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Justin Timberlake pop-up cements the mass appeal of hipster tour merch

Justin Timberlake and Heston Preston at the pop-up
Justin Timberlake and Heston Preston at the pop-up

To promote the launch of his fifth album titled “Man of the Woods”, pop singer Justin Timberlake has hosted a NYC pop-up offering products developed through several brand collaborations.

Inside the Wooster St, Soho space, visitors encountered a hipster and nostalgically American aesthetic, similar to Timberlake’s personal style reinvention. Walls were framed with branches, while burgundy rugs and comfortable chairs lined the space. Products were then displayed against a white wall on hooks, plinths and shelves, accompanied by museum-like plaques.

Customers could only order items on display by filling out a paper form, thus giving the shopping experience a more exclusive touch.

Available to buy were one item per song in the album, which included: a Lucchese workman’s boot inspired by “Young Man”, a letter to the singer’s son; a Levi’s flannel jacket inspired by “Montana”; a Moleskine notepad inspired by “Say Something”; and a Pendleton blanket inspired by “Morning Light”.

Also on display was a Nike Air Jordan 3s collaboration with legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, inspired by the fifth track, “Higher, Higher”. The shoe was first available for purchase on Nike’s SNKRS app during Timberlake’s Super Bowl LII half-time show on February 4, and it will go back on sale once the singer’s tour commences.

Adding to the momentum, the singer also worked with Heston Preston, a designer who consulted on early seasons of Kanye West’s Yeezy and has worked with the likes of Nike and Nasa, to design the tour’s apparel (such as t-shirts and hoodies).

Over the last couple of years, artists such as Jay Z, Frank Ocean and Justin Bieber have leveraged hype beast culture to stimulate similar buzz with temporary retail environments promoting their upcoming tours or album releases. Launched in 2016, Kanye West’s “Life of Pablo” album pop-ups across multiple cities elevated the artist’s merchandise to cult-like status, and ignited a much-needed refresh of artist merchandise.

Justin Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods” pop-up
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Campaigns Retail

Converse pushes hype beast culture with London hotel activation

The Converse One Star Hotel in London
The Converse One Star Hotel in London

Converse is opening a pop-up hotel in London to mark the drop of its new One Star collection this weekend.

The One Star Hotel, based in Shoreditch, will see rooms curated by artists including A$AP Nast, Yung Lean and MadeMe, as well as two days of gigs, workshops and conversations.

A dream for sneakerheads and music fans alike, the activation promises “staff with attitude, loud neighbours, the freshest sneakers as standard and all-nighters in shoebox rooms”. Live music will also reportedly come from Princess Nokia, IAMDDB, SlowThai, Skinny Macho and more.

What’s interesting is to see how Converse is building hype by following numerous tried and tested rules emerging in sneaker drop culture.

Teaser information from both the brand and influencers involved in the project has been released in advance, for instance. Included is a supposed product list driving curiosity among fans interested in key pieces, such as the collaboration with A$AP Nast that was only released in limited edition in the US previously.

A dedicated microsite meanwhile, provides not only further details of the event, but a series of tongue-in-cheek hotel reviews.

The campaign, which happens to fall during London Fashion Week, taps heavily into a cultural movement surrounding streetwear and sneakers at present, whereby pushing scarcity is king, not just in terms of limited edition products, but particularly unique experiences in which to get hold of them.

We’ve seen this achieved by brands including Supreme, Palace, adidas and Nike in a big way. Meanwhile, the likes of Vetements launching a laundry pop-up in Los Angeles is another example, as is the first Adidas Originals x Alexander Wang collaboration, which secretly dropped in different cities around the world out the back of 17 trucks in trash bags as though the items were on the black market.

The Converse One Star Hotel opens February 16-17 at 155 New North Road, London N1 6TA.