BTS' Line Friends BT21 Collab Draws Thousand To Times Square Store
By Tamar Herman, with additional reporting by Jeff Benjamin, Billboard
December 22, 2017
This year has seen BTS top charts, break records, and now they’re designers, thanks to a recently-launched collaboration with Line Friends.
BTS and the character brand, which is a subsidiary to the Korean messaging app Line, launched their BT21 collection last Saturday (Dec. 16) in New York City and Seoul. Fans came out in droves to the stateside location in Times Square, with Line Friends reporting an estimated 35,000 customers visiting its flagship location on launch day.
Throngs of fans crowded the New York store early in the morning with 2,000 lining up prior to opening, and the store stayed open late for those who were unable to make their purchases prior to the usual closing time of 1 a.m. Despite snow flurries in the area the day before, fans said that they began lining up at 4 a.m. for the 9 a.m. launch where the first customers were greeted by cheering store employees. The slow-moving-but-organized line almost wrapped around the entire Times Square block.
The Seoul store saw similar crowds, with about 1,000 customers lining up before that store opened.
On Friday (Dec. 22), a second wave of fans descended on the store thanks to the launch of new items.
Between the two product launches, BT21's official Twitter account shared that the Boontheshop Cheongdam pop-up store in Seoul had sold out of most of its products related to the line aside from some apparel items and Lamy pens. The New York store was well stocked during the week, though sold out of occasional items even with the 10-item purchase limit.
BT21 is a clothing and apparel line based around the designs of eight characters created by the seven members of BTS. In October, the CEO of Line Friends America, Sehoon Chang, told Billboard that the collaboration would heavily focus on streetwear; on the launch day, the Times Square Line Friends store stocked pillows, plushies, hoodies, and other items featuring the BT21 characters, while keychains and plushies were added into the product line on Friday.
The collaborative line will continue releasing items in the near future; bag charms, key rings, and standing dolls will be available at the Times Square location as of Friday (Dec. 22). BT21 goods are not currently available online, but online sales are expected to begin in 2018.
If you’re wondering why there’s a long line outside #TimesSquare’s @_LineFriends store, it’s because more @bt21_ merch has been released. The #NYC store is now filled with cute #BT21 characters created by global Kpop stars @bts_twt! pic.twitter.com/UMVKKEIDmO— Times Square (@TimesSquareNYC) December 22, 2017
Photo: Getty Images