Some are wearing them in jest. Other people sport them sincerely.
But whatsoever their motivation, teenagers across the state have been going wild for shirts that bear a chaste declaration: “Virginity Rocks.”
The garments products turned preferred on-line many thanks to a social media influencer and are now stocked by a key retail chain with a existence in malls throughout the United States. The development has puzzled some college directors, who have banned the shirts only to confront criticism, and other adults, who have questioned if youth abstinence is on the increase.
It can be traced to Danny Duncan, a 27-12 months-outdated YouTube personality and prankster, who claimed he commenced carrying “Virginity Rocks” shirts in his films as one thing of a joke in 2017. Mr. Duncan claimed that his use of the phrase was “tongue in cheek,” and that most folks wore it humorously. But, he extra, he is happy to have viewed it capture on with young people today who winner abstinence.
“I have intercourse, definitely, but I want people to do whatever they want to do and not be pressured into anything,” Mr. Duncan stated. “I sell ‘Practice Safe and sound Intercourse,’ way too, which could be amusing but is also a positive message at the finish of the working day.”
Mr. Duncan has built a following of approximately 3.5 million subscribers on YouTube with his prank video clips. In his most preferred submit, he frequently excursions and falls while keeping a box of pennies in spots like a shopping mall escalator, startling the folks about him. Other movies exhibit him precariously using a hoverboard down stairs, leaping out of a golfing cart right before crashing it into a tree and pulling significant jinks although grocery shopping, this kind of as sneaking guiding the milk shows. Mr. Duncan explained that according to his YouTube figures, 92 per cent of his audience is male, the bulk 24 and more youthful.
And that audience has wholeheartedly embraced “Virginity Rocks.” Mr. Duncan has carried out branded excursions to fulfill his admirers (and sell goods). He shared Shopify data that showed hundreds of thousands of dollars in on the net gross sales. And a partnership began final calendar year with Zumiez, the teenager retailer with a lot more than 700 places in the United States and overseas, has enhanced his visibility.
The chain, which specializes in action sports activities manufacturers, prominently showcases “Virginity Rocks” apparel featuring Mr. Duncan’s name online and in suppliers, where by cardboard cutouts of the floppy-haired YouTuber grin at customers in some places. The wares, which consist of bucket hats ($40), lanyards ($12) and slide sandals ($40), alongside the ubiquitous hoodies ($55), have been a hit. Mr. Duncan stated Zumiez had advised him that it has marketed far more than 400,000 pieces of merchandise.
Zumiez even invited Mr. Duncan to its once-a-year accumulating of major sellers last month in Keystone, Colo., where he presented an award to just one of the chain’s prime salespeople. (The prize was a Tesla with horns, a reference to a joke from just one of Mr. Duncan’s YouTube video clips.) He was bowled more than by the appreciation from the chain’s associates at the event, he reported.
“These staff members would be like: ‘Thank you so substantially. You made me so much revenue mainly because the shirts are so straightforward to offer,’” Mr. Duncan explained, incorporating that the goods would soon be available in suppliers in Canada and Australia. “I’ve only been there seven months. It’s kind of thoughts-blowing.”
Zumiez, which is based in Lynnwood, Wash., reported it was company policy not to speak about precise models.
“We are not going to release profits quantities or disclose our best sellers for competitive motives, but we do definitely respect Danny’s partnership and the partnership of all our brands,” Chris Operate, the main economical officer, explained in an e mail. He said that there was “truth to the Tesla” anecdote and that he appreciated the assistance of all the chain’s makes at the once-a-year celebration.
The achievement of “Virginity Rocks” merchandise has startled some in Mr. Duncan’s orbit.
“We’re accomplishing these meet up with and greets for Zumiez and countless numbers of young children display up and the total shopping mall is included in ‘Virginity Rocks,’” Stefan Toler, Mr. Duncan’s supervisor, explained in an interview. “It started as more of a joke, but now it is an actual manufacturer in which we’re outselling Thrasher, Nike, Adidas and all these manufacturers in Zumiez, and we’re like, ‘What the hell?’ Even Zumiez is like, ‘What’s happening?’”
He theorized that individuals buying the “Virginity Rocks” apparel had been split in between young adults who endorsed the message and Mr. Duncan’s followers, who were carrying it ironically. Still, he explained, he thinks that the recognition of the shirt is earning virginity awesome amid Mr. Duncan’s supporters.
“I’m 32, so back when I was in substantial university you would not say that, but he’s produced it awesome with his fans in normal,” Mr. Toler reported. “If Danny’s lovers are virgins, they’re psyched to be virgins.”
Mr. Duncan has a trademark for use of the phrase on outfits, greetings cards and condoms, in accordance to general public data. Mr. Toler reported policing the trademark was “insane.” Continue to, he has been in a position to get rid of imitators on Amazon by employing the site’s brand registry and has been prosperous when he has sent e-mails to web-sites like Teespring, which will allow people today to customise apparel, inquiring them remove merchandise, he reported.
For some school administrators, the clothing has presented a confounding issue, and they have struggled to deal with its acceptance. Teens have been suspended for putting on shirts with the phrase at educational facilities in Oregon, Wisconsin and Missouri. That has outraged mother and father, who consider the clothing are bearing a optimistic concept.
One particular pupil at Roseburg Superior College, in Roseburg, Ore., was sent property in 2018 just after donning a “Virginity Rocks” shirt. His grandmother wrote a Fb put up pondering why the principal found it offensive. The college, which declined to remark when contacted by The New York Instances, explained to a regional information outlet at the time that the shirt would have been disruptive in course, and that the similar cure would have extended to shirts that said “Sex Rocks” or “Smoke A lot more Pot.” The school also gave the university student the option to convert the shirt inside out or alter into just one it furnished.
Mr. Duncan, who life in Los Angeles, subsequently frequented Roseburg, filming a video clip that he posted on YouTube. The video clip displays him emerging from a modern black van emblazoned with “Virginity Rocks” and remaining greeted by a substantial group of screaming teens in a parking great deal. He then distributes totally free “Virginity Rocks” shirts to the ebullient group, which commences chanting the phrase with him.
A superior school student in the Chetek-Weyerhaeuser school district in Wisconsin and a middle faculty student in Wentzville, Mo., have also been disciplined for wearing the shirts, in accordance to neighborhood news reports. Some of the incidents have been picked up by conservative information web-sites, which have framed them all-around the difficulty of colleges banning professional-abstinence clothes in an affront to Christian values.
“I really do not recognize why you would ban it,” Mr. Duncan claimed. Moreover, he added, “a lot of youngsters sort of like it when they’re not supposed to have it.”
Mr. Toler reported they might introduce a new established of items to deal with the situation. “We’ll place a censored bar about ‘virginity,’ but young children will know what it is, so that way faculties will not take the shirts and suspend them,” he explained.
On Instagram, the hashtag #virginityrocks qualified prospects to images of Mr. Duncan, selfies of youthful individuals sporting garments with the phrase and memes that are generally inappropriate. It also sales opportunities to images from Zumiez shops.
Mr. Duncan believes that the achievement of the expression is tied to his persona. It would signify some thing various if it experienced been popularized by Bam Margera, the professional skateboarder and “Jackass” star, he claimed, and send out however a further information if worn by the pastor Joel Osteen.
“The shirt would not promote if I didn’t have my experience behind it,” he explained. “I’m just attempting to get it as major as achievable.”