extras and social media are powering
back-to-school trends. Bookbags left to right:
Gummybear messenger bag, Sweet-a-riffic, $25;
gumdrop knapsack, Sweet-a-riffic, price unknown;
Pinterest cake tote, Zara Terez New York, $50, all
at My Kids Korner
itís the Pinterest-worthy rainbow layer cake depicted
on a slouchy sweatshirt, an insulated food bag stamped
#lunch, or a gizmo to snap the perfect selfie, social
media is at the center of this yearís back-to-school
itís not just apparel doused with hashtags and foodie
fashion driving this tech trend.
in the must-have running are laptops, smartphones, and
tablets, as well as online-experience enhancers and
extras reign so supreme this back-to-school season that
adult gadgets are being marketed under the same-themed
umbrella: Hammermill introduced an app this month
connecting smartphones to nearby printers so parents
could print school permission slips on the go. And while
it may be a stretch, Tough Testedís solar-powered
battery is touted as an easy way to juice up while
waiting for Junior to wrap up soccer practice.
has changed our social experience, and itís evident in
how kids play, what they wear, and how we relate to
them," said Christopher Byrne, a content director
at Time to Play (ttpm.com), which conducts product
reviews. "Itís trendy and itís now, but like
generations of school kids before them, itís based on
the fundamental idea of #FOMO ó fear of missing
the total $26.5 billion that parents of elementary,
middle, and high schoolers will spend on back-to-school
shopping this year, $12.4 billion, or $313 per child,
will go toward computer-related electronics and school
supplies, according to the National Retail Federation in
Washington. Those same parents will spend $9.1 billion
on clothing, or $231 per child.
change in back-to-school shopping focus ó from
wardrobe to electronics and their accessories ó is one
of the main reasons the season seems endless, instead of
the traditional promotions from mid-August to late
parents do shop for apparel, they are more likely to buy
in-season sale items than preseason full-price ones.
Dollars spent online are expected to increase a third
over last year as well, and with so many deals offered
throughout the year, parents will continue to spend.
more schools instituting uniforms, clothes hold less
importance, especially because stores are not likely to
run out of all-season-appropriate khakis and polos.
the past several years, back-to-school has moved up
earlier and earlier," said Byrne, noting that it
now typically starts the week after July 4th festivities
and runs well into October. "By moving the season
up, weíve trained the consumer to wait. And they know,
if they wait, prices will start being marked down right
after Labor Day."
has that big of a chunk of money to spend all at one
time anymore, especially after the recession," said
Caletha Crawford of Caletha Crawford Childrenswear
Consulting in New York. "Weather patterns have
changed, too, so as moms buy their corduroys closer to
winter, she waits to buy her kidsí, too."
what does a kid need to feel trendy at school and
weekends this back-to-school season?
boys, the seasonís style slam-dunks include
sports-related apparel, especially anything with the
Nike swoosh. Jeans are dark. Sweatpants are loose, but
not loose enough to fall down. Baseball caps must have
skater-straight brims. And the socks of choice, five
years going, are still Nike Elites (or a reasonable
like the bright colors," said Patrick Walsh,
director of marketing at Villa, the sportswear store
based in Philadelphia. "That also translates to
whatís on their feet in socks as well as
for boys is about amplifying their online experience ó
hopefully for school-related DVDs and weekend video
games. For their earphones, most kids are choosing Beats
by Dr. Dre, which this year features a crop of new
colors, including green, turquoise, and purple.
must-haves for girls run the fashion gamut, from sweet
images like Elsa from Disneyís Frozen to edgy mini-moto
jackets and plaid skirts. Jewelry, especially necklaces,
are personalized with tiny initials. And there is no
such thing as too much arm candy.
the coolest items of the year are connected to social
media: Instagram-popular images like Gummi Bears and
macarons on lunch sacks and book bags.
little girls want to take snaps of everything,"
said Kate Schneider, manager of My Kids Korner store in
Narberth, Penn.. "Itís all food, food, food. The
sweeter, the better."
and pencils feature Twitter-friendly positive messages
like "You Can Sit With Us" (as in, no bullying
allowed here). Or, #OOTD (outfit of the day) will do,
9-year-old may be too young for a smartphone of her own,
but a baseball cap marked #C…LFIE is right up her