After a prolonged dark era of irrelevance for most concert attendees, tour merch is currently experiencing a strong comeback in fashionistas’ closets. The renewed relevance of tour merch couldn’t be explained without the successful marketing efforts and placements on social media posts by global music stars, which have boosted sales and tour merch relevancy beyond the concert frontiers. Urban Outfitters just dropped Justin Bieber’s Purpose Tour men’s collection in stores at prices ranging from 35€ to 89€, probably aiming to leverage Bieber’s broad fan base of 77.4 million Instagram followers to their own benefit. Further collaborations of this kind between retailers and singers are likely to follow soon.
What does the tour merch have in common with all these artists? Well, they all share a clear inspiration on former designs of grunge, punk and trash metal bands such as Metallica and Nirvana. Besides, the bold statements printed on apparel and accessories do use very similar fonts. A quick look at tour collections by Rihanna, Kanye West, Drake or Beyoncé is enough to confirm the resemblance.
Fashion brands like Vetements and Fear of God are also taking notice of this phenomenon.
Tour merch buyers are usually very keen on sharing their acquisitions on social media channels, too, to enlarge their own number of followers by picking the right hashtags. Another reason that might explain the re-emergence of tour merch is certainly the desire of today’s youth to make themselves identifiable under the umbrella of cultural references. But unlike in the past, these references are not attached to any counterculture movements.