The great wordsmith Justin Bieber once said, “My mama don’t like you and she likes everyone,” but did he expect virtually everyone and their mama to show up to his VFiles pop-up? Bieber teamed up with the Gen Z-friendly, creative-focused social networking platform to bring his $50 tour T-shirts to the masses, and to no one’s surprise, the line was hundreds deep and blocks long.
The latest sale in a string of pop-ups devoted to male-entertainer tour merch, it had everything you’d expect: screaming girls, resellers, and confused people caught in the crosshairs. After fans shrieked at a false Justin sighting (eventually he did show up), one bewildered pedestrian asked me, “What’s going on, who’s here?” Painfully, I explained: “It’s a Justin Bieber pop-up.”
Those in front had been camped out since the previous evening, but when asked which items in particular they were anxious to get their hands on, I got answers like “Everything.” Clearly many of the assembled didn’t walk in the faith of the Biebs, but when exclusive pop-up merch routinely resells for double the retail price, who could blame them?
Despite the kitschiness usually assigned to quick-money grabs like this, the clothes themselves didn’t fall short on style. Two of the most sought-after and quickly sold-out items — a $350 denim jacket with Purpose Tour on the back and a $120 canary yellow Security hoodie — could easily function as budget-friendly Vetements alternatives. If you weren’t able to grab either item, the store also carries a few VFiles-exclusive hoodies and shirts to make lining up potentially worth your while. After my initial doubts, I can say I’m the proud owner of three Purpose Tour shirts. I don’t know where or if I’ll wear them, but at least they’re cute.
Justin Bieber’s Purpose Tour pop-up shop at VFiles, 12 Mercer St., May 4-5, 12-7pm