ALL ABOUT THE MERCH

Don­ald Trump, Kanye West and Karl Lager­feld are the un­likely lead­ers in fash­ion’s most play­ful new trend. By GRACE O’NEILL

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents -

Slo­ga­neer­ing fash­ion says it loud.

QUES­TION: WHAT DOES IT TAKE to get cyn­i­cal mil­len­ni­als — who shop al­most ex­clu­sively on­line — lin­ing up for hours at an ac­tual IRL (in real life, for the lay­men), bricks-and-mor­tar store? If you were any­where near Bondi’s Camp­bell Pa­rade or Fitzroy’s Brunswick Street on the week­end of Au­gust 20, when hun­dreds of avid Kanye West fans lined up for hours to get their hands on a piece of his Life of Pablo mer­chan­dise, you’d know the an­swer. A LIT­TLE CON­TEXT: 24 hours be­fore­hand, west an­nounced on his web­site that 21 cities around the world would house pop-up stores, open for one week­end only, sell­ing of­fi­cial mer­chan­dise from the new al­bum.the of­fer­ing? A range of logo tees, crew­necks and satin bomber jack­ets em­bla­zoned with lyrics such as “I love you like Kanye loves Kanye” and “Woke up and felt the vibe”. Prices ranged from $50 for a black “SYD­NEY” cap to $400 for a mil­i­tary-style jacket — though many paid far more than that on ebay and on the street out­side the pop-ups, where en­tre­pre­neur­ial types sold their lim­it­ededi­tion spoils for hiked-up prices. So why the frenzy? I’m sure the fact that West’s wife, Kim Kar­dashian West, or sis­ters-in-law Ken­dall and Kylie Jen­ner are of­ten spot­ted in the de­signs helped, but it’s also em­blem­atic of a broader shift in the fash­ion land­scape.the Pablo pop-up may have been the most publicised ex­am­ple of the trend, but West is far from the only mu­si­cian rid­ing the de­signer-mer­chan­dise train right now. Drake’s Sum­mer Six­teen pop-ups in New York and Los An­ge­les saw sim­i­lar sell-out suc­cess, Bey­oncé’s sem­i­nal al­bum Lemon­ade came with a shop­pable range of tote bags, phone cases and body­suits, and fash­ion It girl Chiara Fer­ragni ded­i­cated an en­tire post on her wildly pop­u­lar blog, The Blonde Salad, to a hoodie from Justin Bieber’s Pur­pose tour, which she paired with Dior and Ba­len­ci­aga (nat­u­rally). Fash­ion, it seems, is in the throes of an all-out mer­chan­dise ob­ses­sion. And it’s far from lim­ited to the realm of pop mu­sic. A week be­fore West’s pop-up stores opened, The Busi­ness of Fash­ion ran an ar­ti­cle about the in­creas­ing role of mer­chan­dise in the 2016 US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton tapped a hand­ful of Amer­i­can fash­ion heavy­weights — Marc Ja­cobs, Diane von Fursten­berg and Joseph Al­tuzarra in­cluded — to de­sign her ‘Made for His­tory’ cam­paign T-shirt range, while Don­ald Trump’s no­to­ri­ous (and widely par­o­died) “MAKE AMER­ICA GREAT AGAIN” hats need no in­tro­duc­tion. Through­out the tu­mul­tuous cam­paign trail, mer­chan­dise has not only proved a pow­er­ful mar­ket­ing tool, but a sig­nif­i­cant rev­enue raiser, too; trump has fun­nelled more than $2.6 mil­lion into the pro­duc­tion of his trucker caps, gen­er­at­ing a re­ported $1.7 mil­lion for his cam­paign in the process. On the run­way, cul­tish street la­bels such as Vete­ments and Off-white have led the charge (think the for­mer’s Justin 4ever hood­ies and DHL tees), but the es­tab­lished pow­er­houses are fol­low­ing close be­hind. Re­sort sea­son saw a love af­fair with the logo tee, be it at MSGM, Miu Miu or, more obviously, the noughties-style it­er­a­tions at Gucci and Chanel’s cruise show — des­tined to be­come street-style sta­ples in sea­sons to come. Then there was Marc Ja­cobs’s Mtv-in­spired col­lec­tion, MTV x Marc Ja­cobs, which de­buted in time for the VMAS and of­fi­cially launches this month. A mix of totes, hood­ies and tees em­broi­dered with the iconic MTV logo, the col­lec­tion also boasts size­able price tags: a sweat­shirt goes for about $1820.

In terms of the trend’s wear­a­bil­ity fac­tor? We say keep it sim­ple: a Chanel “VIVA COCO LI­BRE” tee with high-waisted jeans, or a “PABLO PABLO PABLO PABLO” denim jacket worn with leather trousers, à la Ken­dall Jen­ner. Or you could throw cau­tion to the wind and go full Ri­hanna with a tie-dyed Nine Inch Nails band tee worn with Dior speed-dealer shades, a stole and per­son­alised Manolo Blah­niks.the idea is to have fun, after all.

“Kanye fans lined up for hours to get their hands on a piece of Life of Pablo mer­chan­dise.”

Miu Miu re­sort 2017 tees. Kanye West’s Pablo pop-up store in Syd­ney and (right) New York.

Ri­hanna rock­ing a Nine Inch Nails tee. Ali­cia Keys and Tracee El­lis Ross, in an MTV x Marc Ja­cobs tee, at the VMAS in New York.

Kanye West. Ken­dall Jen­ner in a “PABLO PABLO PABLO PABLO” jacket.

Veronika Heil­brun­ner and Justin O’shea, in a “JUSTIN4EVER” hoodie, dur­ing Paris fash­ion week.

Don­ald Trump in his slo­gan cap.

RE­SORT 2017 LOOKS From left: Givenchy by Ric­cardo Tisci; Gucci; Chanel; Louis Vuit­ton.

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