Why Fans Should Be Designing Artists’ Merch

If you think about all the artists’ merch that you have seen recently would you say it’s buying worthy merch or do you respond with “I can find something better on Esty?” I think that a good number of people would go with that second option.

Anyone that is familiar with fan culture knows that besides streaming music and going to concerts, merchandising is one significant way that fans show their appreciation and admiration. But unfortunately, many fans feel that there isn’t much thought put into the merchandise pieces. Many items merely say the artist’s name with album cover art. Now as much as we love showing off these amazing albums I know that personally that it feels like that portion of fan culture just isn’t taken seriously. Artists like Taylor Swift and Harry Styles are a few that have fallen into the category of unfavorable merch.

However, with a quick search of any fandom or specific on sites like Redbubble, Esty, and even just TikTok, we can see dozens of fans that started small businesses with everything from jewelry to clothing to posters. All are designed to be trendy and stylish but still represent their favorite artists. These fan-run businesses are nothing short of a stroke of genius but yet are not used to their fullest potential.

Don’t you think that if artists began working with these businesses for designs or merchandise ideas that there would be so much more fan satisfaction? And isn’t that a main goal?

This isn’t the first instance where ideas created by fans have gone unnoticed. So we ask the question of when. When will artists and their teams work with fans rather than look over their ideas? We have no answer as to when but until then continue to support small fan-run businesses because fans need to support fans, if not who would.

Private Paradise Co. is a fan-run business that specializes in K-pop merchandise. They have done extremely well because of the simplicity of their items, one customer bought a crewneck for her friend saying that she “appreciated the design’s subtleness and trendiness”. Another fairly popular site is Mustard Yard Press, they have a wider variety of merch from Harry Styles, Lana Del Ray, and other artists to movies such as Twilight.

With that don’t be shy to look up your favorite artists’ names on Esty or just use #fanmerch on TikTok. With that quick search, I came across so many fan-run businesses with everything from Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, BTS, and Shawn Mendes. You can even find merch for about your favorite shows, movies, and books. Really anything surrounding entertainment there is probably subtle, affordable, and trendy merch for it.


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