I remember the first bit of celebrity merchandise I ever sharpened my elbows for. The year was 2002, the concert was Christina Aguilera’s and the item? A pair of hot-pink pants with the word ‘Stripped’ emblazoned across the backside.
It may not have been exactly what my mum wanted her barely teenage daughter to wear but oh, how we flocked. That frenzy isn’t something I, or any of us, thought we would experience, post-fandom. After all, how many twenty-somethings want their teenage idol splashed across their chest? According to the past couple of years, it turns out… pretty much all of us.
From Kanye West’s Pablo to Justin Bieber’s Purpose merch – currently stocked everywhere from Selfridges to ASOS – via Zayn Malik, Drake, Selena Gomez and the recent launch of Beyonce’s holiday merchandise, pop culture, its many trending references, and fashion have this year become inextricably entwined.
Of course, music and fashion have long been linked, with musicians often acting as muses to designers and vice versa. In the last few years alone, we’ve seen Rihanna collaborate with Puma and Dior, Nicki Minaj as the face of Roberto Cavalli and Pusha T for adidas – and that’s just brushing the surface.
With celebrities dictating trends, and brands capitalising massively by association, it makes sense that artists want to feel the benefits themselves. You need only look at Rihanna, who – having teamed up with numerous high-street retailers in the past – has now evolved to use her marketability to design her own beauty, fashion and accessory lines.
Arguably the masters of personal branding, the Kardashian-Jenners understand that consumers want to be part of their world; much of their success stems, in large part, from this marketing savvy. Kylie Jenner, the youngest of the klan, has just launched her pop-up shop, stocking Kylie Jenner merchandise including T-shirts and underwear bearing her name and face. There is also a calendar, shot in collaboration with Terry Richardson: a fresh dose of Kylizzle each month.
Have you bought into the celebrity merchandise hype? Let me know in the comments below…