This week marks one of the most monumental anniversaries in boy band history. Ten years ago on July 23rd, One Direction was formed on ‘The X Factor’ and fangirls around the world haven’t been the same since. Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, and Liam Payne entered the U.K. singing competition solo but then were placed together and eventually became one of the best-selling boy bands of all time.
In the span of five years, the group put out five albums, headlined four tours and even released two concert films. They were music-making machines, but arguably a lot of their success was fueled by their fiercely loyal fans, known as Directioners. They would swarm concerts in the thousands and would push to get albums and songs to Number One. Directioners considered themselves family and consistently displayed their adoration with massive fan projects like the one featured in this clip. For a group that was churning out one album after another and touring in-between releases, you could tell that this was a moment where the band felt like all their hard work was all worth it.
In June 2014, One Direction played at San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy during their Where We Are Tour. The shows were recorded for the band’s second concert film, One Direction: This Is Us. About halfway through the movie, one of the most emotional scenes takes place when the stadium goes dark and every single member of the audience holds up a piece of paper. An overhead look reveals the words “We Are 1D Family” formed across the crowd. If it’s possible to have an intimate moment among thousands of people, this would be it. The best part of it all is the genuine look of surprise on the young men’s faces. Niall’s smile is so big it could light up Milan. Louis, as he sings the opening lines of “Right Now,” tries to concentrate but knows there’s something much bigger happening. Harry hits Liam’s arm and points to the crowd like a boy trying to get his mother’s attention.
Even though it’s been five years since the group split, Directioners maintain the same energy as they patiently wait for a reunion. Fan projects continue to pop up at the guy’s solo shows and TikTok is filled with a slew of girls reminiscing, while also plotting their plans for the July 23rd anniversary.