Designers catering to teens and young adults

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  1. So how do you feel about teens having designer goods?

    Bubble Gum at Bergdorf's

    The people who brought you the $3,000 "it" bag and jewel-studded flip-flops have their eye on your children.

    Today's teens and young adults, acutely aware of the high-end designer labels around them, are increasingly expressing themselves through conspicuous consumption. And luxury-goods purveyors from Coach to Tiffany to Louis Vuitton are falling all over themselves to cater to them.

    Neiman Marcus Group is teaming up with designers such as Theory, Tory Burch and Nanette Lepore to create 31 exclusive, contemporary dresses for its department stores and plans to promote them during a "Hip Event" weekend March 23. Bergdorf Goodman has opened a special floor called 5F to attract the younger shopper. And Jones Apparel Group's Barneys New York is expanding its CO-OP stores, which also target younger shoppers.

    Leather-goods maker Dooney & Bourke offers an "It" collection of purses -- which range from $65 for a "bitsy" bag to $225 for a gymbag -- aimed at teens. Designed by co-founder Peter Dooney in collaboration with a group of young design students, the line has sold more than several hundred thousand units since its launch in 2003. The company calls its promotional events "teen tsunamis," because of the waves of teens that hit the stores to buy the new looks.

    In all, designer labels account for roughly 15.3% of U.S. clothing purchases by the current group of 13-to-17-year-olds, according to research firm NPD Group. Just five years ago, designer labels accounted for 9.6% of clothing purchases by the children who were then in the 13-to-17-year-old range. Among adults over 18 years old, the figure is 7% and has remained at that level for the past seven years.

    Driving the shift is a generation of young people often called the teenage "millennials" -- the adolescents and young adults born in the late 1980s to mid-90s. Of course there have always been teens who were focused on the "right" designer names, and marketers striving to sway them. (Remember Brooke Shields in her Calvins?) But apparel makers and retailers say the affluent millennials are particularly notable for their brand consciousness. Surrounded by brand references from Web sites, rap music, movies, magazines and MTV -- and showered with the best of everything by their baby boomer parents -- these young consumers have grown up knowing the difference between Prada and Ralph Lauren from an early age.

    "The generational changes are remarkable," says Lew Frankfort, chief executive of Coach, which estimates 5% of its North American sales are purchases by consumers 18 or younger. "Today's young people are much more discerning because they are bombarded with so many other choices, and information and knowledge is instantaneously available through the Internet," he says.

    Jenifer Scheehle, a 13-year-old eighth-grader who lives in Phoenix, already has amassed a sizable designer wardrobe, including a Louis Vuitton purse, Tiffany necklace and Marc Jacobs sweater -- most of it supplied by her parents or grandmother. She and her teenage friends, whom her mother describes as "fashion aware," regularly comb In Style, Seventeen and Girls' Life magazines for ideas.

    "I think kids are more style-conscious than I was at their age because of heightened advertising, more disposable income and the availability of fashionable clothing," says Jenifer's mother, 51-year-old Karin Scheehle. "When I was her age, I played tennis."

    Parents can struggle with how to handle teens' big-ticket requests. "If they keep their grades up, it is hard to say no," says Bill Doyle, 42, a Los Angeles father of three, including a 14-year-old daughter. She is very "on top of it" with designer taste that is "way over my head."

    The extremely young age at which children, particularly girls, are attracted to designer labels initially caught marketers by surprise. Jim Taylor, vice chairman Harrison Group, a Waterbury, Conn., research firm, who has long polled consumers on luxury brand preferences, never bothered with teens, whom he figured couldn't afford such brands.

    But about three years ago, one of his clients, French luxury powerhouse LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, said it was seeing a noticeable increase in the number of adolescents in Louis Vuitton boutiques. Mr. Taylor began trying to measure teen enthusiasm for certain names, such as Armani, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Coach. All have seen a "dramatic uptick" in popularity with the 1,000 teens he polls aged 13 to 18, he says. Twenty-seven percent of the teens surveyed last year said they "like" or "love" Armani, up from 15% in 2003, for instance.

    Marketing increasingly seeks to tap into this youth trend. Designer Marc Jacobs this month began using 12-year-old actress Dakota Fanning, star of the film "Charlotte's Web," to promote his spring 2007 collection in W and Vogue magazines. Dooney & Bourke hired Emma Roberts, the 16-year-old niece of Julia Roberts and star of Nickelodeon's hit show "Unfabulous," as its spokesmodel.

    Coach and Tiffany have introduced so-called aspirational products -- silver bracelets and smaller wallets and gadget cases, for instance, that many teens view as starter luxury products.

    Some marketers note that teens' early interest in designer goods could be a passing phase -- as many things are with young people. "If you are attaining these luxury products at a young age, it's very likely you might want something different when you hit your 30s and 40s," says Samantha Skey, executive vice president for strategic marketing at Alloy Media + Marketing, a firm that focuses on teens and young adults. "That might mean that the teens evolve beyond the ideals of consumption and brand acquisition."

    For now, consumption does seem to be the ideal. Alison Roach, a 14-year-old ninth-grader who lives in a suburb of Vancouver, Canada, can't afford to buy any of the designer clothes she sees on Web sites and in magazines. Still, she is planning for a future draped in luxury goods. She dreams up nicknames for designer gowns -- calling a flowing floor length Roberto Cavalli number "Emma," and a fitted blue Michael Kors gown, "Lily" -- and posts the names and photos on her blog: It is a way, says Alison, to express "what I would wear if I could, or hopefully will be wearing someday."

  2. I'm alright with it, just as long as the teen knows the value of the item, and is not just buying it for the brand or to be conformist.
  3. as a teen, i baby my lvs and treat them with respect!
    they are my birthday presents/good report card gifts.
    and if they think ONE lv bag and tiffany jewelry and a marc jacobs sweater is a lot, these reporters need to hightail it to my school, where people carry a new lv and/or chanel every day of the week!
    these people dont respect their bags, and they often get them just because.
    i buy mine because i like them, because of the quality, and because i despise fakes!
    i think there is a bit of a stereotype when it comes to teens and designer bags, (spoken in an incredibly non-accusatory tone) because some of them actually earn them!
    although i do think mtvs my super sweet sixteen is over the top!
    200,000 dollar birthday parties (not including the car!) are much worse than a little lv.

    (and thats how i feel :smile:
  4. I was in Sephora not too long ago just browsing around, and there was this little girl, I'd sat at the MOST she was 13, dressed head to tow in different designer items. I remember a burberry scarf, chanel bag, a coat i would die for, and other bits i cant remember. I honestly thought she looked [SIZE=-1]ridiculous, everything was just WAY to old for her. Might be slightly different, but this topic reminded me of this.
  5. I am on both sides with this subject. I feel if my daughter (in the future, no kids yet) is responsible enough she can carry the lesser priced bags of high end designers. I would get her a pochette or something. But see there is also a fine line. If I ever see my daughter ever judge or talk down to someone because they don't have a high end designer bag or act snotty like those girls on sweet sixteen or worse talk back to me and cuss, I would snatch those things right out of her hand. I don't mind seeing young girls carrying these things. Just as long as they have their attitude on check.
  6. Wow...very well said...thats just about EXACTLY what I was going to say!!!
  7. A child who is bought designer things can most definitely learn how to value his/her things. It's not about the price tag on the things purchased, but the values that parents instill. Some kids know once they disrespect their parents or step out of line, they can kiss their priviledges goodbye.

    On the other hand, I know children that don't have a lot, but break their toys and things constantly and treat them terribly. They obviously don't value their things, although there isn't a high price tag on those things. So, in the end, it's really all about instilled values, not the dollar sign on what the child desires.
  8. I understand the move of these companies, who wouldn´t develop in that way when there are so many opportunities to make even bigger $$$ ??
    Far far away the time when we were treated like sh*t in the shops as teens, bc non potential buyer.....
    But I find it very very sad, the kids should have their own big brands and then move to luxury when they become adults and can afford it themselves, otherwise what do they have to look forward to, what can they build themselves ???
    I am very pro "children world" let the children be children, "Teen world", and then "adult world"...everything is mixed now and so there´s confusion of values.....
    Luxury is by definition something that can be attained by a minority.
  9. Then they picture a girl with a fake LV MC Pochette..
  10. As a teen myself (16) I do not think it is a problem that teenagers have these things as long as (A) - they are willing to buy or at least part pay towards the item (B) - they know how took look after the said items and (C) - they have the right attitude to have the said item and can appreciate it!
  11. I don't think it's so bad for 15-16 year old girls to want a Coach bag or silver Tiffany jewelry. Anything more than that, though, seems strange to me. Any younger and I would wonder: why isn't she worried about playing tennis or riding horses or any of the other stuff young girls are supposed to have fun with? When I was under 18, it really never occurred to me that I should be lusting after what my mom had or that I should somehow be entitled to it.
  12. My sister and I carried Gucci bags when we were teenagers (now we're in our 30s). Believe me, our parents did NOT buy these items for us! We paid for them with our part time or babysitting jobs. I think that's why we took such good care of our things and we still do. My LV Speedy 25 is over 15 years old and I still carry it!
  13. i'm a seventeen year old and have the only fetish for bags (soon i'll be posting my small, but hopefully growing collection up) and i treat my bags with the utmost respect. my parents don't purchase them for me, that would leave me witha guilty conscience considering they have the remainder of my hs education and college+dorm to pay for at FIT! i work hard for my stuff.

    some people blame me for being stingy and not letting them borrow my things. well, when you've spent $1,200 on a stam bag, it's not likely i'd be throwing it around for people to use, you know. =)
  14. what is that in yout avatar? :confused1:
  15. As a teen in this materialistic society, I do not fall victim towards designer clothes.... But I do with purses. I LOVE designer purses as they are good quality items, fun to collect and just a joy *and no, I'm not saying money can buy happiness.* It makes ya feel good that you saved money for that one item, or worked really hard for it. Example: I went to a workout camp and got my first coach swingpack.

    I dislike those people that say "Oh, all teens don't know the value.. Want to fit in... Want people to be jealous.." Because for quite a few of us, it's not true!