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@Celebrities, Please Stop With the “Merch”

Cover Photo by Fallon Michael via Unsplash

If I see one more celebrity hawking their “merch” on social media, I might just lose it. How many times have you opened Instagram for a relaxing afternoon scroll and instead been bombarded by sweatshirts embroidered with some random star’s name? In my experience, it’s happened too many times to count. 

The trend is spreading like wildfire among Tik Tok and YouTube stars galore. Big names like Charli D’Amelio, James Charles, and Emma Chamberlain have all dropped their own apparel collections. Even the so-called “Hype House,” an ever-changing reel of young content creators based in Los Angeles, offers its own clothing line. Want an attention-grabbing tie dye hoodie? Be prepared to drop $64.95.

My most prominent frustration with celebrity merch arises out of a central question — where in the world is this money going? It feels senseless to drop all this cash just to support famous people who already have more than enough savings of their own. Oftentimes, this merchandise is priced at what I would consider to be exorbitant and unwarranted rates, and for what reason? The quality of the overwhelming majority of these products probably won’t knock your socks off. Additionally, it’s not as if most of these options are Fair Trade or otherwise ethically made. 

Of course, exceptions come into play. Celebrities also use their platforms to offer merch that supports social and environmental causes. Occasions like these are perhaps the only times when I might consider caving to purchase an item promoted by one of my favorite stars — occasions where I have a solid reason to believe that my money will expand beyond the pockets of the 1%. Harry Styles, for example, started a T-shirt campaign back in April, with profits donated to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. 

I feel as though I must also mention that my contempt for celebrity merch does not encompass concert merchandise. I see this as an entirely different category — consumers purchase tour T-shirts or other mementos to commemorate an event and a feeling that they love. I see no problem here. In my view, there is a striking emotional distinction between rifling through your drawers and seeing a shirt from the night you saw your favorite band versus a shirt that lists some celebrity’s snappy catch phrase. 

How do you feel about celebrity merch? Let us know in the poll below. 

Cover Photo by Fallon Michael via Unsplash

  • Do you support celebrity merch campaigns?

    • I live for celebrity merch
    • No way, I think it’s ridiculous


Written by Megan Pontin

Enthusiastic word-collector, avid pancake-consumer, and experienced hammock-lounger. Student at Cornell University.

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