Telfar: Telfar Clemens and Babak Radboy

As he started to gain a name as a New York fashion designer in the 2010s, Telfar Clemens often joked that he was “constantly emerging.” At least, that’s how the establishment fashion press saw him: a child of Liberian immigrants, building a small but devoted following with his deconstructed T-shirts and sandals made from hollowed-out Converse. But after Telfar partnered with Babak Radboy as his creative director in 2013, the brand began to reach a wider audience. There were splashy partnerships with K-Mart and White Castle; and in 2018, the wide release of the Telfar Bag, a vegan-leather shopping bag that became the “it”-accessory for everyone from A-list celebrities to the neighbors next door. Today, Telfar and Babak say they’ve succeeded by designing exactly what they want—and sidestepping a fashion system that was not always welcoming. See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at