The “Taylor Swift Effect” Is Real

Photography by Getty Images

Swift has been favouring smaller, female-owned brands like Mejuri and Ellie Mae (both Canadian!) for her NFL looks — and the positive impact that’s having is very real.

Taylor Swift is known for many things: Being a record-breaking songstress, an easter egg queen, and the saviour of famous millennial divorcées (CC Sophie Turner). Fashion doesn’t typically rank high on that list. The singer has her own sense of (kind of so-so) style, tending to not opt for edgy or trend-forward designers like many other celebs her age.

But maybe it’s time to pay a little more attention to Swift’s sartorial choices, especially what she’s been wearing on the sidelines of boyfriend Travis Kelce’s football games. The singer has been wearing a ton of small, female-owned brands lately, and the items she’s sporting have been selling out, proving that the Taylor Swift effect is very real.

Taylor Swift’s football fan style

In October of last year, Swift showed up to a Kansas City Chiefs game wearing a vintage Chiefs sweatshirt, paired with a pleated skirt and heeled loafers. She looked adorable, and even cuter was the fact that the top was sourced from Canadian, female-owned brand Ellie Mae.

Not only was Swift photographed cheering on her beau alongside sports bestie Brittany Mahomes, but she was later pictured leaving the stadium hand-in-hand with her BF — the vintage sweater front and centre. The internet went crazy for it, asking where they could find the same perfectly distressed sweater as Swift.

On January 13 of this year, Swift once again made another fashion statement when she showed up to a game in a custom, one-of-a-kind Chiefs jacket designed and created by Kristin Juszcyzk, the wife of San Francisco 49ers player Kyle Juszcyzk.

And on January 26, Swift took to the field after the Chief’s AFC Championship win in a gaggle of female-founded brands, wearing a sweater from friend Gigi Hadid’s Guests in Residence, the Heirloom Ring from Canadian brand Mejuri and a small #87 jersey ring — Kelce’s number – on her pointer finger from Kansas City brand Eb and Co.

The Taylor Swift effect

It may not seem like more than a cute outfit, but the reality is that, seeing stars like Taylor Swift don these brands does have a tangible impact. Weeks after Swift wore her jacket designed by Juszcyzk, the designer secured a licensing agreement with the NFL, obtaining permission to legally use NFL imagery on her apparel.

Basically, Swift’s exposure has made Juszcyzk’s designs so buzzy that the NFL — one of the most lucrative sports organizations in the world — knows that it pays off in advertising and promotion to align themselves with her. And there’s a monetary impact for these brands, too.

Much like the Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle effects — the phenomena in which whatever these two royals wear instantly sells out — the Taylor Swift effect is happening here, too. EB and Co., the makers of Swift’s #87 jersey ring, quickly sold out of the $14 USD ring, posting that they’re now taking pre-orders for the next batch.

Canadian designer Ellie Mae Waters was getting her nails done in October of last year, scrolling through TikTok, when she first realized the superstar was wearing one of the vintage Kansas City Chief sweaters sourced for her Toronto-based brand, Ellie Mae. Two weeks before, Waters had reached out via her PR to the singer’s stylist to see if Swift would  be interested in receiving some vintage pieces. She was. So Waters sent the package, not expecting much — if anything, that Swift would wear it casually around her house on a lazy day.

“I got a text that she liked [the sweater],” Waters tells FASHION, “and that was kind of where it was left; I was just so happy that she liked it, I thought that’s cool, it’ll be an inner-moment thing with me and [my team], no one else will ever know — but that was good, I loved that.”

Realizing Swift not only wore the sweater, but wore it on the sidelines of a game? “It’s exciting,” Waters says. “I love vintage so much because they are one-offs, they’re one of a kind, and they have so much history in them. And so the thought of Taylor Swift wearing this — she’s giving this piece this whole other story and this whole other life.”

The response online was immediate. As Waters told Toronto Life in an interview shortly after the game, by the end of that Sunday the brand had gained almost 1,000 new social followers and 12,000 visitors to the site. “It felt like any piece of collegiate vintage that we had on the site, it was gone immediately,” Waters tells FASHION. “These women didn’t care that they didn’t have the same sweater, but if they could say that they bought their vintage at the same place that Taylor Swift got it, that was enough for them.”

The impact of Taylor Swift wearing smaller, female-owned brands

Taylor Swift knows she’s that girl right now. Her every move is watched, scrutinized, and obsessed over, so it’s no coincidence that Swift — not normally known for making grand statements with her sartorial style — is choosing to do so on a stage of this size while centering smaller, female-owned brands.

This is especially significant considering all of the flak she’s received from many football fans for simply showing up to support her boyfriend, with people telling the singer that she’s “ruining football” and blaming Swift for the team’s performance (which, considering they’re going to the Super Bowl, we’d have to say is pretty good). By spotlighting these female-owned brands, it’s like Swift is intentionally giving a big middle finger to the haters and leaning into the idea that no press is bad press.

And let’s be real, this is intentional, after all she’s the *queen* of easter eggs and hidden messaging. “I don’t think that Taylor Swift does anything by mistake,” Waters agrees, “and I mean that in a good way.” Waters points to Swift showing up for — and highlighting — Juszcyzk, the wife of an opposing team member. “You don’t have to do that,” Waters says. “I feel like with Taylor Swift, if there’s a way that she can help women, she will do it.”

And for small businesses, this type of exposure is a dream come true. “When it comes to small businesses, having anybody, whether it’s Taylor Swift [or] the woman that lives next door to you, out there sharing something that you created, it will always move the needle,” Waters says, “whether that’s with followers, sales, or simply just giving that small business that little bit more of a boost they need to get up the next day and do this all over again.”

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