Guess thought they would get away with it, and was that a wrong guess? Sorry. Not really. Telfar Clemens created the hottest bag of 2020, which has translated into a permanent fixture on a must-haves list.

The perfect combination of functional and trendy, it ticks all the boxes. Aesthetically, it is pleasing to the eye, it’s big enough to be an everyday bag that can carry all your essentials, but not too big. And last, the signature ‘T’ says to society you are an IT girl or boy because you have THE bag. Branding and logos are known for making people feel like they belong to an exclusive club.

A fitting description considering Telfar stans see the brand that way. Their loyalty and enthusiasm for every release is unmatched, a large part of the reason the brand became a household name in such a temporary space of time, in a pandemic.  

Telfar is a young brand that was started in 2005. This particular bag was introduced in 2014. It is made of vegan leather, so not only do they have black people as a strong support base as customers, but they have been able to attract those who are environmentally conscious as well.

As popular as they are, they are still a growing brand and nowhere near 2.7 billion dollars that Guess is worth. Making Guess’s attempt to steal the Telfar design, right in front of everybody’s eyes, even more disgusting. But it is nothing new. Stealing is rampant and weirdly normalized in the fashion industry. Especially from indie brands, by older white owned legacy designers. Like the Marciano brothers, who own and started Guess, in 1981.

It makes sense that they would want to increase their steadily decreasing sales and popularity, but there had to be another way to do that outside of stealing, surely. This type of short-sightedness is one factor that contributed to their downfall.

On March 27, social media users went after Guess for copying Telfar. They copied everything, the combined long and short shoulder strap, and the putting a G logo in the center. On March 28, they had already taken the bag down and called bag stock from stores that stock their merchandise, such as Macy’s and Bloomingdale. 

Let this be a lesson learned, hopefully even bigger brands that actually are still relevant are watching. Consumer loyalty cannot be bought by ripping off up-and-coming brands that are just making it in the industry. Slowly but surely, big brands learn that there will be consequences, from the same consumers that they are trying to impress and steal. 

How did a company that big and that old not foresee that this would be an issue? That the whole process- from the moment the idea was put out there, the production stage, until the release of the Guess knockoff- nobody said anything or raised a red flag that this would fail, is astounding. To put it politely. 

One can only wish Telfar Clemens was a vindictive man who will sue them into the ground. And increase the financial problems that Guess is already going through. That would be the cherry on top.

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