Is there anything cooler than tour merchandise? It can be either profoundly nostalgic or exactingly current—no matter your choice in music. Wearing your favorite artist’s merch not only tells the world what you’re into, but also implies that you have a definitive position on something. In 2016, tour merch means more than just a T-shirt or sweatband—it can range the full fashion spectrum—and artists like Justin Bieber are leading the movement in that department. To reiterate: yes, Justin Bieber is now a style icon, and you’ll be noticing his influence on the streets a lot more this season.
You’ve probably noticed Bieber’s look has evolved over the years, and we’re not just talking about his tattoos. He’s fully embraced Los Angeles streetwear style, flagrantly rocking muscle tees, layers of oversized flannel, and distressed denim at his recent shows. That’s thanks, in part, to his friendship with Jerry Lorenzo, the designer behind L.A. cult label Fear of God. After creating custom pieces for Bieber, Lorenzo was commissioned to help design the merchandise for the artist’s 114-city Purpose tour. The gear drew block-wrapping crowds and sold out at blink-and-you’ll-miss-them pop-up shops. Bieber’s look had officially captured the attention of the international cool crowd.
“A lot of pop stars today are more than just musicians—they’re creative directors,” says Barneys Senior Buyer Drew Caldwell, who oversaw the exclusive 30-piece Purpose Tour XO Barneys New York wardrobe collection for Barneys, which was designed jointly by both Bieber and Lorenzo. “It makes sense that they might have an aesthetic opinion, and we’ve always respected creative processes of any kind here.” Thirty pieces may seem like a lot of pieces for a music tour, but musicians (the good ones, at least) are making their personal style increasingly available to the public through fashion. Caldwell sees both Justin Bieber and Jerry Lorenzo’s expansion on tour merchandise—which includes previously unavailable Italian leather bikers, American-made hoodies and T-shirts, and printed denim jackets—as an extension of the Barneys legacy of championing emerging design talent. “I think it feels of the moment,” he says adamantly. “To ignore something of the moment—and Justin Bieber is definitely having more than a moment—would be against the Barneys heritage. We’ve always had our finger on the pulse.”
It’s hard to argue with the appeal of a triple-platinum recording. But according to Caldwell, Bieber and Fear of God’s exclusive collections, which together make up Purpose Tour XO Barneys New York, tap into a particular undercurrent in fashion: “Bieber’s growing up, and has come into this tough and cool look, and Jerry does the same thing with fashion,” he says. “Lorenzo takes staples like bombers, flannels, and jeans to another level that’s thoughtful and exaggerated, developing those core pieces in a similar way.” The proof is in the merch—make that the wardrobe. You can be a stylish adult and wear Bieber gear with confidence. All you have to do is believe.
Pick up the exclusive Purpose Tour XO Barneys New York collection beginning July 16 on Barneys.com and July 18 at Barneys locations in Beverly Hills, San Francisco, and New York City.