Justin Timberlake’s “Man of the Woods” Pop-up and the Rise of Merch
Last week, Justin Timberlake extended to his fans in New York City an invitation to a pop-up storefront. According to Timberlake’s Instagram account, there would be a “custom, collaborative product for every song on the album”—the critically panned “Man of the Woods,” released earlier this month. Pop-ups have settled into a rite of passage for celebrities in recent years. In 2016, I didn’t bother trying to make it to any of the twenty-one pop-ups that sold the merchandise designed for Kanye West’s tour for his seventh solo album, “The Life of Pablo.” The same month, when Frank Ocean, having emerged from a long dormancy with two bodies of music and a zine enticingly titled “Boys Don’t Cry,” announced a pop-up, a crowd seemed to materialize at Mulberry Iconic Magazines as soon as the address was disseminated. Last winter, I walked by Kylie Jenner’s Kylie Cosmetics less compelled by the Lip Kit Wall than by the chance to experience the force of the Internet in the wild. I am historically a fan of Timberlake, and so, late on Friday afternoon, I went.