SZA is breaking records with her second studio album, SOS! The singer-songwriter recently took to Instagram to celebrate her popular sophomore album charting No. 1 on Billboard 200 for the fourth week in a row.
“I don’t have s**t to say but thank you to God, my ancestors, my family, my team, and ALL OF YOU THAT RIDE FOR ME! ESPECIALLY CAMP!! Y’all my family too,” SZA wrote on Jan. 8. “We have so much more to come.”
ICYMI: The SOS cover art has also become iconic. So much so, according to art designer/director Jas Bell, fans begged for details about the “S” Jersey ($175) SZA wore in the image that showed her sitting on a diving board while overlooking the blue sea.
Although the jersey was initially just for the album artwork, fans’ desire to get their hands on the hockey jersey ultimately led to the decision to include the shirt in the album's merch collection.
“The fans demanded that the jersey be part of the merch,” Bell reveals with a chuckle, noting how cool it is to have fans organically involved with the creative process. “I keep my ear to the streets on what they really want. I also keep in mind the vision SZA and I may have. It’s magic every time.”
Bell, who also owns a clothing brand called Hazelwood, says working with SZA is always an epic experience. “She’s one of the flyest people walking the earth, so her vision is one that I trust. I feel like she trusts me too,” he shares. “We have a really great team that’s good at coordinating everything. We’re like the 96’ Bulls.”
For the SOS merch collection, Bell says the goal was to create timeless pieces that future generations will enjoy. “I always want the pieces to feel authentic and true to the artist. If you look at an artist's merch—if the merch is good anyways—you can picture where they were style-wise during that era. Those are classic pieces that our grandkids will wear and cherish one day.”
To Bell, iconic merch becomes more than something people just wear at concerts. To the creative, a sign of design success is if a fan incorporates the merch into their everyday wardrobe. “That’s the level that I try to attain every time,” he expresses.
“There’s messaging and stuff the fans will really pick up on throughout the collection,” he confirms.
Click here to shop the full 'SOS' merch collection, which features a wide range of album memorabilia.
Editor’s Note: This story has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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