We all have something we care about and feel passionate about. It could be a specific movie star, athlete, sports team, or maybe even a content creator on social media. Being a fan, one would often be impressed to purchase merchandise and memorabilia in order to represent that part of you and to have it as a keepsake. The movies, sports, teams, and personalities that fans purchase merchandise of or from enjoy the economic benefit as well, and definitely wouldn’t discourage fans from doing so either.
In the most basic of senses, owning merchandise is fun. It’s claiming membership to being part of a community. You walk past someone or go to a gathering and see someone wearing the same merchandise (merch) and you instantly have something in common, and there’ll always be something that you or anyone you conversing with can use as an icebreaker.
Merchandise and high fashion names have a lot in common. They all involve branding and telling a story or message that people can identify with and want to represent by purchasing. Although the quality of the product can differ.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to purchase merchandise and associating a brand with yourself. Each one has their personal style, that reflects their inner being to the outside. It’s a form of expression and being connected to something you are passionate about. Sadly, just like fashion brands, this too has a dark side that many might be more comfortable leaving undiscussed.
It’s a very difficult line to toe because it is very easy to fall into the quicksand of superfan-dom, where the creator, brand or even icon being idolised that the fan is passionate about becomes more than an aspect of a person’s character, and turns into the sole thing that defines that individual’s identity.
There’s also the complication of brands that aren’t traditionally high-fashion or part of the industry, producing merch that is sub-standard in quality, arguably ‘ripping-off’ fans who purchase overvalued items that don’t last long, simply because of the name logo slapped on it. Think about what the brand Supreme is doing. Because of the limited nature and the value people have placed on the logo, outrageous amounts of effort and money are expended by scalpers and buyers. Some merchandisers are no different, using the ‘limited edition’ tag as an excuse.
Thankfully, the situation is changing, and it’s a lot to do with fans maturing and becoming wiser. Competition has also played a part. More than ever, reputed fashion brands are collaborating with such icons, creating premium products and merchandise for fans regularly, and as a result, others have had to increase in terms of quality.
If you are interested in collecting merch, we are excited to see the way you incorporate them into your style and outfits and hope that your choices can bring the best out of you.
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage