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Hot on the trail of cool

Kids entertainment and product creators, listen up. In the world of tween and teen trends what's old is new again. At least that's the message Anna D'Agrosa, senior director of research and trends for New York-based research hub The Zandl Group, shared with delegates at February's KidScreen Summit in New York.
March 27, 2009

Kids entertainment and product creators, listen up. In the world of tween and teen trends what’s old is new again. At least that’s the message Anna D’Agrosa, senior director of research and trends for New York-based research hub The Zandl Group, shared with delegates at February’s KidScreen Summit in New York.

D’Agrosa delved into some under-the-radar trends bubbling to the mainstream, including the rebirth of skateboarding culture. Zandl found that a whopping 80% of teen boys surveyed listed skateboarding as their favorite way to spend time.

The re-emerging culture has also inspired fashion trends, particularly skater shoes – Zandl’s panel revealed that skater brands accounted for an impressive 33% of the shoes cited as cool by tweens and teens.

D’Agrosa also noted that in the current tight retail environment, the lower price point on this type of footwear is helping it against high-end competitive athletic brands like Nike.

Street art and culture is also gaining traction with tweens and teens. ‘It’s really transcending its illicit, illegal outsider status and being embraced and legitimized by the art world,’ says D’Agrosa, who is quick to point out that the movement goes beyond graffiti. ‘It has a real DIY, authentic feel and a less corporate vibe that young people really respond to.’

Neck Face, a prominent New York-based street artist and skateboarder has been tapped by urban youth brands like Vans to design shoes, clothing and billboard ads, and D’Agrosa says such collaborations are on the rise.

And, for those who may have been living under a rock for the past year, ’80s Goth culture has been reconceived as Gothic Splendor. The now inescapable trend got a large boost from Stephenie Meyer’s tween/teen girl-targeted vampire serial saga Twilight and film of the same name, said D’Agrosa. She observed that youth retailer Hot Topic saw same-store sales climb 6% in the typically slow month of January, due in part to its Twilight-heavy merch assortment that brought fans into the stores.

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