The back to school season is in full swing, and what better place to shop but in Santa Monica. The youth market spends over $100 billion each year on back to school products, a huge boon to retailers. The female market represents two thirds of all purchases.
Last fall the style was to wear the “homeless-dumpster Mary Kate Olsen look.” Since last fall’s trash has been taken out, let’s see what is really happening in back to school fashion this year.
This season’s hottest items are skinny jeans, fur jackets, leggings and short skirts. From Teen Vogue to Santa Monica boutiques, the hip stores are featuring plaid minis, tiny jean jackets, tweed and fur coats, shorts, skinny jeans and chunky turtlenecks. Most of this fall’s fashions will make the ex-flower children of the 1960’s feel right at home. One Santa Monica boutique owner described this fall’s fashion as, “The British are coming!”
The youth market can be very fickle. What was “in” last year will definitely be “out” the next. This fall, fashion retailers are going back to basics…but with a 60’s twist. Stores in Santa Monica, and all over the Westside, are on the leading edge of back to school fashion. Local stores such as Wet Seal (www.wetseal.com), Urban Outfitters (www.urbanoutfitters.com), Ron Herman (www.ronherman.com), Fred Segal (www.fredsegal.com) and Abercrombie and Fitch (www.abercrombieandfitch.com) are showing pretty feminine tops, striped t-shirts and vests over skinny jeans, leggings and shorts. Baby doll dresses are a must-have. Everything can be worn with cute, colorful, ballet flats, Vans slip-ons and cool boots, along with leather-quilted handbags.
It is not only clothes that make back to school the second largest selling season for most retailers; young people are also buying electronic and tech merchandise big-time. The Razor is still the cell phone of choice. Young people love to text message friends on Sidekicks and listen to tunes and watch videos on iPods. Apple’s iBook is the computer of choice.
Teenagers are big spenders, plus they are also a huge influence on the adult market. Retailers are expecting a big back to school season this year, because there are so many new products that young people must have. Look for mom and dad to follow some of these trends as well.