Anybody here has anything regardnig children's trends for fall 06, specifically girls 4-6x and 7-16, I have to do some early trend research fo monday. I have done some things, but I would like to make sure I'm on good track.
I certainly hope that the tides will turn and kids will start looking like kids again. It is almost impossible to find appropriate and not adult clothing for little girls. I shop the boys' department and choose dark blue, straight leg classic jeans, sensible sweaters and oxford cloth shirts...the girls departments of the usual suspects are replete with cheap looking schmattas, tshirts with lame sayings or bling attached and copies of the worst of what is available for adults. The high end euro import shops are way too expensive and seem to have been bitten by the same tasteless virus as the mass-market stores. Kids should not be consumed with fashion!
^ i totally agree...
i am a designer ...and i am constantly asked to design kidswear like womenswear...
and i so dont like doing that...
kids look good when they wear clothes that make them look like kids...and notadults
Its not easy being the mother of a little girl when all what's available is embarrassing and tacky. Even LLBean, Land's End (i.e. "traditional") are succumbing to the madness. Available colors are tacky, fabric is tawdry and quality is pathetic. High end stuff like Oilily is impractical and in its own way as distasteful as Old Navy. Let the revolution begin here. Kids need warm ,functional clothes not grotesque copies of last year's trends!
If you've seen recent advertisements for J.C. Penney, you may think that the hot trend for back-to-school fashions is the alcoholic look.
With "novelty tees" sporting the logos of major liquor brands, the clothes raise questions about corporate responsibility. More importantly, though, the appearance of such clothing in a country so protective of its children indicates that Americans have become numb to the constant barrage of advertising and media images. The United States has become Logoland.
Back to school with whiskey
J.C. Penney catalogs for back-to-school clothes were sent out nationally as an insert in Sunday newspapers. Alongside the photo of a model, who appears to be junior high or high school age, is a spread of T-shirts emblazoned with logos for Jack Daniel's, Budweiser, Miller Lite and Guinness. Although they are described as "men's novelty tees," the shirts appear in a section devoted to "young men's, boys' and girls'" fashions. Similar T-shirts are also being sold at Target and several other stores that do a brisk business in back-to-school fashions.
Jack Daniel's, an 80-proof whiskey, seems to be particularly focused on the family market with an online "music studio," games and a large selection of apparel. For several years, the company sponsored a promotion at the family restaurant T.G.I. Friday's, with an entire section of the menu devoted to recipes featuring Jack Daniel's. While the 10-year-olds ordering a Jack Burger were unlikely to catch a buzz, there was still something unsettling about watching children peruse the whiskey-infused selections.
Other American corporations have also been using alcohol as a marketing tool. Abercrombie & Fitch, whose customers are primarily teenagers and young adults, recently promoted shirts printed with slogans such as "Bad girls chug. Good girls drink quickly" and "Candy is dandy. But liquor is quicker."
A study presented at this year's annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies found that "promotional items are related to early onset drinking." The authors of the study urged the alcohol industry to stop marketing to children through the use of promotional items in the same way that the tobacco industry did a decade ago. That this type of marketing reaches children is beyond dispute. Studies have shown that children age 6 to 17 are more familiar with ads from Budweiser than those promoting Pepsi, Barbie, Snickers or Nike.
The great irony of the "protect the children" campaigns put forward by conservatives is that they are more concerned with the sexuality of SpongeBob and Tinkie Winkie than the relentless promotion of violence and alcohol to kids. It seems that, for cultural conservatives, the physical survival of children is less important than their sexual chastity. After all, the ultraviolent video game "Grand Theft Auto" was tolerated for years until it was discovered that advanced players were able to unlock hidden sexual scenes.
Interestingly, conservative pundits never protest advertising that positions masculinity as the ultimate aspiration. And what could be more masculine than a shot of Jack Daniel's before heading out with your semiautomatic?
This is not simply a theoretical discussion. Alcohol does have a devastating impact on adolescents. The Marin Institute in Northern California reports that children who drink by 7th grade are "more likely to report academic problems, substance abuse and delinquent behavior." Even more shocking, young people who drink by 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism later in life. Perhaps the most "sobering" statistic is that more than 1,700 college students in the United States are killed each year in alcohol-related accidents.
Life in Logoland
As distressing as the direct effects of such ads and media images may be, what they say about American culture is even more disheartening. In a culture that is entirely consumer driven, everything becomes a sales pitch rather than an authentic statement of values. In Logoland, nothing means anything unless it sells a product, and those products themselves are losing their meanings.
At one end of the spectrum, Harley-Davidson once stood for the American outlaw spirit. Now it is just as likely to indicate too much middle-age flesh piled on top of a groaning heap of metal. At the other end, Wal-Mart wrapped itself in the flag, until it was revealed that the company was forcing manufacturing to China.
Corporate interests are not the only ones represented by meaningless logos and promotions. Charities have excelled at raising money by substituting merchandise for real activism and beliefs. This trend came into its own with the red AIDS ribbon from the 1980s that soon morphed into a rainbow of colors to indicate support for (though not necessarily any action toward) helping those suffering from breast cancer and other diseases.
The Lance Armstrong "Livestrong" bracelets have updated the ribbons into a more durable but equally meaningless statement. Few who wear the yellow rubber bracelets know or care that they began as a fundraising and public visibility campaign for cancer. The bracelets are more accurately seen as a promotion for the athletic corporations that hawk them. Like the ribbons, the bands are now produced in a range of colors by other charities. And, in true corporate fashion, the Livestrong bracelets have been reselling on eBay at more than 20 times their original cost.
Before it became Logoland, the U.S. was a big country, marked by distinct cultures. Los Angeles and San Francisco were defined by the natural beauty of California and a propensity for social experimentation. Chicago mixed the nation's most cosmopolitan architecture with Midwestern earnestness. New York hung on the edge of the continent, leaning toward the European cultures that shaped it. And Miami was an exotic blend of Latin lushness and Southern propriety.
Now I can travel through these cities and think only about finding the nearest Starbucks. My eyes slip past Sears Tower or the Seagram Building while comparing the size of the Niketown store to the one in my hometown. Who needs to lug home Amish antiques or Cuban folk art when Restoration Hardware offers tastefully bland quirkiness?
There is a creeping sameness in America that has been carefully cultivated by corporate interests. Corporations know there is a comfort in familiarity even if it means the destruction of individual identities. Not even our cities are real anymore. One of the most popular spots in Los Angeles is a mini-city called The Grove, where the central square is anchored not by a city hall but an Apple Store, and snow falls at 7:30 every evening in December. Even New York, once the great resister of mall life, has welcomed the Time Warner Center, where fine dining is available on the mezzanine level, just above a Borders bookstore and J.Crew.
The corporate interests that have replaced American culture feed us an addictive stream of logos, images and simulated life. We may not be able to reverse course and return to a more meaningful time. But we can at least think about what it means for a child to wear a Jack Daniel's T-shirt.