Metro Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Music fans are no stranger to merch or memorabilia. But it’s a different game with K-pop. It comes with a massive machinery that’s happy to fuel the fandoms that devote their time and money to their idols — fandoms that even do charitable work to help their idols change the world (e.g., a BTS fan-based fundraiser that gathered $1 million to donate to the Black Lives Matter movement).
So for fans who spend a lot of money to buy merch, this isn’t necessarily about who gets to spend the biggest to prove how much of a fan they are.
As one fan, Chel, says in “The price of being a K-pop fan,” “Our efforts and the money that we spend is because we want them [K-pop idols] to have a happy life. It’s because they go through so much — training takes five to 10 years, they give up studying to do this, and when they finally debut, you just want them to have the best. They represent this determination to become successful in life, and that’s also an inspiration for everyone. When you see their drive to succeed, ’yun ’yung pinaghahawakan namin as fans.”
Here, three more fans show us their merch collection and echo what Chel was saying about their support for their idols. It’s about enjoying K-pop as an experience.
Watch the video below.
Interview and video by SAMANTHA LEE