#CreativeFanSpotlight with Dark & Dirty Crew Adult Fan Project

Here at Trendom, we really love the creative side of fandoms and the purpose of this series is to showcase those people and their talents. This week, we’re doing something a bit different. Our featured “creative fan” is not just one fan, it’s a group of four ladies, and their talent isn’t exactly tangible but they are damn creative. Meet the gals of the Dark and Dirty Adult Fan Project, a project that has grown exponentially over the last three months and is aiming to have a real impact on the One Direction fandom and become a voice for the adult fans.  Their creativity comes through in ideas and personally, we’re really excited to feature them.

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The main focus of the DDCAFP lives in its website, where you can register your “adult account” to their database (which has sub-categories to find the exact type of account you want), the charity tab, which delves into Eden Dora Trust, the orders & donation page where you can order your shirt or poster, and the FAQ page, which really goes into detail about DDCAFP!

Now, let’s get to know the ladies first, because this is a get-to-know you type of thing!

Hello ladies! How did the four of you connect to form DDCAFP? 

DDCAFP came out of a sleepless night where Britt spent hours researching the demographics of the One Direction fandom. A surprising percentage (over 45% according to one report) of 1D fans are over the age of 25. Yet this is very rarely seen. In our fandom, most of the loudest voices are from the younger fans. And while that’s not necessarily a bad thing (they have great enthusiasm and have much more time available than many older fans), it can make it difficult to find other adult fans. Many of us feel very alone at times, especially when your friends and family might not understand or be supportive of your presence in fandom. It was important to us to give adult fans a meeting place, somewhere where they could come together and finally know they weren’t alone. However, it was also really important for us to give back, to show that adult fans were not only alive and wholly present in fandom, but that we matter and could make a difference.

The Dark and Dirty Crew was already alive and kicking before DDCAFP started. Our accounts were mutuals and the four of us were  fandom friends who talked almost daily. When Britt started thinking about creating some sort of fan project, she knew there was no way she could do it alone. There was no hesitation to share it with the After Dark girls & DDC. Right from the jump, we came together and began planning. We knew we wanted to promote and unite adult fans and connect it with charity, but DDC really helped the loose concept take shape. We’ve been working together ever since!

How long have all four of you been fans of 1D? 

Nic I started in the spring of 2014…I’m late to the party!

Nat I’ve  been a fan for about a year and a half. Typical story. SOML made me curious. The You & I video made me notice. Then I fell down the YouTube rabbit hole to devour every minute of interviews, music videos, & performances available!

Britt I have been a fan of One Direction for about a year and a half, though I’ve only been in fandom for a year. I stumbled upon This Is Us in April 2014, and thought it’d be a silly movie to make fun of over a glass of wine. But by the time it got to “Little Things,” I was smitten with the band and the music. I snuck onto YouTube and bought tickets to the Where We Are Houston. A week before the show, I spotted a fandom trend, discovered fandom and fell down the proverbial rabbit hole!

Mandy I’ve been in for almost a year. B called me one day last year the week before FOUR dropped, and said, “You have to hear this song” and was talking about 18. So I did – and from that moment on, I was a goner. Then, I did the ultimate no-no. I bought all the previous albums and concert DVDs, and then went on YouTube to check out videos. The rest, as most of us know, is history!

What is your favorite thing about being an adult fan? 

Nic I can appreciate the band and their music for what they’ve not only brought their fans, but to the music industry.

Nat There are so many advantages to being an adult fan! I can pay for my own tickets, travel anywhere I want for shows, and I’m able to enjoy the guys and what they do on a different level. It’s not all hormone driven! And I can legally party with the guys if the opportunity ever arises!

Britt My favorite part of being an Adult Directioner is the unique way I’m able to look at fandom. I love having intellectual conversations on Harry Styles’ wardrobe and cultural norms one day, and then a tweet-spam about Louis Tomlinson’s uh…ASSets the next. It’s high-brow, low-brow fun centered around incredible music that strikes a chord in all of us. We get the cheeky-winks embedded in the lyrics and the concerts. We understand the emotional complexity that comes with certain situations and dramas that arise in fandom. My favorite part is the people and what we do and have done and will do together. The rest all ties into that, I suppose.

Mandy My favorite thing about being an adult fan is that this isn’t my first go around with a “boyband.” I’ve been through three generations of them, so the phenomenon isn’t new to me. But something about 1D is completely different than any group that has come before. I can appreciate their talent, musicality and their influence on the industry in a way I couldn’t do when I was younger. I can also appreciate their charity work, their bringing awareness to different organizations, and their drive to give back in a way I couldn’t if I were younger.

What prompted the idea for the shirts and to donate all proceeds* to Eden Dora Trust? The guys support so many charities, so why them? 

We all agreed that there was a huge hole that needed to be filled in terms of merchandise for adult fans to show their support. There is such a stigma attached to being a grown up who likes one direction. We wanted a way to show that this is a musically relevant, talented, group that deserves the respect of all music lovers. The fresh-faced teen boys that stole young girls’ hearts worldwide have grown up and so have those young girls! Everything is geared towards teens. Shirts with faces, bright colors, pencil holders, etc. We wanted a design that represents where we feel the band is currently. More rock inspired and grown up. The decision to donate the profits was a natural one. 1D is so involved in charity and that’s a huge focus of theirs. Britt had thought of it and she’s a Louis Gal, so we went with a charity close to Louis’ heart and upon reading about it, ours as well. Britt’s niece has ABI , Acquired Brain Injury, which was also why the choice to go with EDT!

(The Shirts)

The first phase of the project was called “Find Our Something.” Like we said, adult targeted fan merchandise is minimal and we wanted to give adult fans the chance to create some sort of merchandise that represented us and our unique part of fandom. The fans voted and wanted to create a t-shirt. We held a contest, and our amazing design was submitted! Everything about the creative aspects of DDCAFP has been from the adult fans. They chose the item, the design, even the color of the shirt!

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(Eden Dora Trust)

We always knew that we wanted to donate all the profits from the item created and selected to charity. It was important that adult fans not only come together, but make a difference. During the planning stage, it seemed quite fitting to nominate Eden Dora Trust as our charity. EDT trains adults to help/work/live with children with Encephalitis and acquired brain injuries. So many adult fans are mothers and/or have families, so it really stood out to us. It’s important not just to give back, but to give back to a cause that was so closely aligned with us.

After nominating EDT, Adult Directioners were given the opportunity to vote on and suggest which charity they wanted to work with for DDCAFP. Overwhelmingly, they selected EDT. It was clear that adult fans really connected with Eden Dora Trust and the work that they are doing.

How long has this process taken, from first conversation to launch? 

We launched in several phases, but we had our first conversations in the beginning of June.

It’s been four months in total for this project:

June: Planning

July: Voting/Contests (Find Our Something, Charity Nominations & Design the Shirt)

August: Logistics

September: Ordering time!

What is the biggest thing you wish to accomplish with this project? 

DDCAFP wants to unite adult fans in order to make a difference. We want Adult Directions to know that they are not alone; through the website, we hope they find a safe space and other adult fans with similar interests they can connect to. We also want to let them know that being a 1D fan isn’t a “guilty pleasure.”At the same time, we want those connections to result in changes both in and out of fandom. We want fandom to see that yes, adult fans are here and they matter. We also want to give back by donating all the profits from DDCAFP merchandise to charity, so another huge goal (equally tied to the uniting fans) is raising as much money as possible through the sale of DCCAFP items! Donate, support, promote!

Will you be expanding the merchandise selection in the future? 

It’s definitely a possibility! We would love to have a whole line of DDCAFP Exclusive Products (already ideas for more shirts!) and continue to give to charity.We have some other ideas in our pockets, but we want to see how the first run goes before we talk about the future. It’d be wonderful to keep DDCAFP going for a good long while and to expand to different products, designs and more charities.

What does the 1D fandom, as a whole, mean to you? 

Nic Well, for those that are in it for the right reasons (for the music and not the drama and gossip), treat their fellow fans like family. Concerts, meet n greets, these are experienced together. We cheer each other on. We celebrate weddings, birthdays, graduations, and other events together.

Nat The 1D fandom, for me, is a place to connect with people with a common love of One Direction. A place to fangirl, keep updated, give opinions, show support, get support, and build relationships with amazing people!

Britt Oh my gosh, what a difficult question! Fandom…fandom is an escape to me. Fandom is a special and secret place away from the rest of my life where I can let my hair down and feel safe and welcome and loved. There are certainly rough moments along with the bright, but in all of it, I feel so grateful to have a connection to something larger than myself. Fandom is unreal and I’m glad to be a part of it.

Mandy To me, the fandom is a way to meet other adults that have the same interests. And it’s not always centered around 1D. I’ve met some of the most supportive and caring people I’ve known through fandom, and made some of the best friends I have. The kind you can call at 2 am when you’ve had the worst day and the dog pees on the bed and your kid had a gigantic attitude, and you have to wake up for work in three hours – and they’re there, and they listen. And then we can make jokes about a boyband in skinny jeans – and suddenly, everything doesn’t seem so serious. Fandom is a reminder that no man (or woman) is an island. You don’t have to do anything alone. Not even falling in love with a very attractive, very talented boyband at the ripe old age of 30-something. 🙂  We all have our issues, insecurities, and our day to day things that can wear us down. But through fandom, we find an amazing support group for all of those things – just so happens we all have impeccable and outstanding taste in boys and their bands.

Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?

Nic Yeah – liking 1D isn’t a dirty secret. If you want the band to be taken seriously…come out come out wherever you are!

Nat These shirts and posters are completely awesome and you really need have these in their lives.

Britt Adult Fans– We love you, you matter and you’re helping DDCAFP make a difference. This project wouldn’t happen without you and we are so incredibly grateful. Please know that you are not alone; we hope that you find other fans with similar interests and that you build your own unique fandom family. We are all Adult Directioners and I am so proud of us!

Mandy Thank you, thank you, thank you. For being there. For letting us be there for you. For supporting us. For everything to illness to successes, from Harry’s thighs to Louis’ fringe, from the good days to the bad days, thank you. We absolutely love you. And dare I say it, all the love!

Oh one last thing! While registering with the site is exclusive to Adult Directioners only, purchasing any DDCAFP merchandise is open to anyone! We love the design and the cause behind the merchandise, so the more, the merrier!

You can register as an adult fan account here and order shirts here.

 

*DDCAFP is donating all profits from the merchandise sold to Eden Dora Trust. Profits means all moneys not used in production or shipping. This is because no services have been donated to us. The price of each item includes shipping, processing and all other fees.

**Note: The guys do support a lot of charities, and it’s something that we really love and respect about them. We chose to donate one charity to maximize our monetary impact. We wanted to deliver as big of a donation as possible, and to do that, we needed to go with one charity.

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Alessandra
I’m a 26 year old working professional who fangirls in her free time, and not-so-free time, over One Direction, Ed Sheeran, 5SOS, Fleetwood Mac, Marvel and DC comics, and Harry Potter along with a plethora of other fangirl worthy topics. Writing and sharing stories is my passion and I hope to make a living out of it someday. I love classic rock, new rock, classic 80’s songs that inspire bad dance moves, books and movies galore. I didn’t choose the fangirl life, the fangirl life chose me.

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