One of the most important sections in our Sponsorship and Advertising Youth Culture Lifestyle Report 2008 is about music. This is because many trends often originate within certain new subcultures of music, including the influence of musicians, which effect fans and result in a snowball effect that can lead to designers and others to recreate style or trends and often claiming them as their “own.”

When it comes to sponsorship and advertising, music has a tremendous impact on global youth culture. Results to this question quantify that direct relationship and the importance of understanding different subcultures in music, as well as where trends are headed towards reaching specific markets through brand association with music and musicians. Overall, when asked “Does music have an impact on the types of products that you buy?” among a representative sampling of thousands of 13-25-year-olds across North America, 72.6% say that music has an impact on the types of products that they buy. 27.4% say No.

73.3% of females say Yes, music has an impact compared with 70.1% of males, which is up considerably for both genders with 58.2% of females saying Yes last year compared with 57.3% of males last year. Overall, both genders are clearly influenced by music and music in terms of impacting their product purchasing decisions.

In our last street photo report on footwear, we take an in-depth look at trends in top sneaker preferences and styles. Gathered from a large cross-section of images captured across the Untied States, Canada, and parts of Europe, while there are many interesting new directions in footwear, one of the most obvious is the importance of sneakers for both guys and girls.

What’s resonating most however are the brands that capture technicolors such as DC, Nike, and Reebok, as well as the brighter palettes that allow for DIY mash-ups from Converse. While many girls are sporting bright DC shoes, guys have towards the hottest colors from Nike. However both are attracted to Vans and Converse, particularly the styles that incorporated slip-ons, patchwork patterns, and checkerboards.

What’s also interesting in sneaker culture is the growing interest in boating sneaks or prep styles offered up SperryTopsider, but also old-school Vans.

There’s also a growing interest in metallics in sneakers such as those offered from Converse and new up and coming brands such as Creative Recreation. The Compass show in Las Vegas last month previewed such new styles from brands including Pro Keds, Royal Elastics, and Converse -all of whom have some metallics in their latest collections for 2009 (see story at

However one of the most interesting trends in sneakers comes from what the wearers are doing themselves, including changing up what they wear on each foot, creating a montage of color either in different colored laces or wearing different colored sneakers on each foot. This also coordinates with the trend among young people who wear sneakers to coordinate with their friends, so you may have a series of matching footwear that looks cool if you and your friends are all together. We call this the “BFF Look” (best friend forever) which you’ll also see in DIY T-shirt graphics and even accessories.