Being a superfan these days is pretty easy. There’s Twitter and Facebook, legions of fansites and lets not forget, a lot of merchandise to indulge in. One Direction are probably the best example of how all these things can combine to an extreme level of fandom – anyone who watched Channel 4’s documentary Crazy About One Direction will know exactly what I mean. With the band’s name already attached to such things as dolls and stationary there must have seemed one final frontier left to the merchandisers: style, and One Direction have now launched a collaborative make-up collection with MUA.
The collection comprises of a selection of lipsticks and lip balms, alongside nail varnishes and cream cheek tints all emblazoned with the signature of one of the band members. Ever wanted to paint your nails in Niall’s favourite colour? Well, now you can… (Gold and Gorgeous, if you’re interested) All the items come in at under £3, which isn’t half bad for branded make-up, and definitely places the range at a good price for it’s target market – pre-teen girls.
Despite the obvious reservations that arrive with products like these, the reviews have generally been pretty good. The cream blush has particularly been praised as something of a dupe for the NARS cream blush, and the lipstick colours are bold enough to be exciting, but tame enough to look okay on a 13 year old. For what it is, it seems like quite an alright range. It may not be ground breaking, but for the price tag, it’s more or less what you would expect.
The range is quite clever, and each product is named in tribute to one of the group’s songs. Little Things nail varnish, Kiss You lipstick and lip balm and What Makes You Beautiful cheek tint. This is where the range has become a little controversial; the line is being pitched to young girls with the implication that this make-up can make you beautiful, because you need make-up to make you beautiful, right? This seems like a slightly worrying message to be sending to the army of adoring Directioners, many of whom will be pretty young and might be easily influenced by tag lines such as this.
The reason ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ such a hit with the pre-teens was the fact that it played on the insecurities that so many young girls feel. At a young age, many girls lack confidence about their appearance, so being told they are beautiful, despite their doubts is a pretty powerful message. This range comes as a bit of a contrast to the song’s assertion that you ‘don’t need make-up to cover up’. If people want to wear make-up, it should be their own choice, and if they don’t want to wear make-up, exactly the same.
In an ideal world that is something the individual would decide on their own. The diversity of 1D fans and their immense passion for the boys is something that should be celebrated, not exploited. To me this range takes the idea of merchandising a little too far, taking advantage of a fandom which wants to impress and emulate and will do almost anything to get a little closer to the boys. Maybe One Direction should stick to the music…