One Direction

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RPF Fandom
Name(s): One Direction, 1D
Scope/Focus: Pop group/music fandom/RPF
Date(s): 2010 -
See also: Radio 1 RPF, 5 Seconds of Summer, Little Mix
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One Direction is an English/Irish boy band that was formed to compete in the British reality show The X Factor in 2010, and went on to release several very successful albums and singles.

As of November 2015, the group has completed four world concert tours. They also went on tour with other X Factor contestants in 2011.

The original members are Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson. Zayn officially left the band on March 25th 2015, with the rest continuing as a four-piece.[1]

On 23 August 2015, it was reported that 1D would go on a year-long hiatus starting March 2016. Many people assumed it would be permanent.

1D Canon

The canon consists of One Direction's members' original appearance on the reality show, plus their concerts, albums, music videos, video diaries, interviews, books, photo shoots, award ceremonies, other television appearances, band members' and families' personal twitter accounts, media gossip, authorized candid photos and selfies, and unauthorized candid photos by paparazzi and fans.

Official filmed footage includes, but is not limited to, The X Factor season 7, a concert DVD from the first solo tour (Up All Night: The Live Tour), a documentary/concert film shot during the second tour (One Direction: This Is Us), a concert film from the third tour (One Direction: Where We Are - The Concert Film), as well as 15 music videos (as of November 2015) and three perfume. commercials.

Tours: Up All Night (December 2011-July 2012), Take Me Home (February-November 2013), Where We Are (April-October 2014), On the Road Again (February-October 2015).

Discography: studio albums Up All Night (18 November 2011), Take Me Home (9 November 2012), Midnight Memories (25 November 2013), Four (17 November 2014), Made in the A.M. (13 November 2015). See Wikipedia for more.

1D Fandom

See Timeline of One Direction Fandom
Popular Tumblr gif depicting the band members during their X Factor auditions in 2010. A well-made 1D gif post can easily amass tens of thousands of notes on Tumblr; this one has almost 300,000. The high note count may be partially due to the original poster's use of the post as a fandom roll-call ("every directioner should reblog this ♥"), but the subject matter (fetus!Direction) was bound to please. Other crowd-pleasers include shirtless beach scenes, Harry in his underwear, Harry getting hit in the crotch with a shoe, and everyone falling down.
1D fanworks posted to AO3, 2011-2021

In addition to interest in the group's music, the major fandom appeal factors of One Direction include the members' physical attractiveness, their goofy charm in interviews and performance videos, their presence on social media, the fact that they are very physically affectionate with one another, and the overall impression that they are genuinely good friends and enjoy what they are doing. Many fans will admit to a fave, but some fans are interested in the band because of one of its members while other fans are interested in the members because of the band.

The fandom seems to have appeared on Twitter and Tumblr almost immediately following their first performance as a group and quickly gained momentum.[2] Until 2013ish, there was also significant fan activity on LiveJournal, but due to LJ fandom's migration to Tumblr, 1D LJ comms have been less active since then. The earliest LJ comm was created while One Direction was still on The X Factor.

Many fans call themselves "Directioners" [3]. These fans refer to newer fans of One Direction, generally fans from after One Direction released music in the United States, "directionators" as a differentiating feature.

Fans have created much fanart and Tumblr gifs, vids, crafts, posters to bring to concerts, along with a great many fanfics, including slash, het (with girlfriends), gen, and self-insertion (often Mary Sue) fics. Awareness of 1D fanfic is so great that a free iPhone app "One Direction Fan fiction" was released in September 2012.[4] Some non-RPF parts of the fanbase disapprove of 1D fanfic.

Wattpad is by far the most popular platform for One Direction fanfic (see onedirection and 1direction tags).[5][6] A lot of fanfic also gets posted on Tumblr, Archive of Our Own and even on, although prohibits RPF. is a large single-fandom archive. Around early December 2012, One Direction became one of the top 5 fandoms in the Music & Bands category on Archive of Our Own after reaching over 2400 works.[7] By September 2013 1D hit over 14,000 works to become the most popular fandom in the category, surpassing Bandom. 1D maintained the top position for years until late October 2016, before K-Pop fandom reached reached 47,700 works and took the top spot. 1D fell again to third place in March 2018, when BTS surpassed it by hitting 52,300 works.[8]

On the AO3, the vast majority of 1D fanfics are slash.[9] In contrast, contains 83% het stories, at least half of them featuring OFCs.[10]

The target audience of One Direction and other boy bands is tween girls, and anecdotal evidence suggests that a large portion of fans active on Tumblr and Twitter are indeed teenagers. However, there are older fans on these sites, as well as older fans on other platforms like LiveJournal complaining about 1D fandom being overrun by teenagers (see every 1D discussion on Fail Fandomanon). Fanfic archives appear to be largely segregated by age--Wattpad[11] and attract teenagers, whereas AO3 skews older.

In 2015, three of 1D ships made the "most reblogged ships" on Tumblr list: Larry Stylinson, Ziam, and Narry.[12]

See the List of One Direction Fests & Exchanges.

Connections to Other Fandoms

In the very beginning, when One Direction was still on The X Factor, it was considered part of X Factor fandom. Early tagging on the Audiofic Archive, for example, lumped the two together.[13]

A large contingent of fans from Bandom (the six degrees of Pete Wentz American rock band fandom) migrated to 1D, so 1D is sometimes lumped in with that fandom, though there are few connections between 1D and those bands and none before the migration from Bandom started; it was reported that Fall Out Boy wrote music with (for?) 1D at one point in 2014, but those songs weren't on the album. 1D is technically a part of bandom in the broadest sense of the term (any fandom for a band), and although rock fans tend not to see boy bands as "real" bands or their music as "real" music[14], it is occasionally labeled as (a) bandom.[15][16][17]

The contributors to the Slash Report episode on One Direction described 1D fandom as "popslash 2.0".[18] Popslash was another RPF fandom that drew in media fans and others from outside the typical boyband fan demographic, and many fans who remember popslash in its heyday (early 2000s) have commented on 1D being a new incarnation of popslash. At least one (cyclogenesis) and probably a few popslashers wound up in 1D fandom, because they migrated to Bandom and some of Bandom migrated to 1D. However, there are several major differences between the situations of these two fandoms: popslash revolved around American singers, the acts' origins were not televised, online contact between stars and fans was nonexistent, and access to videos and still images of the bands was far more limited. The majority of active 1D fans are too young to remember popslash, and former popslashers do not seem to be a large presence in the new fandom. To hear popslash fans tell it now, popslash was also older, smaller, and lacking in tinhattery. Slash Report described 1D fandom as "worse than J2"[18] and said that many of the younger fans lack boundaries; in another episode, they commented that "It's basically a fandom that's 50% people who are the kind of people who would send a sex box to Michael Rosenbaum."[19] For older fans, they recommended finding like-minded Tumblr users to follow instead of tracking the fandom tags.[18]

1D has worked or interacted personally with a number of other current musicians, some of whom, like Taylor Swift, have their own existing fanbase, but often RPF fanfic about these other acts seems to have appeared only after their connection to 1D. See #Crossovers below. A notable exception is Justin Bieber, though in his case, the connection to 1D is tenuous.


graph showing the relative popularity of different slash pairings in 1D fanworks on the AO3 2012-2020
graph showing the relative popularity of different slash pairings in 1D fanworks on the AO3 on a monthly basis 2013-2015

Five band members make for 26 combinations for shipping in pairs and groups.[20] The most popular ship is Louis Tomlinson/Harry Styles, aka Larry Stylinson, but almost every possible ship has its adherents, including OT5. The boys are also shipped with people outside of the band, including both canon ships (past and present girlfriends) and noncanon ships. See also Crossovers.

The Larry Stylinson ship is notorious even outside of 1D fandom for the faction of shippers who believe that Harry and Louis are secret boyfriends in real life[21]. Other ships have also attracted tinhats, though not to the same extent. There is an active "X is real" tumblr tag for several pairings, including Zayn/Liam (ziam is real) and Harry/Niall (narry is real). However, some uses of the "X is real" tags are tongue-in-cheek. For specific tinhat theories, see Larry Is Real and Ziam Is Real.

Fans mostly agree on the smushnames for all ten intra-band pairings (see this Tumblr gif set by itsgottabe1d):

Characters Involved Smooshname
Niall Horan/Zayn Malik Ziall
Niall Horan/Liam Payne Niam
Niall Horan/Harry Styles Narry
Niall Horan/Louis Tomlinson Nouis
Zayn Malik/Liam Payne Ziam
Zayn Malik/Harry Styles Zarry
Zayn Malik/Louis Tomlinson Zouis
Liam Payne/Harry Styles Lirry
Liam Payne/Louis Tomlinson LiLo
Harry Styles/Louis Tomlinson Larry

See List of One Direction Ship Names for the complete list.

Tropes & Memes

Flower Crown Harry Tumblr meme example
Punk Direction example by Tumblr user punkdirections
  • Flower Crown Harry - Tumblr/Twitter meme started in March 2013 that generated so many photoshopped images of the band wearing flower crowns that some fans were inspired to throw real flower crowns onstage at concerts, resulting in canon flower!crown!Harry photos that are difficult to distinguish from some of the more sophisticated fan edits. See the AO3 tag Flower Child Harry for more fanworks.
  • Punk Direction - Flower Crown Harry is often paired with a photoshopped Punk Louis, but every member of the band has received a punk makeover at some point in fanart and fanfic. 1D punk edits date back to at least December 12, 2012.[22] Likewise, the earliest punk stories on the AO3 date to December 2012.[23] (Note that four of the five members now have multiple tattoos in real life, and the fifth temporarily dyed his hair lilac in response to the prevalence of such edits.) See the punk direction tumblr tag.
  • AUs, particularly High School and College AUs, are very popular in fanfiction. One quarter of 1D fanworks posted on AO3 are tagged as AUs (and not all AUs are tagged).[24]
  • Girl Direction - genderswapped versions of 1D. See the Tumblr tag, the AO3 tag, and this Girl Direction Fic Fest on LJ from 2012
  • Sold to One Direction - fanfic trope where a character is sold into slavery as part of the band.
  • Tour fic - fanfic set during one of 1D's concert tours. Although 1D members have implied in interviews that they are actually quite boring and virtuous on tour, the rules of tourfic dictate that in fanfic they must have alcoholic binges, groupies, intraband orgies, and lots of angsty pining.
  • X Factor Era - fanfic set during the band's appearance on The X Factor or the X Factor tour. A subgenre is Bungalow Era, when the band spent time together at a bungalow after the X Factor boot camp but before judges' houses.
  • Post One Direction - fanfic set after the band breaks up; as of 2015 this is all future fic, though much of it has already been jossed by Zayn's departure.

In 2012, ran a story making fun of the self-insert 1D member/OFC fanfic written by teenagers. They identified several types of stories: Girl Runs into 1D on the Street. NBD.; "I Saw Her Face in the Crowd and Can't Stop Thinking About Her"; One Direction Goes to High School... in America?; All the Boys Love [Insert Name Here]; Saved By 1D; 5 Girls, One Direction [25]


There are a lot of crossover fanworks based on 1D's known associations with other public figures. As of March 29, 2014, on the AO3, BBC Radio 1 was the most popular crossover fandom and Nick Grimshaw/Harry Styles was the most popular crossover pairing.[26] Crossovers with other bands include Little Mix (as Little Mix member Perrie Edwards was engaged to former 1D member Zayn), 5 Seconds of Summer (who toured with One Direction), and Union J (who competed in The X Factor two years after One Direction).[27]

In an example of fandoms crossing the streams, One Direction's 2011 hit single, What Makes You Beautiful, was used as the music in this clever, widely seen Sherlock (BBC) fanvid, Sherlock In Love, where it serves as the bouncy audio component to the vidder's reimagining the show as a romantic comedy.

Fans Turned Pro

Several books have been published based on One Direction fanfiction. Loving the Band by Emily Baker[28] was a direct pull-to-publish book by joint publication through Movellas, while Catch My Breath by M.J. O'Shea is allegedly only "inspired by" Larry Stylinson.[29]

In 2014, The Washington Post reported that After by imaginator1D, a popular Wattpad fic, would be published professionally.[30]

The popular fic Escapade received a publishing deal from Dreamspinner Press in November 2015.

Communities and Archives

Other Fannish Resources

Notable Fanworks





Further Reading/Meta

Official Links


  1. ^ One Direction Facebook Post, Wednesday 25 March 2015
  2. ^ The first "live show" was broadcast on October 9, but the "judges houses" show was on October 2. Although many early Tumblr blogs and posts have since been deleted, the One Direction tag, along with the tags for each of the individual members, can be traced back to October 2. The first genuine post remaining (a few anachronistic, perhaps revised or backdated, posts are excluded) tagged One Direction is by jonasstyles on October 2 (archived). Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, and Zayn Malik's first post is by disneyreject. The first post tagged Harry Styles was on September 19 and was indicative of things to come: i think i just fell in love? by welovedream. An early Tumblr blog created on or before October 5, team1direction, commented on October 9 that "We only made this account Monday and we nearly have 200 followers! Wow, thanks everyone!"[1]
  3. ^ Tumblr tag "directioner", accessed 2012-08-23
  4. ^ One Direction Fan fiction app page on the Apple iTunes store accessed 2012-9-16
  5. ^ Destinationtoast's cross-platform multifandom analysis of AO3, FFN, and Wattpad included data for One Direction: 106224 stories on Wattpad, compared to 23686 on AO3 and 3599 on See the 10 April 2014 Tumblr post. The archive One Direction Fanfiction is not mentioned in destinationtoast's post, but only has half the number of fics as Wattpad (48616 as of 11 May 2014). See
  6. ^ Getting an accurate count of 1D fanfics on Wattpad is difficult because Wattpad is organized like a social media site and not like an archive. A simple keyword search for "One Direction" returned 112,867 stories. However, not all the results appeared to be 1D-related. Narrowing the search to the Fanfiction category returned 90,326 results, though not all 1D fic is necessarily categorized as Fanfiction. (Search conducted on Wattpad's story search page 14 January 2015.)
  7. ^ Fandoms on AO3, archived December 19 2012
  8. ^ Fandoms on AO3, archived March 12 2018
  9. ^ As of 11 May 2014, 88% of One Direction fanworks (21285 of 24067) were labeled M/M. To compare, half of all fanworks on the AO3 (560224 of 1106893) are labeled M/M.
  10. ^ As of 11 May 2014, 40117 stories out of 48616 are in the het category. See 49% or 19463 of the 40117 in the het category have "OCF" listed as one of the characters, but a glance at the first page of results shows that the OCF tag is not applied to all OCF stories. This Fanlore editor suspects that the vast majority of the M/F stories pair a band member with an original character. [2]
  11. ^ "If you are just looking at One Direction fandom from Wattpad, you would definitely think that there wasn't anybody--or that there were only 10 people over the age of 25." -- Fansplaining: Cataloging Fandom (April 6, 2016)
  12. ^ Tumblr 2015 Year in Review: Most Reblogged Ships.
  13. ^ tweet from jinjurly, 2014.
  14. ^ Rock fans were not alone in this. See Te's complaint about boyband slash in 2001: Why can't you people slash a *real* band?[3]
  15. ^ For example, the Tumblr bandometiquette includes a 1D post (September 4, 2012)
  16. ^ The bandom tag on Epic Recs includes 1D.[4]
  17. ^ 2017 dreamwidth post: Currently, I'm wallowing in a bandom for One Direction.
  18. ^ a b c Slash Report 220: 'One Direction', podcast by Rageprufrock, Merelyn and Cherrybina, released August 12, 2012.[5]
  19. ^ Slash Report episode 305 The Fourth Wall, released March 24, 2013.
  20. ^ According to the math people in Fanlore chat, 19 April 2014. twosomes = 120/2*(3!) = 120/12 = 10. threesomes = 120/6*2 = 10. foursomes = 120/(4*3*2)(1) = 5. fivesomes = 1
  21. ^ One Direction fans have trouble separating their Larry Stylinson fantasy from reality -- the Daily Dot, August 22, 2012 by Aja Romero, accessed 2014-12-26
  22. ^ AU: Louis Tomlinson, Drop dead model, reblogged at 10 pm on December 12, 2012, or this untitled Punk Louis edit, reblogged at 2 p.m, may be the earliest punk direction edit. (The original posts have since been deleted.) Five days later (December 17), Louis Tomlinson mentioned the Punk Louis edits on Twitter. "Just seen all these punk edits of pictures of me, makes me want more tattoos !!" (tweeted at 5:09 AM). It is likely no coincidence that tumblrs punkdirections and punkonedirectionedits started posting that same day. The punk louis (December 14), punk larry (December 16), 1d punk (December 17), and 1d punk edits (December 17) tags also started in December 2012.
  23. ^ Filtering by the Punk tag + One Direction and sorting by date gets you Beat Your Heart Out by unapologetic_thirst posted December 14, 2012.
  24. ^ Of 24032 One Direction fanworks, 5594 were in the Alternate Universe tag filter. 964 were tagged as specifically High School AUs, and 707 were tagged College/University AUs. Data taken from AO3 on 10 May 2014.[6] A 2013 statistical analysis of AU popularity showed that 1D fandom had the third highest percentage of AUs of all fandoms on the AO3. See 2 August 2013 Tumblr post by destinationtoast.
  25. ^ Brie Hiramine. The Different Types of One Direction Fan Fiction that Exist,, October 12, 2012. (Accessed 26 May 2014)
  26. ^ As of March 29, 2014: 834 of 23446 One Direction fanworks were also tagged Radio 1. There were 801 total Nick Grimshaw/Harry Styles fanworks. More fanworks included Perrie Edwards/Zayn Malik (927), but most of these were not tagged as crossovers with her band and were likely including Perrie/Zayn as a canon background pairing. See the sort/filter bar on the One Direction page.
  27. ^ As of March 29, 2014: 233 fanworks tagged Little Mix, 132 tagged 5 Seconds of Summer, and 86 tagged Union J.
  28. ^ One Direction fanfiction story to become book accessed 2013-9-30
  29. ^ Catch My Breath by M.J. O'Shea accessed 2013-9-30.
  30. ^ Caitlin Dewey. This One Direction erotica has been read by more people than live in the U.S. And its author just scored a huge book deal.[7], The Washington Post, 5 June 2014. (Accessed 7 June 2014)