Our Merch, Ourselves – The New York Times

If you need to recreate the 1960s winged eyeliner that Cailee Spaeny wears in “Priscilla,” you’ll have to take action with out assistance from the restricted-version make-up package produced by the movie’s studio, A24. It’s bought out. Ditto the darkish grey sweatshirt with tonal “Priscilla” embroidery throughout the entrance. You can, nonetheless, nonetheless buy a baby-doll T-shirt bedizened with the movie’s title in rhinestones. And the center-formed locket by the jewellery designer J. Hannah, impressed by the one Priscilla wears within the film, which was in flip impressed by one Priscilla Presley really wore, continues to be obtainable, in sterling silver ($400) or 14-karat gold ($1,280).

I used to be chatting this week with some colleagues concerning the locket, about what animates somebody to purchase an expensive piece of knickknack that’s being bought as a merchandise tie-in for a film. Is it love for the “stealthily devastating” movie “Priscilla”? For Priscilla Presley herself, or Elvis, or the movie’s director, Sofia Coppola? Perhaps one simply likes the necklace. A24, the studio behind movies like “Hereditary,” “Midsommar,” “Uncut Gems” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” is aware of it’s in all probability some mixture of those components, blended with love for the studio itself. A24 is thought for its canny collaborations with hip designers — a “Hereditary” tee, designed by the trippy design studio Online Ceramics, initially $65, now sells for a minimum of double that when you can observe one down on a resale website. You may also purchase hoodies, half-snap fleeces, canine leashes and dopp kits that includes the A24 emblem.

Our dialog rapidly turned to questions of identification. Why will we purchase merch, or shrink back from it? What does the merch you put on say about who you might be, what you imagine in? You may purchase a sticker out of your native bakery to assist the enterprise, or put on a Renaissance tour shirt to declare your self a member of the BeyHive. “If I ever move away from New York, I’d buy a tote bag from my favorite Brooklyn sandwich shop,” one among my colleagues declared. Carrying the bag in your individual metropolis appeared too boosterish, too earnest for a New Yorker, whereas outdoors town, the native merch telegraphs your hometown delight and N.Y.C. pedigree. Once you allow the place, the merch turns into a memento, a nostalgic memento. Another colleague, an avowed merch skeptic, obtained her daughter an Los Angeles Dodgers shirt when her household relocated from L.A. to New York, memorializing the matrix of allegiances the transfer evoked.

Perhaps we have been overcomplicating it, getting too Gen X in our obsession with authenticity. Justin Bieber famously ignited the ire of indie-rock snobs when he wore a rare Nirvana T-shirt to the American Music Awards in 2015: How dare a purveyor of pop hits acceptable the cred of a beloved countercultural establishment! Why does merch must imply a lot? Of course, it doesn’t. Debating the legal guidelines of merch is a diversion, an amusing exercise in questioning our personal pieties. I made no fewer than two associates in faculty as a result of one among us was sporting a Pixies T-shirt: “I’m into this band, you’re into this band, let’s see if that’s enough to fuel a meaningful relationship.” (In each circumstances, it was.)

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