Tour merchandise has been a cultural phenomenon for a while now, and its significance has evolved over time. These days, an artist's tour merch has gone from just a way for fans to prove that they attended a concert, to their own independently operated fashion businesses.
Wizkid has no plans of being left out of this movement, as last week he held a pop-up in London, where he sold Starboy Merch.
Artists' merchandise is gradually finding its way into the Nigerian scene, as we have seen previously with Davido and Orange Culture's capsule collection, and also in the way Bearded Genius have placed themselves in the centre of this by creating merchandise for concerts and festivals.
Musicians have long been tastemakers of style and fashion, and it wouldn't come as a shock to see a regular person's style mirroring that of their favourite singer or rapper. The bond between music and fashion is now stronger than ever, and one of the ways artists tap into this is through merchandising.
As we all know, Wizkid made history this weekend, as he sold out the iconic O2 Arena in London. Ahead of this, he had a pop-up store in collaboration with TTYA, which sold merchandise to prepare fans for the concert – including pieces like bomber jackets, bandanas, beenies and more.
When speaking to Konbini about the relevance of Nigerian artists' merchandise, a collaborative designer of Bearded Genius merch, Ameer 47 said:
"My whole idea was to give the youth a different outlook on Nigerian artists and make them look cool.
We all have retro tees from famous brands around the world like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Nirvana etc, and we don't even have our own."
This is true, and we are very glad to be experiencing this paradigm shift. Wizkid is one of the biggest cultural influencers of our time, and it's only right for him to be celebrated in this manner.
Earlier this year, at Skepta's Homecoming experience, we had a limited edition t-shirt collection by Off White, who celebrated the legend Fela. While this was endearing, we already have enough Fela merch, and it would have been a lot better to use someone who is influencing the culture right now.
Instead of relying on outsiders to create cultures for us, we call on more artists and cultural influencers to follow Wizkid's lead and take this more seriously. We hope more artists make merchandise in the future, 'cause we will definitely rock them very proudly!
Check out some of the pieces from Starboy Merch right here: