Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved fashion, styling, and shopping. I vividly remember crying over a cheetah print coat at Target when I was a little girl. I wanted a Barbie set and the coat, but my dad told me I had to pick between the two (a huge decision for a five year old), because they were both pricey. I took a moment to think about what I really wanted. I grabbed the coat. I chose fashion over toys. How many little girls choose outerwear over Barbies? From a very young age I felt a connection to clothing and sytling outfits and this connection has only grown stronger over the years. As a busy, twenty-five-year-old mama and wife, fashion is still an essential part of my life. I’ve decided to add another blog series to my blog called, Fashion Talk with Lizzie because I have years of fashion and marketing experience, a lot of stories, and a ton of passion. I know there are countless women, moms included that not only love fashion, but who also appreciate learning and knowing more. Why are you drawn to a certain brand? Why do some stores disappear with each generation? What’s behind the scenes? What makes up the fashion world we grew up worshipping? What affects the fashion industry and current trends? I’m here to explore it all with you and help other fashionistas learn and grow. Welcome to class, loves.
I started in fashion and retail in 2013 as a Seasonal Sales Associate at PacSun and I ended as the Marketing Assistant at an upscale shopping plaza near me, right after becoming a mommy. I love the industry so much that I’m currently enrolled at Parson’s School of Design-The New School, working on my Fashion and Business Certification. I wanted to continue to learn and dive into the world I’ve always loved and I want to add a little more bling to my resume. I’m so happy being a stay at home mama, but one day when Greyson is older and in school fulltime, I’ll want to return to the fashion and marketing world. I decided to share with my lovely readers some fashion history, my favorite brands, interesting facts and statistics that exist within the fashion world, and what makes up the fashion world (the behind the scenes), because it’s a world unlike any other. It’s also a world that is everchanging. COVID-19 has had an immense impact on the fashion industry and many stores we grew up going to are shutting their doors permanently, which makes me sad, but I saw it coming. With each generation trends change, stores must know how to grow and adapt, and generational needs/wants differ immensely. Anyone in my age bracket (twenty five-forty), if you ask your parents about their shopping habits when they were our age, what was in, and what pricepoints they shopped, you’d discover how different we are from them.
Millennials are probably the most discussed generation of all time, but for good reason. A lot of events, trends, and of course, the technological advances have made Millennials very different than past generations. Even Generation Z is changing the game and is different than the Millennial generation. Millennials, were born between 1981 and 1996, making me a Millennial by ONE year. I was born in 1995 and I just made the cut. Millennials are between the ages of twenty five and forty years old, representing a huge majority of the world’s population. We define so much, including the fashion world. But, Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2015) are also contributing to the ever changing world of fashion and design. They’re much different than my generation, which is crazy, because the birth years are so close. For example, Millennials grew up going to the mall every Saturday with friends and parents, but Generation Z prefers shopping online and via social media, finding the absolute best deals, and are way more price conscious. Those little details affect the industry immensely because marketing and advertising now needs to be geared towards the online, Instagram shopper, opposed to the in-store, mall shopper. I consider myself to be very unique because I am on the border of both generations. I did indeed grow up in-store shopping, going to the mall every Saturday (my dad is a Saint, lol), but I also discovered the perks of online shopping during my late teen years. Especially during a pandemic, so many stores have now discovered that the way to survive is through smart, creative social media campaigns and easy, fun online shopping experiences. Influencers are the way into the hearts of young girls who stare at their Instagram feed more than anything else. It’s crazy how quickly women and men my age adapted to the online world, falling in love with social media and new marketing strategies that catch our attention, but luckily we discovered social media as young adults, not as children. Some of my favorite brands currently ONLY exist online (Lively and Pink Lily), which is such a change from my childhood-early teenage years.
Unlike my generation, Generation Z grew up immersed in the world of technology and fell in love with social media at a very early age. Instagram didn’t exist until I was a junior in high school, I didn’t have an iPhone, until my junior year, and none of my peers cared about selfies, or social media until we were entering into our senior year. Anyone remember the popular, pretty flipphone called the Envy? Well, that was what my friends and I had! I had the orange one. The same phone the glamorous, Upper East Side beauties in Gossip Girl carried around on Season One of the show. Yup. Even GG and other shows changed once they started using more technology. My friends and I didn’t have a frontfacing camera for selfies, we didn’t have social media icons on our screen, and we weren’t glued to our phones. It’s a very different world. Many of the Generation Z population had smartphones and laptops way before I and others my age ever did. A lot of children growing up today, born after 2015 (like my son Greyson), know technology better than any previous generation. My son sees me with my iPad, MacBook, and my iPhone, but when I was growing up my parents had landlines, beepers, and eventually a Dell Laptop with DIAL-UP…oh, the horror of waiting for your computer to “dial-up” so that you could logon to the internet, check your mail, etc. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, Dial-up refers to Dial-up Internet Connection, which came before High-Speed Internet Connection, the kind we are all used to now using a WiFi connection. Dial-up used a modem and a phone line to connect you to internet services and was incredibly, painfully slow. You could cook a meal, write a letter, and pick out an outfit while waiting for your computer to finish dialing up. Teenagers today will not know the struggle and the pain of Dial-up internet, which is a shame. They also won’t know the excitement of getting a message on AOL Instant Messenger! I’m actually really thankful that I grew up before technology was so advanced and I honestly miss the simplicity of the past.
Many of my childhood friends didn’t even have a computer! Now, everything is instant and immediately available on our smartphones from shopping and booking events to paying bills and buying homes. I remember all of those dinosaur-like technologies mentioned above and my son will never know what a beeper is, a landline, or “Dial-up”. Wow…I feel old. The fact that Generation Z is so tuned into technology and fast, immediate experiences from shopping to medical care will have an earthquake-like affect on the fashion industry. The retail world is already changing and many stores cannot hold on much longer. It’s also important to note that many Millennials, grew up before 9/11 changed our world forever, but myself and many others grew up in a post 9/11 world. Parents became more cautious and the way we view events, places, and people changed in an instant. Events and political issues affect the way we shop, travel, and spend money. At this point, malls even make me nervous! I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d rather shop in smaller boutiques, or online instead of in huge, busy malls where attacks (shootings, bombings, etc.) are more common, and that was my thought process BEFORE COVID-19 infiltrated our daily lives. Now, I’m super cautious because if I don’t need to go somewhere I’m not going to, especially with my two year old son.
I’ve watched so many stores that I loved growing up close permanently since 2000, such as Limited Too, Blockbuster, Zany Brainy, Henri Bendel (this one hurt the most), Borders, Wet Seal, and Toys R Us. There are also plenty of stores that are on a downward cycle of popularity, which will make them the next to go. I read the other day that due to COVID-19, by 2025, 100,000 retail stores will be closed. In my next Fashion Talk with Lizzie, I’ll talk more about some of my favorite stores as a teenager that are on the way out, and why they’re slowly fading out. I’ll also talk more about what a downward cycle in fashion and retail really means.