Label Networks’ Data from Youth Culture Fasll Study 2009

In the last 2 weeks, Label Networks has been a series of trips with back-to-back presentations including a capacity-crowd at MAGIC regarding global youth and street culture fashion, and ending with a smaller presentation that was more action sports-oriented at the final trade show of the Fall season called ASR/Class. In both presentations, there was one slide that had people on edge not only because the data is so fresh, but it reveals how changes in spending patterns within certain categories will continue to take a beating. That main category comes in fashion.

As a ramp up to this, we presented several changes in retail and spending patterns in youth culture and how some retail strategies and brands are continuing on a path of profitability. But like the music industry experienced several years ago, the fashion industry is in for an even greater force of change.

In a recent article in URB magazine “Reasonable Retail for a Recession-Proof Strategy,” the author mentioned the recent “60 Minutes” episode that featured Anna Wintour from Vogue and how this fashion bible has had dwindling ad pages despite the hype around the movie “September” regarding the fattest issue of the magazine each year and her upcoming Fashion’s Night Out campaign to get people shopping (at preferrablly full price). Wintour was seen talking to designer Alexander Wang and he shows her a simple mini-dress. She asks what it was retailing for and when he said it would cost $1,200, and she said, “Well, that’s very reasonable.”

As the writer put it in URB, “This reflects the archaic mind set of an industry that’s unable to humble itself and therefore continues to take a brutal beating.”

While Anna’s “Fashion’s Night Out” on September 10 will be hyped in mainstream media of course, as a success no matter how short-lived the concept of shopping at full price remains, Anna should take a look at this slide from our about to be released Youth Culture Study -Fall 2009:

We asked among thousands of 13-25-year-olds, gathered from face-to-face interviews, a series of questions including, “Please indicate which of the items you plan on cutting back on in the next 6 months.”

The results are that Clothing is the #1 cutback about to happen in the next 6 months (even though this has already been happening). Quantifiably, 33% of females between the ages of 13-25-years-old say this, along with 26.3% of males in the same age group. This is more than a quarter of a decrease in spending on apparel, and it is highly significant.

This is followed by Food and Beverages, then Footwear, Music, Coffee, Accessories, and Electronics. One of the more recession-proof categories in terms of fewer cutbacks include entertainment such as Going out with Friends, Movies, and Dining out. Hair products also faired relatively well.

The thing about an economic downturn however, is that it produces truly creative movements, especially for those already in the trenches of the apparel industry. This is seen from brands doing more in the realm of looking at pricing again and strategic discounting, fast fashion brands and stores that are carrying seasonal items longer than usual because, come to find out, consumers like to have clothing in the season they are in, longer than the fashion industry has been dictating. Pop-up retail, online commerce, and collaborations are other areas that have been successful in capturing youth culture in America.

Overall, as we presented, there are several new subcultures that are finally having the chance to come to the surface because of the very fact that the industry of fashion has been turned on its head.

For more information about Label Networks’ Presentations and the Fall Study 2009, email; (323) 630-4000.