Don’t wear a band’s merch if you don’t listen to any of their music

Breanna Moore, Layout and Design Editor

I am what some might call a notable fan of music. While I myself do not play an instrument, music has become a major part of my life and is one of my greatest interests. A lot of the articles I have written for The Navigator are music related and are typically about the rock and metal genres, which are my favorites. 

Since I am such a massive fan of music, I tend to wear a lot, and I do mean a lot, of band merch. I have obtained such a large collection over the past several years that I have an individual closet dedicated to these items. I love representing my favorite artists by wearing their merch. 

One thing that has quickly become a pet peeve of mine is when people wear the merch of a musician or band and don’t actually listen to them. Instead, they wear the band shirt because it is trendy or they like how it looks. Personally, I don’t understand why people do this. In my mind, I wouldn’t wear the merchandise of something that I am not a fan of. Would I wear a Star Wars t-shirt even though I’m not a fan of the franchise? I wouldn’t because to me, that wouldn’t make sense. 

I’ve noticed that this most often occurs with classic rock bands. Whenever I go into trendy clothing stores, I can typically find band shirts of groups like Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and The Doors. As someone who has just recently started to really get into the older rock and metal bands, this is very frustrating to me. You see, for people like me that are huge music fans, coming across someone that is wearing the merch of a band you like creates an instant connection between the two of you. Whenever I spot someone wearing band merch, I like to compliment them on it and start a conversation about the band. I could not begin to tell the amount of times that somebody started a conversation with me about the band I was wearing on my shirt. One recent instance of this was when a man noticed the Metallica shirt I was wearing and started talking to me about their music, what our favorite album of theirs was, and the times that he actually got to go see the band perform live. 

If someone is wearing a band t-shirt just for the sake of the trend and doesn’t actually know the band, they are simply setting themselves up for an awkward conversation with a person such as myself. If I compliment someone on their Guns N’ Roses t-shirt and then ask what their favorite song is from the band, I really wouldn’t expect them to respond with “Oh, I don’t actually listen to them.” Not only does that make our interaction feel kind of awkward on my end, but it leaves me wondering why they would be wearing that shirt in the first place if they don’t listen to them. 

Now, I’m not saying that in order to wear a band’s merchandise you have to know each and every one of their songs and be a mega fan. Even I wear the merch of a band that I’ve been a fan of for a long time, but still don’t know their entire discography. As long as you know at least some of their songs, then I think it is acceptable. If I can approach you and have a decent conversation with you about the musicians on your shirt, then I don’t question you wearing it. 

I know that I am not the only music lover with these opinions regarding the subject. I’ve heard from others that feel the same way as I do, and others that think an individual needs to know more than just the band’s hits in order for it to be appropriate for them to wear the merch. Either way, I don’t think that people should be wearing a band’s merch if they don’t listen to the band.

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