Aéropostale Wants Teens To Dress Alike So They Don't Get Teased At School
Retailers specifically targeted toward teens haven't been able to keep their heads above water lately. Delia*s might not last the year, rendering many grievances among twentysomethings, who most likely have the retailer's memorable catalogues archived in their closets. Abercrombie & Fitch just can't seem to get it together. Hollister is still trying. The most relevant, lone survivor appears to be Aéropostale, but even they are struggling (though Lucky's Editor-in-Chief, Eva Chen, recently sported a purse from the retailer). To maintain its resonance with teens, the company's CEO made a statement this week that teens should dress the same to not get teased. But, that might not have been the best statement to make to keep the kids around.
According to Buzzfeed, Aéropostale's newly appointed CEO, Julian Geiger, told investors:
“The teenager today wants to fit in. They want to fit in by wearing things that make them feel safe. If there’s a brand promise to Aéropostale, it’s that the teenager can wear our clothes, go to school and not be teased or made fun of [for] the way they look.”
The CEO goes on to state that he understands that teen's strive for individuality, but they still "want to be accepted," and a "uniform" would help them achieve that. The retailer's age bracket includes 14 to 17 year olds, and while one might argue that not only teens, but also fashionable adults, want to follow a trend, that doesn't necessarily mean they want to dress alike, especially to avoid getting talked about. With the ever-changing age of the Internet, one could argue that websites, such as Tumblr and Instagram, have ushered in a way for teens to express their individuality in a multiplicity of ways. Further evidence of some of the top teen socialites, such as Willow and Jaden Smith, Tavi Gevinson and Zendaya, show that teens are crafting their own identities through what they choose to wear, which looks nothing like wearing the same thing all the time.
Even American Apparel gets it. This week, the retailer thumbed 15-year-old Brendan Jordan–who gained much popularity after vogueing during a live newscast–as its newest model. In an advertisement, American Apparel writes that they have seen his "spontaneity" and "applaud his efforts with the LGBTQ community." Even Gap has promoted kids' individuality, gaining many cheers after releasing its autumn kids' collection, which featured a girl with cerebral palsy.
Although it might be true that Aéropostale's struggle to stay afloat is widely influenced by fast fashion retailers such as Forever 21 and H&M, it's plight might also be its focus on uniformity and boxing teens in. Some of the coolest kids who choose to be different have Instagram and Twitter followers almost twice, or three times, the age of adults. That might be all the cues needed to believe that fitting in is so out of style.