Aéropostale has been a staple of high school wardrobes since back in the days when we shopped there for cozy sweaters and distressed flares. Shopping there was certainly a more welcoming experience than the intimidating, clique-y Abercrombie stores of our youths. In fact, one R29 editor still swears by Aéro for her grown-up basics.
But, Aéropostale's CEO Julian Geiger has a different — and surprising — take on his brand's appeal. He thinks Aéro's clothes can prevent kids from being bullied.
Business Insider reports that Geiger recently commented to investors:
"[Teens] want to fit in by wearing things that make them feel safe. If there’s a brand promise to Aéropostale, it’s that the teenager can wear our clothes, go to school, and not be teased or made fun of [for] the way they look."
That's certainly not the most inspiring brand philosophy we've heard. And, it actually seems counter-intuitive, given that Aéro's sales have been slipping in a market where the most successful retailers offer teens fashion-forward styles. Rather than trying to emulate Zara or H&M's runway-inspired, fast fashion, Geiger believes his brand's future lies in offering kids what he calls "real clothing": blend-in basics, like tees and skinny jeans.
While we're #blessed to have not set foot inside a high school since we graduated, we're sure Geiger's right in saying "there is still a uniform that they wear that makes them cool and [fit in]."
Still, we can't help but feel bummed by the idea that teens make clothing choices for the purpose of not sticking out or being noticed. There's a big, wide world of self-expression that fashion can open up to people. Here's hoping all those Aéro acolytes eventually feel safe enough to explore their style beyond bully-repelling basics someday. (Business Insider)