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Teenage Rebellion: The Role of Teenagers in the Fashion Industry

Teenagers are becoming a vital factor in the fashion industry. Colin Dawidziuk explains why this revolution is taking place, and how it benefits the entire market.

Written by Colin Dawidziuk

The teenage demographic of the world are normally considered as the rambunctious, cialis 40mg world-hating and mood-swinging apes of the twenty first century. With high school, cliques and stereotypes, it’s normally quite hard to see them as anything but. However, one industry – three billion pounds worth – regularly eyes up these emotional roller-coasters: the fashion industry. Since the turn of the century ten years ago, designers and editors alike are turning to the teenage demographic for the all too important opinion they need to hear.

Sceptics might say, “But why a teenager?” and the answer to that is simpler than the decision to wear a pair of shorts in 30 degree Celsius weather; television. From 90210 to Gossip Girl, from America’s Next Top Model to Project Runway, from The City to Running in Heels, teenagers are becoming more and more aware of the fashion industry than those actually working for design houses or magazines, all thanks to a hand full of actors and reality show contestants. Take the hit show Gossip Girl as an example; from the preppy Blair Waldorf to the laid back Serena van der Woodsen, teenage women know exactly how to dress the part due to the various different events the fictional characters go through – funerals, weddings, gala dinners, and even fashion shows.

Furthermore, it’s the likes of in-house designers hired by show producers to create the beautiful, one-of-a-kind designs worn, that create the real fashion revolutions. Slap a pencil skirt and a white ruffle blouse on Leighton Meester with a Gucci clutch and a pair of Manolo Blahniks and soon enough, every girl will be an Upper East Side princess. The sheer power that these television shows hold is often far greater than even the greatest fashion editors. With that in mind, the size of the teenage population of the Noughties and the newest reality television shows proves that greater occurrences happen in greater numbers. Without the arguably largest fashion related reality show, America’s Next Top Model, sparking an interest in modelling, the industry could easily have fallen into a model deficit.

So, if teenagers are gaining their power from the moving picture box in the corner, what does that mean for industry giants, such as design house Chanel, Elle Magazine or even Harrods? Well, let’s look at the design house spectrum. Because of the peaked interest in design itself, probably thanks toProject Runway, there are more creative minds in the world, the majority being teenagers. Though the idea of a house designer being under 18 might seem absurd, the ideas they have could bring a whole new world into the brand, along with a couple hundred thousand new customers. Regarding journalism and PR, without shows like Running in Heels, Stylista and, more recently, Kell on Earth, the desire to be as stylish and influential as the editor-in-chief would be non-existent. This is evident in movies too. Furthermore, though the journalism side may find itself with more experienced journalists to review collections, it is the power and opinion of new blood that keeps the industry moving like a well-oiled machine. And of course, let us not forget the buyers and merchandisers. Thanks to shows like The City, whose main cast member is friends with a buyer at Bergdorf Goodman, the teenage populace have access to more than just design and journalism, and can place the designer clothing on your back.

Admittedly, I am particularly biased towards my generation of people, because I am one of those teenagers I’ve been rattling on about throughout this entire article. However, this makes my views on this matter no less important to industry giants. With rising economic conditions, and the increase in fashion related media, teenagers are becoming more and more involved in the fashion industry. Not only that, the realm of fashion is slowly dripping into that of the pre-adolescent stage of life (I’m looking at you, Tavi). Fashion industrialists need to keep a close eye on their demographics. No longer is [insert powerhouse fashion magazine] only catering to 18 to 36 year olds. Further [insert powerhouse Designer] should focus even more-so on the younger generation, in order to boost sales and peak interest in the quality and beauty of the clothing. Because don’t forget, even they were teenagers once, and every teenager dreams. And who knows, maybe Plain Jane or Regular Ryan from down the street could be the next Coco Chanel or high profile fashion editor-in-chief. 

Photograph by Matt Bramford


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