Musicians sell clothes to interact with fans

Music and fashion have gone hand in hand for decades. Since the 50s and 60s, dating back to the rise of Elvis and the Beatles, popular musical trends have influenced the way people dress, from mods and hippies to the punk and glam styles of the 70s, and beyond- of the. Today’s fashion-conscious shoppers have more outlets than ever to choose from, but one method of shopping has exploded in popularity over the past decade: thrift stores. And your favorite musicians join you by selling items from their closets.

Saving is nothing new, of course. Second-hand shopping has long been a way for buyers to save money, express their individuality and, more recently, reduce their carbon footprint. As buying and selling through used / vintage / consignment apps (Depop, Poshmark, Tradesy, Mercaci, ThredUp) gained in popularity, musicians in addition to traditional merchandising began to sell clothing that ‘they wore on tour or for photoshoots, or had just taken up space in their home.

“What drove me to create a Depop store was to be a musician on tour”, explains Brooke Dickson Regrets. “Between tours I need to have some sort of income. It’s a bit difficult to have a job that you can keep and that is totally acceptable for you to have your own schedule.

“I also have so many different costume clothes that I used for performances and photoshoots,” adds Dickson. “[Selling] does multiple things at once, where I get rid of old stuff that I don’t need to keep anymore, and then instead of just giving it away, I think I might as well sell some of the good stuff as people like me who would be on Depop also would be looking.


Meanwhile, singer-songwriter Wafia Al-Rikabi, who also sells on Depop, grew up traveling from country to country with his family. “We always had to pack our bags and go, so I [only] have things that I could put in a suitcase, ”she describes. “I’ve always been a person who doesn’t own a lot because of my parents’ lifestyle. Now, as a performer, Wafia has a surplus of plays sent in by brands, and over the past few years her visibility has increased following her successful cover of Mario’s “Let Me Love You”. Depop, which primarily attracts young sellers looking for 2000 era clothing, personally contacted Wafia. “They held out their hand to me and I have so many things that I have only worn once. Even putting them on Depop, I tried to be really considerate so as not to mark up the prices. If you want it, you can have it.

For Speedy Ortiz singer / guitarist Sadie Dupuis, who also plays the role of Sad13 and conducts a small Depop store, donating and dropping off clothes is something she has been doing since she was a child. “I grew up with my mom who frequented consignment stores and thrift stores,” she says. “I had Depop when I first moved to Philly in early 2016, and I had a feeling I was going to have a lot less storage space. I thought, ‘Maybe that there is someone who wants to wear the dress that I was wearing to play with Junglepussy or something like that. ‘ I would try to put a nice note and some stickers or something, almost to make it a merchandising item.

While some artists consider selling their clothes as a passive sideline, a pragmatic way to free up space in their homes, others, like Nashville-based artist Stef Colvin, are much more engaged in the process, even earning a constant income through savings. . by Colvin store currently has 37,000 subscribers; this is where she sells a wide array of ’90s and 2000s pieces to her Gen Z audience, who Colvin says are most interested in following multidisciplinary creators who create content that is both ambitious and relevant. . “I think [music and fashion] living together very cohesively, ”says Colvin. “[Gen Z] is very attached to the aesthetic, they like to have things that no one else has, some of them are environmentally conscious. That’s why they save. Fashion is also a big part of my music branding, and I think Gen Z kind of looks for that in artists. “

Individual artists’ reasons for selling can vary, but one thing everyone seems to have in common is the destination: Depop. Unlike consignment apps like Poshmark, which is probably Depop’s number one competitor, Depop, which was founded in 2011 and is based in London, focuses more on selling unique vintage pieces and tends to attract a younger crowd. , more creative class of buyers.

When Dickson opened her store, she figured that more of her band’s fans would already be Depop customers. “It looks like more young, hip, alternative, whatever you want to call it, people closer to my age and fans of the band, would be on Depop vs. Poshmark,” she said. “When I watch Poshmark I tend to see more, I don’t know, Madewell, J.Crew, stuff like that. I still wear this stuff too, but it leads me to believe it’s a little older, a little more designer clothes. My older sister, for example, does her shopping more on Poshmark.

In addition to generational consumption patterns, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is also playing a role in how performers sell clothing and other merchandise to their fans. As a story from Spotify For Artists points out, last year’s touring hiatus meant artists had to find other ways to engage with their fans, and fans were hungry for ways to support their favorite artists. . As a result, there has been a marked increase in sales of artist merchandise. While second-hand selling isn’t quite the same as selling traditional bands, performing artists offering items from their own closets is just another way for fans to foster a parasocial bond.

“I’ve bought more merchandise from artists that I love in the past two years than before,” says Dickson. “We all want to feel connected to the creatives or to the people we follow online. I think we all want to feel like we know them.

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Going one step further, Colvin is convinced that many artists might want to lean more into the commodity space. “Honestly, I don’t think enough artists are taking advantage of the merch-clothing element,” she says. “If you already have a fan base that wants to buy from you, why don’t you ditch more consistent, better quality products? I think there aren’t enough people dressing properly, and they’re missing a lot of money that they could make.

However, despite all of his success selling on Depop, Dupuis worries about the environmental implications when artists feel external pressure to capitalize on their products. “It really scares me that bands now have to make money getting into the clothing industry, which is so messed up for the planet and bands should have, you know, six different t-shirts, like t-shirts. -cotton shirts. drawings per year, ”she admits. “I have complicated feelings about it as a sustainable way for music artists to make a living. There are so many unseen things going into the making of these products as we go through an unprecedented climate crisis. “

That’s not to say that Dupuis isn’t just for second-hand sales, which is much more environmentally conscious. Likewise, Speedy Ortiz has switched to printing on durable materials and selling in smaller quantities. But, she stresses, artists shouldn’t have to feel pressured to depend on merchandise sales and “run second-hand shops” just to survive. “I feel like things produced in limited quantities with second-hand or found materials are a way of earning an income for artists,” she continues. “But I also wish that digital music could be priced more fairly so that we don’t have to think about it all over the place. “

Some of the artists covered here are artists from Warner Music. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

Elizabeth J. Harless