Don’t Label It An “It” Bag

Taylor Swift’s favorite AUPEN Nirvana bag has no expiry.

As a handbag enthusiast, I’m always on the hunt for classic and vintage treasures on resale platforms. Whenever I visit my favorite city, Tokyo, I make sure to check out Hedy Daikanyama and Amore Vintage, well-curated boutiques with pre-loved designer handbags and jewelry. While they burned a hole in my wallet (something my partner repeatedly chastised me for), I know how lucrative the resale market is. Some handbags, like certain Birkins, have become investment pieces, with rare models fetching over $500,000. Chanel’s Medium Classic bag has nearly doubled in price over the past five years, from $5,800 in 2019 to $10,200 in 2024. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a Matcha Nirvana from emerging label AUPEN on Vestiaire sold at $1,400. Upon further investigation, I discovered that despite AUPEN’s brief existence of just over a year, they’ve already phased out several popular designs; like the original Fearless, favored by Kylie Jenner and Gabrielle Union, which sold out multiple times last year. While I understand some are hesitant despite the hype, this is my honest review of AUPEN bags and their quality.

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AUPEN has been seen on a roster of celebrities like Hailey Bieber, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Lawrence, Emily Blunt, Emma Stone, and Dakota Johnson. What I like is how these stars effortlessly incorporate AUPEN bags into various settings, from casual outings to high-profile events, and afterparties. AUPEN’s understated luxury styles well with fresh and fun maxi dresses, nice top and jeans ensembles, to even black tie and cocktail hour fits. Remarkably, AUPEN maintains affordability and calfskin leather quality, with prices under $300, contrasting sharply with competitors like Jil Sander and Khaite, where calfskin bags start at $2,000. 

So, what’s the magic behind AUPEN?

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Discontinued Fearless on Gabrielle Union and Kylie Jenner

On Taylor Swift and Emily Blunt

On Lucy Hale and Selena Gomez

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Nirvana Noir and Nirvana Snow, $340

On Emily Blunt and Lucy Hale

On Fan Bing Bing and Jennifer Lawrence

Fearless Re-Edition Noir and Fearless Re-Edition Scarlet, $340

On Gabrielle Union and Olivia Rodrigo

Joy Noir and Joy Snow, $240

Despite Purpose being AUPEN’s top-selling bag, I decided to try out Nirvana in Snow, Fearless Re-Edition in Scarlet, and Joy in Noir. As a brand offering accessible prices, Joy stands out as one of the most affordable options at just $240. It is similar to the Prada Arque shoulder bag, but can store even more things and comes with an adjustable crossbody strap. I adore its elegant curves and find it perfect as a day to night bag. While I wish Joy came in more colors like pink or metallic, it remains a versatile addition to my wardrobe alongside Nirvana and Fearless Re-Edition.

Two ways to wear Joy in Noir

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Nirvana Snow and Fearless Re-Edition Scarlet

The Nirvana offers various color options, including staple black and bright orange. Its asymmetrical silhouette with a braid handle is eye-catching, while its spacious interior accommodates daily essentials like phone, cardholder, lipsticks, rollerball perfume, and portable charger. Made from soft and durable calfskin leather, ethically sourced from the Leather Working Group, it’s easy to care for. The Fearless Re-Edition in Scarlet boasts a simpler shape, easily complementing any outfit, though lacking a crossbody strap. Priced at just $340 each, both Nirvana and Fearless Re-Edition offer scratch and dent-resistant leather quality. 

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It’s evident that AUPEN is establishing itself firmly in the market despite being at the start of its journey. For me, their designs are classic staples that would not look outdated a couple of years from now. Hence it presents potential as an unexpected investment piece, especially considering their practice of discontinuing designs and the fact that the brand has never gone on sale. So, if a particular AUPEN bag catches your eye, it’s wise to make your purchase promptly to avoid missing out due to unexpected discontinuations. 

Check out how some influencers are styling AUPEN bags for themselves.

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On stylewithdanya and taylu_me

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On yulia_hayek and nobootybuii

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On saraghazanfareeon and charmainehungsm