International pop star Ed Sheeran gave his Dallas fans a treat on the same day of the release of his fourth studio album, No. 6 Collaborations Project: A pop-up shop in Deep Ellum with exclusive merchandise only available to fans who made it to the Main Street building.
The art pressed onto each piece of clothing is specifically connected to the album, and most of the items featured in the pop-up included pictures of Sheeran with other artists who are featured on the album. T-shirts, hats, long-sleeved shirts, hoodies, CDs and vinyls were all available for purchase. The store manager of the pop-up shop, Stephanie Pearson said, “(Sheeran) designed each (piece of clothing), and everything is actually exclusive. It’s not sold on his tour, it’s just for this merch pop-up experience.”
Sheeran shared the news of the pop-up by posting a flyer on his Instagram account that showed all the cities that would be gifted with the experience. The post was on July 10, and word spread like a California wildfire. Dallas was one of only nine cities in the U.S. that celebrated the album's release with a pop-up shop. Lucky us.
There were 32 locations across the world that took part in the festivities, and every pop-up shop had an open date of July 12. All U.S. locales had an identical start and finish time — 3:06 p.m. to 9:06 p.m.
The boutique's unique decor included pink, blue and green LED lights. While a DJ sat near the door playing the new album, there was a black chalkboard positioned along the wall where happy fans signed their names in colorful chalk as a way of saying “thank you” to the pop star for letting them take their money.
Fans were able to take a photo in front of a green screen and a full-size Ed Sheeran cardboard cutout dressed in a lime polo jacket, while other photos of Sheeran covered the walls.
It was a typical summer day in Dallas as the temperature topped a high of 93 degrees. Fans of all age groups stood in a line a block long. Ronald Benson said that he and his friends stood in line for a little under two hours, and a woman behind the group overheard him and aggressively added “Longer.” Benson said, “I dragged them along with me,” as he pointed at his three other friends.
The line died down around 6 p.m., but traffic in and out of the shop stayed steady. Andre Eder was one of three security guards stationed in front of the entrance and guided fans inside. Less than 30 people were allowed in at a time and while they waited in line, he took photos for fans in front of the building as they desperately struggled to capture the perfect selfie.
Uninformed passersby asked the security what was going on and were seen later coming out the store with merchandise for themselves.
“They were only expecting about 300 to 400 (people) but at least 500 have come in so far,” Eder said with two hours left before the shop was set to close. Eder recognized faces as fans made their second and third trip back into the store with more friends than before.
Lexi Ellis got in her car and made the 45-minute drive from Mansfield by herself. “I’m Ed’s biggest fan," she said. "I literally have a cardboard cutout of him in my room. I’m hoping to purchase the one they have in here. I’ve been in love with Ed since I was 15. Tomorrow is my 20th birthday, so I was thinking it’s his early birthday present to me."
Well, if that doesn't show proof of Deep Ellum's gentrification, we don't know what does.
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