As an average working women supporting a family amidst an unrelenting pandemic, the last thing I am concerned about is a Hermès Birkin bag. Keeping my sanity under strict social distancing guidelines, while trying to keep food on the table have me pretty preoccupied. And frankly, this conversation is is out of my pay grade. However, as a Black woman who appreciates nice things, I scoff at the recent backlash Black celebrity women like Cardi B and The City Girl’s have faced over their decision to proudly rock their Birkins. Nary a conversation existed when white women like Kim Kardashian, Bethanny Frankel or Lady Gaga showed off their Birkin collections? Yet here we are again, criticizing Black women who can obviously afford the expensive and in-demand bag.
In a now viral social media post reposted on Instastories by Cardi B, user Celestial Thug apologizes if he or she comes across as “anti-Black” but asserts “Birkins have literally lost their value.” Then adds, The City Girls and Cardi have got y’all convinced that these Birkin bags are easy to get.”
The conversation arose after an abundance of Black celebrity women have rightfully boasted about their Birkins, leading to critics questioning their authenticity.
The Hermès Birkin bag came to fruition in the 80s after then Executive Chairman, Jean-Louis Dumas, was inspired by British actress Jane Birkin to make a bag big enough and luxurious enough to accommodate a young working mother, who of course travels a lot. (She complained to Dumas during a flight from London to Paris). And since there are limited quantities of the animal skin bag and a long-waiting list to acquire one, the Birkin bag has become the ultimate status symbol and a coveted item in celebrity closets.
Insert Celestial Thug, who references the infamous Birkin waiting-list, which is a known secret in the fashion industry. Basically, if you don’t have connections or superstar fame, you might score one at a luxury auction.
“Birkins are the most sought after bag in the world and have been for a long time,” Matthew Rubinger, director of luxury accessories at the Dallas-based Heritage Auctions told Forbes.
“These bags are supposed to be exclusive and you’re supposed to be big in the fashion world and have relationships with these people to get one,” user Celestial Thug continued in the controversial post.
Fair points. However, last time we checked, Cardi B is a fashion icon in the making. Her Balenciaga billboard debuted on the side of the Louvre museum in Paris earlier this year. She also released a collection with Reebok this month. She is a NYFW front row fixture and reigning Met Gala best-dressed celebrity. She’s covered Vogue. And her countless work with FashionNova. (That’s just to name a few). Yet, she isn’t worthy enough to buy a Birkin?
“A little rap duo from Miami who can’t even land a Vogue cover or a #1 do not have authentic Birkin bags I’m sorry,” the post concluded.
The City Girls have long rapped about Birkin bags as a prized possession. “Real a** bitch, give a fuck ’bout a nigga / Big Birkin bag, hold five, six figures,” begins their popular song Act Up. But this isn’t a conversation about who they are and if they’ve garnered enough fame to own the bag, it’s about archaic fashion rules that have always excluded Black women as deserving of luxury lifestyles as if we too don’t work hard to earn the items white women easily inherit.
Cardi B’s husband Offset faced backlash when he purchased their daughter Kulture a Birkin bag for her second birthday. Whereas Kylie Jenner was praised for gifting her baby girl Stormi with a similar gift. The constant undertone that a Birkin bag is acceptable for one race and not the other is where we must draw a line. Especially denoting if a Black woman has one that it must be fake. Whether it’s Cardi B, whose outspoken and blunt personality ruffles the feathers of her haters, or The City Girls, who might not be in the old fashion gatekeeper’s definition of polished, Black women deserve to bask in luxury without having a discussion or our accolades to deserve such an item. Or the notion if we have said item, that it couldn’t be real.
Boy, have a seat.
Why Is It So Unfathomable Cardi B And The City Girls Have Birkin Bags? was originally published on hellobeautiful.com