Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Morning rant: Does American Eagle suck?

The clothier who turned damaged jeans into high fashion for high school has a new idea sure to make you vomit. American Eagle Outfitters (AeCo) is launching a new hip and trendy "experience" that will provide the young adult who eschews knee-length polo shirts and rugbywear in favor of clothes that are actually comfortable and form-fitting.

Say hello to Martin + Osa.

In giving the store its appellation, AeCo followed the retail industry's annoying penchant for naming stores after people you've never heard of. According to AeCo, Martin and Osa Johnson were husband and wife team from Kansas that liked to travel in a rugged, explorer kind of way. Whatever.

Thankfully, Martin + Osa can be converted into an acronym that reminds the 25-40 crowd of other stores they like to visit, such as H&M. Score one for the clever marketing hacks at AECo.

A NYT reporter recently sat with the husband-wife team that designed MO.

My theorem: personal taste changes with age. The 25+ crowd is looking for designer duds they can wear to the club of the office. If it's going to be expensive, it's going to sharp-looking. Fashionistas Michele and Charles Martin at AeCo, however, believes my generation wants cashmere tee shirts and $120 hoodies.

A brief recap of the major flaws of M+O based on my reading of this story and hatred for all things mall-related:

1. Michele and Charles assumed that their target market once shopped at those style-less stores like Abercrombie and American Eagle.

The message to consumers ages 25 to 40 could not be clearer: It'’s time to grow up.

"“We don't want them to throw out those old clothes," said Mr. artin, dressed in a crisp blue blazer, a brown tie and pair of jeans, "“but we want to upgrade them."

"Upgrade them?" Shut up.

2. These morons assume that the 25+ something crowd still shops there.
Those stores [American Eagle, Abercrombie, Pacific Sunwear?] have become a default shopping destination because style-conscious consumers in their late 20’s and 30s tend to avoid department stores (like Macy's), do not identify with baby boomer retail brands (like Chico's) and, until now, have had no store to call their own.

I've mever met someone in the 20+ crowd who has a penny of disposable income or a pound of fashion-sense that would even walk into one of these awful dungeons of haberdashery. Granted, my friends are all aging hipsters, ne'er do-wells, and angry young urbanites, but my point still stands. These stores never sold anything but sex and conformity.

3. And the proof that this husband-wife team is mentally disturbed:
"“We are going after a customer whose closet is overflowing," said Ms. Martin, who shortly after entering a room for an interview asks if she can turn on mood-setting music. "“She does not need a T-shirt. She needs an experience."

1 comment:

sebass0222 said...

OSA + Martin - Wake up Ken Pilot!
Your design team knows nothing of the tastes of today's twenties consumers.
How many pairs of used looking sneakers does anyone need?
Oh, gee, how original. Could that have been another regurgitation of one of those twenty-something trends, like that oversized casual man's shirt (circa early 90's)in the stores now.
Just what every stylish and fashion conscious late thirties professional wants to look like during leisure time. NOT! Casually elegant this stuff is not. It looks like it's trying really hard. Too hard. They have under estimated their target customer by a few miles. It will not succeed.
Look carefully into some backgrounds. You'll surely uncover some interesting information.
BTW - The womens' division at A&F was a total loser for the company.
Did you ever see it?
The A&F concept was little to do with your new team and was completey the brain child of the current A&F CEO. Notice who's still at A&F and who's not.
Wonder why?
Pioneers? Yeah! Right! Sure!