A growing number of companies are launching official merchandise for their fans. Television has been our primary source of entertainment for more than a year. Some characters have been seen more than their family and friends. It is not surprising, then, that once the Covid restrictions are lifted and we can re-enter this world, we want our clothes to look like theirs.
Figures show that the peak of the coronavirus pandemic saw Brits spend 40% of their waking time watching TV. A growing number of companies are now releasing official merchandise to capitalize on this popularity. Netflix announced a shoe collection inspired by Bridgerton, Friends launched its first official range of clothing, and a Killing Eve-inspired fashion range is incoming.
“As a nation during lockdown we basically ran out of TV to view, which meant that shows that were aired during lockdown received much greater audience than usual,” Lynsey Moor, the costume designer behind Anne Boleyn and I May Destroy You, says that Lynsey Moore was responsible for two of lockdown’s most popular (and fashion moments) hits, Lynsey and Anne Boleyn. “Being restricted to our homes meant TV and the internet were our main link to the outside world.”
The costuming for I May Destroy you was flawlessly executed, from Arabella (Michaela Cole)’s pink hair to Kwame’s (Paapa Essiedu’s) teddy bear jacket. Moore said that “the transmission date for the series came at a perfect time” and added that the costumes were intended to be “uniquely iconic”. “People wanted to see something different and were eager to be inspired.”
The fashion industry’s annual seasons were stopped and TV shows like I May Destroy You, The Queen’s Gambit or The Crown, I Hate Suzie, and Normal People began to influence clothing trends. Suddenly, everyone wanted Connell’s chain or Suzie’s Barbour jacket.
Angela McRobbie is a Goldsmiths professor of communications. She says that the pandemic had huge repercussions on the fashion industry and caused a scramble for new media outlets. “TV and streaming were ideal platforms for creating fashion narratives and then taking on their own lives [on social media].” She said that it was cost-free for brands.
The current version of this is being shown via the relaunched Gossip Girl and the upcoming rebooted Sex and the City.
Also, the closure of brick-and-mortar high street shops like Topshop had an impact. People had limited options for wardrobe inspiration due to the lack of window displays and street style from passersby at the high streets. Moore says that TV was the primary source of outfit inspiration.
It was no accident that Netflix opened its first online shop in June. McRobbie says, “The Netflix estore shows the incredible rapid transformation of fashion into e-commerce. It also highlights the declining role for high street retailers. This calls for a new sociology in consumer culture.”
The Bridgerton shoes in collaboration with the designers Malone Souliers are to be launched next year. Mary Alice Malone, founder of the company, says that she is a big fan. “Bridgerton revisits history with a sense revolution and joy which is exactly how my approach to shoemaking is.” Malone claims that the collection was inspired from key looks on the show. She says that movies, TV, and streaming services like Netflix have had a strong influence on fashion.
The current season of Love Island lets you purchase the clothes worn by contestants via the app almost immediately after transmission. This business model is similar to that of Amazon’s Fashion Designer Talent Show Making The Cut where viewers could purchase the clothes designed and made by contestants.
McRobbie believes that this is the future. She says, “It’s clearly the next step.” “Replicating models from companies like Farfetch or Net-a-Porter,” she says. It will be possible to order a jacket, bag, or dress from “Call My Agent!” while you still watch it, and it will be delivered to your door in less than 24 hours.”