My t-shirt drawer at home bulges despite my rarely wearing most of the shirts in it. The one in my dorm doesn’t fare much better than the drawer at home, given that it’s so full of shirts that I have to re-fold them once a week. Somewhere along the way, I have amassed a considerable collection of shirts I am too attached to give away but too embarrassed to wear for anything other than pajamas.
Most of these t-shirts are from concerts or merch of artists I love. For too long, I have habitually bought shirts or sweatshirts whenever I attend a show. Unfortunately, tour merch is so out of place and ugly that I usually pick between an unwearable neon shirt or one with a dull picture of the artist with their name in a weird font. Sometimes only the photo or name is included.
Rising merch prices force many of us to reevaluate our desire to purchase clothing and other items from our favorite artists. For example, do I need a new Taylor Swift eras shirt to represent my favorite album? Sure, it would look good for the concert, but I may need to ask myself whether buying a 40 dollar shirt for one night is sustainable.
Collecting merch to remember a concert or support an artist sounds good in theory. In reality, it often means settling for a shirt you’ll rarely wear for an exorbitant amount of money and time, given the long lines. Consumerism teaches us to buy something to memorialize or symbolize our memories. I reject this notion and now see that tour merch often falls into the category of unnecessary purchases made out of fear of missing out.
While I may have a Fall Out Boy T-shirt that says “Happy Music for Sad People” in the back of my dresser drawer, I am no longer continuing to buy merch I don’t want or need to feel like I can tangibly prove when I went to a concert.
Don’t wait to see me wearing a Taylor Swift shirt after or during my Eras tour date. I already have enough clothes. If I do buy anything for the tour, I can guarantee it will be something I want to wear for an affordable price instead of whatever Taylornation is promoting.