No bag has held as firm or as long a grasp on “It” status as the Hermès Birkin, thanks to rumors of a decade-long waitlist and a line of celebrity fans, like Kim Kardashian — who has upwards of 20 of the boxy, structured totes, including one that daughter North West painted on — and “Real Housewives” like Kyle Richards.
But over the years, the style set has grown sour on the once-coveted item.
These days, anyone who has five figures to spare can score a Birkin at resale sites like The RealReal. The once-impossible-to-buy find is even available at Hermès’ own stores if you know how to ask — circumventing the so-called “waitlist.”
Although the Birkin was officially born in 1984, stories of the waitlist didn’t begin popping up until the ’90s, and demand went into overdrive after it was prominently featured on a 2001 episode of “Sex and the City.” The supposed waitlist reached a fever pitch in 2006, with news outlets reporting it had reached 10 years.“The waitlist is a total myth,” scoffs Michael Tonello, author of “Bringing Home the Birkin,” which detailed his experience procuring Birkins to resell at a markup between 30 and 50 percent.
The secret, he says, is buying a lot of other merchandise first, then asking for the bag as a reward of sorts. It’s this strategy, he said, that allowed him to purchase millions of dollars of Birkins over the years to resell.
Meanwhile, although the bag is still selling, the fashion elites are snubbing it.
Meanwhile, although the bag is still selling, the fashion elites are snubbing it in favor of more limited-edition designer offerings — like Chanel’s $8.000 “2.55” flap bag.
“Before, people would only see a Birkin in a magazine, or a global celebrity like Sharon Stone carrying one,” says Tonello. “Now every woman in New Jersey is carrying a Birkin.”