It's official: 2016 is the year of the music merch pop-ups. From the (allegedly) million dollar-grossing "Pablo" shop that Kanye West set up on Wooster Street in March, to Drake's multicity pop-up to promote the release of "Views," and Future's Freebandz shop in Los Angeles to coincide with his "Purple Reign" tour, it's a trend that the most powerful acts in music are fervently embracing. The latest chart-topper to bring his fashion-forward wares to a brick-and-mortar environment is Justin Bieber, who announced on Monday that he'd partnered with VFiles for a two-day pop-up while his "Purpose" tour stopped in Brooklyn for a two-day run at the Barclays Center. And as expected, it was complete mayhem.
We stopped by VFiles about an hour before doors opened to the public at noon on Wednesday, and there were already hundreds of fans corralled in a line that snaked down Mercer and Grand Streets — a showing comparable to West's pop-up a few weeks prior. The clientele was similar, too: These weren't teen girls with "Bieber fever" for the most part; rather, it was streetwear fans, merch flippers and general hypebeast-types who turned out for the limited-edition designs by Fear of God's Jerry Lorenzo (the very man behind Kanye West's Met Gala jeans).
Once inside, shoppers had 14 styles of merch to choose from, two of which are exclusive to VFiles and one that will only be sold during the Brooklyn leg of the tour. Reps for the pop-up say the goods were restocked (although a VFiles exclusive sweatshirt and a limited-edition denim jacket are all sold out), so if you're looking to get your hands on a piece of the Biebs, you can still stop by through 7 p.m. on Thursday. However, you may have already missed your chance at getting a glimpse at the man himself, as he stopped by on Wednesday afternoon to say hello to the VFiles crew and check out the new Brooklyn designs with Lorenzo, who explains his vision behind the collection in the video below.