 

Clemens, a queer Liberian-American designer, launched Telfar in 2014 but started gaining recognition in 2017. Since beginning the brand, the New York-based designer has won awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, GQ, and Cooper Hewitt. 

Solange Knowles wrote a tribute for Clemens who made the TIME 100 Next 2021 list

“Telfar Clemens is the time, the spirit and the conversation. Through his namesake line, he has created a universe of his own that transcends fashion,” the singer wrote

The brand’s innovative “Bag Security Program” is set to begin Tuesday (March 30) for customers who want to support the original. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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