Cardi B addresses the idea that her Birkin bag collection is ‘devaluing’ the brand
Hermes Birkin bags have been a major status symbol for as long as I’ve been paying attention to purses, which is 20-plus years. The Birkin bag was made by Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas in the 1980s for Jane Birkin’s needs. The original Birkin was one size and I think just a handful of colors, but the Birkin bag grew in such popularity so quickly that it was deemed a necessity for all women of any kind of means, and Hermes slowly added more colors and leather types and sizes. Twenty years ago, the wait list for the Birkin was long and women could end up waiting for years. But I think Birkins are more widely available now, especially on the secondary market. As such, the elite status symbol has become more common with ALL kinds of celebrities – Real Housewives, Kardashians, and hip-hop empresses. Cardi B obviously has an extensive Birkin collection, as does Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian and tons of other women. The Birkin is still a status symbol, but it has become more of a “new money” status symbol and that’s fine too. There’s nothing wrong with new money.
But Cardi B has heard some of the criticisms. There were apparently some tweets and conversations about how rap stars were devaluing Birkins, or that women like Cardi are rocking fake Birkins. So, Cardi had some sh-t to say.
“I’ve been seeing this tweet right. It had me and it had other female rappers on it. They were talking about if we could get Birkins from the Hermés store and they [were] also saying how we depreciate the value of a Hermés Birkin bag. I find that really interesting because, first thing first, I definitely could get a bag. Actually, I got four bags today from the Hermés store,” the “WAP” rapper, 28, said in the video shared on Instagram. Cardi went on to say that people shouldn’t be questioning if Black women “could get a bag from the Hermés store” because “y’all don’t do this to these white celebrities.”
“So why is it that y’all gotta be asking us? What the f—? It just makes you want to brag like, ‘Bitch do you know who the f— you’re talking to?’ But no, I’m not even going to take it there,” she said.
When addressing the comment about Black rappers making the Birkin bag less elusive than it once was, Cardi said she has actually helped do the opposite. “Another thing is that they’re saying we’re depreciating the value,” she said. “Actually, we add value because when we mention brands in hip-hop, s— go up.” She referenced her hit single “Bodak Yellow,” which referenced designer Christian Louboutin. “When ‘Bodak Yellow’ came out you could actually Google that their sales went up 1000 %.” Similarly, the star’s famous lyric, “I like those Balenciagas / The ones that look like socks” from her song “I Like It Like That” contributed to a spike in Balenciaga sales. “That s— went up too and that’s why they worked with me this year. Like hip-hop, we start trends,” Cardi said. “When y’all say that we devalue s—, no we actually add value.”
Cardi also slammed people who question whether a designer handbag is real or fake when they see a Black or Hispanic woman carrying it. “And another thing is, why when a Black girl, why when a Hispanic girl [has] a bag you have to question it? ‘Oh is it fake?’ or ‘She’s a scammer’ or ‘She’s f—ing a n—— for it,’” the star said. “There’s a lot of boss-ass bitches out here. There’s bitches that’s getting money out here.”
But most importantly, Cardi wanted her fans to know that if they can’t afford a designer purse, they shouldn’t feel pressure from the world to go out and buy one. “Let me tell you something: if you’re a regular girl you don’t gotta break your neck to have a Birkin. A Birkin don’t make you…” Whether dressed head-to-toe in a designer label or not, Cardi said you can still be “swaggy as f—.” She added: “They makes that fashion with the Zara and the H&M amazingly. So don’t ever feel like you gotta compare yourself. Don’t compare yourself to nobody [on] the internet. This internet s— is fake… You still a bad f—ing bitch. Period.”
I love what Cardi says here. And no, Cardi isn’t devaluing the Birkin, she’s actually promoting the bag to a new generation of consumers. The only think I’d like to add is that I genuinely believe that Hermes has been quietly making more and more Birkins every year, because truly, I remember those wait-lists and I remember how rich bitches could never get their hands on Birkins, and now Cardi can just pop into the Hermes shop and pick up four of them? Quietly flooding the market is what’s devaluing Birkins, if they are in fact being devalued.