Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Teens & 'Tweens Demand Luxury Items for Back-to-School

Growing up, I was absolutely convinced that my family was one of the less well off in our town because my parents did not drive luxury cars, own the latest gadgets, vacation at exotic locales, or purchase designer clothes like most of the other families of my acquaintance. I knew we weren't poor as we fortunately never had to go without any of the basics. Still, I thought that we were towards the moderate end of the middle-class compared to my classmates' families. I found out later that my dad made a very typical salary for the area but my parents chose to live below their means rather than financing an extravagant lifestyle with consumer debt. When the economy tanked in the early '90's, many of my classmates' families wound up in real financial trouble while my family was fine.

I was reminded of this today when I saw an article on called "Teens seek luxury items for back-to-school wardrobes".

"Shopping for back-to-school apparel is a late summer ritual. But as 'tweens and teens become increasingly savvy about fashion, they're asking for luxury products, such as $200 designer handbags and $100-plus jeans....Bloomingdale's fashion director Stephanie Solomon said this year, teen shoppers at the department stores nationwide are clamoring after $300 Chanel sunglasses, designer handbags by Marc Jacobs, Chanel and Chloe -- which can cost between $900 and $1,250 -- and $200 to $300 Tory Burch shoes."
Would somebody please pass me the Tums?

"Amy Klaris, a branding specialist at consulting firm Kurt Salmon Associates, said over the past year or two years, having a luxury item has become more important to teens. 'There are so many icons out there right now for them,' Klaris said. 'There's more people they're looking up to and wanting to emulate, and they can do that through accessories.'"
The people I want my DD to look up to and emulate aren't fashionista celebrities but true role models whose actions are making this world a better place.

"Where parents put their foot down depends on their income, said Klaris. And while a wardrobe of Prada might be too much for a parent to handle, they might be more willing to spend on accessories, she said. 'They want their kids to fit in,' she said. 'They're still buying T-shirts at Target, but still having that (luxury) handbag.'"

Now we come to the crux of the matter: peer pressure. Teens and 'tweens have always worried about "fitting in". The rampant materialism of our culture filters down to our children and drives the appetite for luxury goods.

"Socialization" is such a cliche among those who are skeptical of homeschooling but is this type of socialization really healthy for children? Is it good for society for students (especially girls) to obsess over their physical appearances and neglect their intellectual and spiritual development?

1 comment:

Susan said...

Oh I am so with you on this! Even though I'm not a Thursday 13'er, I may have to piggyback and do one based on this on my blog too!!