What if you could create your own brand of artist merchandise?
Think about this for a moment.
Both music and fashion play a major role in pop culture. How have popular musicians influenced fashion over the years? In past generations. Kurt Cobain started the flannel shirt and ripped jeans “grunge” look. Madonna had trendy teens in the 80’s donning lace and hair ribbons.
Hip hop artists changed the fashion scene forever in the 90’s…but the Notorious B.I.G. started a revolution. Biggie Smalls mixed streetwear brands with high fashion designers, pairing pieces like silk Versace shirts with Timberland boots. The rapper was one of the first to name-check designers on his music.
In recent years?
Kanye West made tour merch all the rage. Justin Bieber quickly followed in Kanye’s steps when he released his “Purpose” tour merch to trendy clothing stores. Rihanna’s Fenty x Puma collaboration has been wildly successful—and put the classic Puma sneakers back on the map.
So where do these trends start?
Let’s dig in:
1. Why Personal Style is Essential for Music Artists
Developing your personal style as a music artist is a must. It’s basically a way to market yourself to record labels. Your goal is to get signed. When you use fashion to create a distinct brand, you’ll stand out to labels that meet dozens of upcoming artists each week.
Style also helps you catch the eyes of music fans. The more you attention you attract from your audience, the more likely they are to check out your music. With the internet, fans can instantly find your music and play it from their phone (or any device).
But here’s something really interesting: your style can also transform your live performances.
You re-invent yourself. You get to write your story. When you step into those clothes, it’s not just about your look. A feeling hits you…and it changes everything. Your attitude. The way you walk. You’re a better version of yourself.
You might be thinking, “I just want to share my music with the world.” After all, you didn’t get into to worry about fashion. Maybe changing your attitude or how you dress doesn’t feel authentic. But it is real. Your authentic self is the person you wish to become. And that person is a music artist, who gets to share their message with their fans and make a career out of what they love to do.
Even Beyonce has an alter ego she uses as her on-stage persona!
2. How Do Music Artists Spread Trends?
There’s no denying that the internet revolutionized the way music is consumed. It also changed how fashion trends evolve. Social media spreads fashion trends fast.
Concert venues used to be the only place where artist merch was bought. Live shows still play a major role in selling merch. Here’s the thing—a concert is a remarkable experience for the fans. Merch can make that experience feel every more special and memorable.
However, merch is no longer exclusive to attending concerts. That all changed in the last couple of years when Kanye made it socially acceptable for artists to wear their own tour merch. Now fans can buy artist merch online, no matter if they went to the show or not.
The reason fans buy artist merch is simple: it’s a form of expression. As an artist, your music offers a message. Wearing your merch is a way for fans to identify with your message. As an artist, you’re a hero to them. Artist merch brings them inspiration.
Start building a connection with your fans and create your own merchandise. It’s simple. Make your products easily available by offering them in person at concerts and globally via an online store.
3. Where New Music Artists Can Start
As an upcoming music artist, how you being to build your own fashion influence?
Incorporate your personal style into your merchandise. Fashion designers can help you translate your creative ideas into wearable styles, even if you have no experience creating apparel.
Find out where your audience is most active online. Which social media platforms are they on? Visual platforms like Instagram are a great place to establish your brand and artist image.
Music videos play an influential role in developing fashion trends too. In fact, Gen Z and Millenials look to their favorite music videos for fashion inspiration. According to Vevo, these groups of fans are more likely to buy from brands that sell what their favorite artist is wearing.
For example: Drake made puffer coats trendier after his infamous “Hotline Bling” video in 2015. Moncler noticed an increase in sales of their Maya jacket (seen above) after the release of the video too.
All it takes is one video to go viral.
Creating your “signature look” as an artist is a way to set yourself apart from the crowd and grow your career in music. You can catch the eye of fans—and record labels—by establishing your own personal style.