OK, folks, how 'bout a little stream-of-conscience post to enlighten the teens.
Last Saturday I was dragged kicking and screaming in a car with two girls, to the Westfield mall in Canton, "Beldon Village", for you old-timers. Truth be told, I wasn't kicking and screaming, it was sort of an interesting idea. Me—the bodyguard. Wouldjabelieveit?
At any rate, I found that I could hardly bring myself to enter even the most innocent of stores. American Eagle, Hollister, and the like. Because of what I've heard, not seen, I never went into Abercrombie & Fitch. Hollister was bad enough.
All in all, having visited these stores, and few others, I found it awefully hard to keep from becoming intellectually cynical. In fact, I found it impossible.
Hollister is an amazing store. Complete brand identity in only one word: Hollister. It means nothing to me, but to the rest of the teen world, it means everything. So, really, as a marketer myself, I can really respect that. The way they've done up their store is incredible. A real surf shop! But the whole thing was too authentic! It was so poorly laid out, I found that leaving the store required becoming intimately acquainted with a few strangers, the very people I was trying to get away from! And the music created an indescribably oppressive atmosphere, along with the closing-in walls, that made being in that shop nearly claustrophobic. It was insane.
American Eagle. I had to laugh. It was a polar opposite to Hollister. Brand Identity in 2 words, now, instead of 1. (jk) But the store was really boring. I'm trying to figure out if it would be good for business or not. Hollister creates an identity, American Eagle sells. I don't know. It seems to me, in hindsight, that I really don't have a clue what kind of clothes I saw at Hollister, I was too busy analyzing the atmosphere. My graces, it was awful. But American Eagle was less memorable than it's clothes were. I still have flash-backs of khaki jeans, torn, nearly from limb to limb, all in the name of individuality! Ha! It's hilarious just to think about. Individuality, for those of you who think it can be supplied in the clothes you wear, can not be supplied in the clothes that you wear! It certainly can be helped along, but if you're shopping at AE, Abercrombie or Hollister, chances are, you're not!
When describing my opinions to a friend, I thought of an endless plain of fabric (most likely torn fabric) from which all these people were cut. Thousands of youth from all over the world, trying to fuel their individuality by purchasing from the same stores! I have to kinda laugh at the ignorance of it.
Of course, in the end, it's not a battle of which clothes you want to wear that makes me so cynical of the aforementioned stores. As in Hollister, from a marketer's perspective, I think they did well. And AE, making their clothes more memorable than their store, good job. But I can't get past the kind of moral force that they are in our states. Of course, the people that habitually shop there are already exposed to all the sin you can imagine, but:
"As for me and my house, we will shop at Kohl's!"