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“I want to show that I’m more than a kid who wears outfits,” Mandella, now 15, said in a recent interview. “I’ve always known if this blows up, I can create a brand on the back of it.”
Making clothing of his own would be a natural extension of his brand — Mandella eventually released a few items under the Gully brand name — but he wanted to make a loud, unexpected splash. His idea: a coloring book, with 25 line illustrations of him wearing high-end street wear, accompanied by a pack of Gully crayons. Released late last year, it sold several hundred copies.
“We wanted to make it exclusive, for the people who were actually passionate about buying,” Mandella said.
Which is to say, for the people who were so passionate about Mandella — a teenager living in Warwick, England who invented himself online from whole designer cloth — that they craved an even more tactile connection. His coloring book is part of an emergent movement of micromerch: personal merchandise for niche public figures and celebrities (or even not-yet celebrities) made possible by innovations in manufacturing and distribution, and with mechanisms greased by the ease of the internet.
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