With so much creative energy going out there in the merch space, there’s bound to be some standout designs and themes attracting eyeballs. The merchandise trends for 2021 are both wide-ranging in their subject matter, and incredibly innovative and timely.
If you want to look stylish this season, you’ve got to check out what’s trending in the world of merch.
We’re seeing merch creations that are wonderfully wacky — shop owners letting out their inner artist by using design elements like mythical creatures, or other characters.
People are literally cashing in on the booming cryptocurrency trend by making their own merch.
There’s also still love for the clean and classic styles that revolve around simple text and direct messaging, and an increased demand for social justice and strong-statement driven merch.
These are the merch trends people are gravitating to because they say something about where we’re at in the world, whether that’s through escapism or real world connection.
It’s always nice to rock some fun graphic merch, no matter how ridiculous it might be.
There’s been a revived interest in cartoon style designs within the last year. Maybe it’s because we’ve been stuck inside for so long that childhood nostalgia has become the ultimate form of escape: getting up late, eating junk food, watching cartoons.
Don’t be afraid to be too “out there” with the merch you wear, either. Go for something that’s going to draw strangers’ attention and make your friends and family crack up.
A stormtrooper riding a narwhal through a rainbow loop is sure to do it. This is really the kind of energy we need to be putting out in the world. I don’t think I could have dreamed this up if I tried.
There’s all kinds of different original merch designs out there.
This sleepy monster tee is totally unique. The Spreadshop – Monstermaker – has different types of monsters, like a unicorn monster or a monster with lazy eyes you can wear on tees or totes.
You can even find merch that incorporates different art styles within these fun and silly graphics.
Andy Warhol would be proud of this pop art llama with sunglasses cropped top. I don’t think he would wear it, but he would appreciate the reference.
There’s so much merch out there that’s pushing the boundaries of creativity. Find what kind of designs and characters speak most to you and your style and roll with it.
Embrace your inner child and try not to be so serious with every fashion statement you make.
Simple and Creative Text
The complete opposite of bold graphic design, merch with clean and simple text is also a trending item. You can really say so much with just a few words.
There’s something striking about text on merch that really draws your focus and engages like-minded people.
I particularly like this Artitude top. It’s a word I had never heard before, but resonates for artists and all other creative types. The definition of artitude is “the way that you feel about your designs.”
Another art-themed piece of merch that follows this trend is a t-shirt from The Artist’s Haven. Their All You Need is Love and Art design is made a bit bolder by its color blocked lettering, but it’s text conveys a larger and more important message of how art can really impact your life.
This trend doesn’t apply to just crafty types, though.
You can find consistent examples of this in all different fields, take photography for example.
Linsey Davis is a photographer whose passion is capturing the magic and spontaneity of family moments. She cares deeply about what she does and finds art in whatever she captures.
Her Art of Composition merch has a flare to it that creates a sense of whimsy. And composition doesn’t have to exclusively apply to photography, necessarily. A composition could be a piece of music, a book, whatever you want it to be.
There’s so much to interpret and think about from these simple text based designs.
It can be related to something you’re interested in – like art or photography – or a funny statement, too. People might come up to you and ask about what you’re wearing and you can turn more people on to your interests.
This kind of merch is also incredibly versatile for your wardrobe. Mix and match patterns and items in your closet with it to create cohesive looks.
Practicing social justice and the fight for quality should never be trends. It’s just that more and more people are starting to express their thoughts and beliefs through the merch they wear.
This Black Lives Matter t-shirt calls upon people to remember and say the names of the African American men, women, and children whose lives were senselessly cut short by police brutality.
Expressing injustice through this design emphasizes how many people have actually been affected by these actions and those that are continuing to be mistreated.
There’s currently a movement to Free Palestine from Israeli occupation and violence. Creating merch is an important way to bring attention to an issue that most westerners don’t really know about. This Free Palestine t-shirt features the colors of the Palestian flag with the same fist used in the Black Lives Matter design from before.
People are also bringing attention to the LGBTQIA community in honor of Pride and Pride Month (June). Rainbow themed merch and statement making designs are prevalent to the issue.
A Love is a Human Right lunch bag says everything you need to know.
These are all incredibly important movements and issues that need attention brought to them, and wearing merch is just one way you can start to do that.
No doubt you’ve heard the rumblings in the tech world (or the Twitterverse) about a thing called cryptocurrency. I’m not even entirely sure what is, but it’s a big deal nonetheless.
From what I gather, cryptocurrency is a digital form of currency created from code in the form of something like bitcoin and a certain segment of the internet happens to be obsessed with it.
There’s all kinds of fun and meme-worthy crypto merch available to those that are interested.
The crypto world also has its own set of phrases and lingo that they’ve adopted. Like HOD, which means to “hold on for dear life.” This HODL t-shirt breaks down the definition to help bring awareness to the disinformation they feel is spread about the value of crypto and the community.
A big proponent of cryptocurrency is Elon Musk.
Musk has actively encouraged his Twitter followers to hop on the Dogecoin train: a “fun and friendly internet currency” that originated from a meme.
Play off the trend by cashing in for a Dogecoin shirt. The Shiba Inu icon is outfitted in an astronaut suit with the words “Dogecoin to the Moon,” also playing off Musk’s dream to go into space.
I know this type of merch is only appealing to a certain type of person, but it just shows how you can create a whole community from one interest.
This trend might sound lame initially, but it’s actually really fun (and surprisingly mouthwatering).
Perfect for summertime when all of our favorite treats are in season – popsicles, ice cream cones, frozen yogurt – the trend allows you to show your love for all your favorite foods.
If you don’t want to be as obvious, I’d go with something more understated in its design. This ice cream cone sketch tee has a simple and clean look that can stand out more depending on what color t-shirt you decide to go with it. There’s also a retro vibe to it – something you might see on an ice cream storefront walking down the pier by the beach.
Are you one of those people that lives on a diet of Ramen? I’ve got the shirt for you.
This Ramen Life merch features an adorable cat living their best life in a bowl of tasty looking Ramen.
And this isn’t the first time I’ve seen Ramen merch.
Forever 21 and other retail brands have carried Ramen graphic tees, hoodies, even sweatpants at one point or another. It’s a pretty big phenomenon in the fashion world it turns out.
Also keeping with the theme of food and animals, this Tacosaurus merch (taco + dinosaur) is pretty adorable. And who doesn’t love a good pun?
Something like food merch might seem ridiculous at first, but you can find some creative options when you start to look out there.
While these trends run a wide spectrum of topics and themes, there’s something you can pull from each of them in a way that speaks to your own personal style somehow.
Be sure to open your own Spreadshop today!