Purpose Tour Merch – What Do You Mean?
Photography by Tom Buck
It’s safe to say that it’s been one of the biggest trends of 2016. With the most notable artists being Kanye and Justin Bieber pioneering merch on a new level, pushing lots of other musicians like Zayn and Rihanna to up their merch game too. The popularity stems from the vintage band tee trend, classic rock tees have always been a staple in some peoples wardrobes. I’ve already lived through one band tee phase when I was a bit younger, with tees from the likes of Motley Crue all the way to Four Year Strong. Merch is nothing new, its’s always been around and it’s always been cool to wear.
However, merch has never been THIS extreme at least not to me anyway. I’m not sure if you saw my Life of Pablo video/giveaway (here) but me and my friends queued up for nearly 2 hours to cop a piece of Yeezy merch. I myself love it, I kind of live for the Hype I guess – or do I? I’m getting mixed feelings lately and I’ll go on to explain why. It’s a little bit of a rant as to why I’m a bit put off by merch as of late.
Rewind to two months ago – I’d been trying to cop some Purpose Tour Merch for a while, since seeing the designs I had a couple of pieces in mind that I wanted to purchase. Merch finally went on sale online and I copped 2 T-shirts for around $80 but they were more of a ‘pre-order’ and when I completed the checkout I learnt that the two tees would ship at the end of August. That was kind of a long time away and In my head I was like ‘oh that’s fine, this is my only chance to get them – I can’t wait to wear them’.
Fast forward to the start of August and Urban Outfitters announced their collab with the Purpose Tour and a fresh set of merch was on offer. I was so excited, I actually got gifted the tee I’m wearing in this post which I was really thankful for. I knew I had my two T-shirts on the way still so I was thinking about those in the back of my head and was glad that none of the T-shirts were exactly the same although everything was quite similar.
I went on vacation and returned back to London and I see an email from Forever 21 announcing that they will also be selling Purpose Tour Merch. To be honest I was a little annoyed, first Urban Outfitters and now Forever 21. All the while my tees still hadn’t arrived but I could basically go and get similar shirts from anywhere now.
I think what’s good about things like the Yeezy merch is that It was a surprise pop up shop and I feel like we wont be seeing any Yeezy x Forever 21 collab any time soon. Not that it shouldn’t be accessible to everyone but when you queue up for something, and pay £50 for a screen printed gildan t-shirt from an artist that you admire. You don’t then want to see it in a high street store the next day.
I think that’s where Purpose Tour Merch has gone wrong for me, as a collector I like to get rare pieces and wait in line for limited edition items (it sounds sad I know but I genuinely enjoy the thrill of it all) – I think it’s great that Justin is tapping into fashion and collaborating with high street stores etc it could mean some great things in the future but as the Purpose Tour Merch becomes more and more readily available it’s making it seem less and less interesting to me.
This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop wearing it, I love the designs, the font, the album and I’m a big fan of JB himself – I’m just disappointed with how many times different versions of the collection has been sold to high street stores but then again am I being really naive here? I mean, what was I expecting? at the end of the day this is one of the most popular commercial artists in the world.
What’re your thoughts on Purpose Tour Merch and how it’s been played out this year? I’d love to discuss it with you in the comments so definitely share your views down below.