Dedicated Follower Of Fashion (Or Else)

Thought-provoking piece for marketers yesterday in the WSJ Online, looking at the marketing of designer clothing to kids and the related pressures it’s bringing about for kids at younger and younger ages.

Excerpt: “…today, guidance counselors and psychologists say, fashion bullying is reaching a new level of intensity as more designers launch collections targeted at kids… more than one-third of middle-school students responded “yes” when asked whether they are bullied because of the clothes they wear.”

Also interesting that there’s no comment included here from designers or retailers. I wonder how they’d have responded. After all, it’s the kind of thing that PR people, ad people, marketers, etc., are in business to create — the must-have product for the target audience, surrounded in a swirl of unreasonable loyalty.

It’s a success. Right?

Hmm.  Hmmmm.  Nothing like a little occupational introspection to close out the week.

— Hornseth

4 thoughts on “Dedicated Follower Of Fashion (Or Else)

  1. John Merritt says:

    Far be it from me to give our profession a pass on our culpability related this issue, but it seems to me that there’s a larger issue at play here that isn’t addressed in the WSJ article.

    Research on the consumer socialization of children shows that self-esteem plays a critical role in the development of materialism — so much so that, among early adolescents, nurturing high self-esteem can actually negate the intense materialism that typically kicks in around age 12-13.

    So, rather than point fingers at “the media” and “mean girls,” it would make more sense for parents to ask themselves what values they are instilling in their kids, and whether they are doing their best to help their kids nurture an appropriate sense of self-esteem.

    Because, as the saying goes, when you point your finger at someone you’re also pointing 3 fingers at yourself.

  2. Chung says:

    Consumer marketers would pimp their grandmothers if it worked.

    Uniforms in school. How much more evidence is needed?!

    Young skulls of mush should not be distracted by the Gap, Old Navy, etc.

    BTW … MTV and VH1 are the Stage 4 cancer of our youth culture. Turn off the damn tube, too.

  3. Kelly Groehler says:

    Oh, I’m in complete agreement with Mr. Merritt here. There is a great book out there, called Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. We have 24 year-olds driving Beemers, Coach purses in every manicured hand, and out-of-control consumer debt. Kids are fashion accessories, dolls to be dressed up. It’s a sad commentary on our culture’s inability to live within our means and be happy with ourselves.

    And yes, I am fully aware of where I work.

    But I’m also a parent of a five year-old boy. And my husband and I control whether he plays video games, what he watches on television, and the music to which he listens. And he does none of the above without one of us doing it with him.

    We aren’t perfect, and it’s hard work – the hardest job I’ve ever had. But we are responsible for helping him cope with bullying, marketing, and other pressures as he grows, and we understand the consquences of not parenting him.

  4. Kelly Groehler says:

    And on that self-righteous note, my husband just asked if we should watch the first Harry Potter today with our son. Sigh.

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