JUNIORS ARE REACTING TO THE POST-SEPT. 11 WORLD BY OPTING FOR PIECES THAT COMFORT THEM AND DISPLAY PATRIOTIC SENTIMENTS.
The junior shopper's fashion sensibility has changed since Sept. 11, and accessories vendors are courting the lucrative demographic with looks that speak to the style-savvy generation.
Junior accessories vendors said teenagers are on the hunt for pieces that satisfy their need to feel good and that display patriotic sentiments. So firms are stepping up offerings of Americana-themed pieces, as well as feel-good jewelry with engraved spiritual motifs signaling peace and fortitude.
The simplicity of the prairie aesthetic -- as well as the grungy, hippie look -- will also appeal to younger shoppers, vendors said.
Here, a look at what a handful of vendors plan to offer:
Prairie-inspired looks will be among the key trends at Kemestry, launched one year ago in New York. But don't expect frumpy "Little House on the Prairie" looks, said Lara Kinigsberg, the company's vice president of sales and marketing.
"The western look is still here, but we are having a little bit more fun with it because we are trying to lift the spirits of the country again," she said.
Tooled leather belts and handbags and touches of gingham, will be part of the company's prairie push, Kinigsberg said.
Wholesale prices for spring and summer range from $5 to $80.
AAB Style's offerings are not for the squeamish.
"We sell body-piercing jewelry, like rings for belly, tongue, eyebrow and nose, and any other place you can pierce," said Alicia Rosalis, sales representative for the four-year-old Sunrise, Fla.-based firm.
Rosalis said she expects animal looks to be particularly popular this year, including miniature sterling silver lizards, frogs and spiders that dangle from the rings.
Wholesale prices range from $3 to $8.
Hippie bohemian looks are an important trend at 16-year-old jewelry firm Fad Treasures, based in Huntington, N.Y.
"In a way, the hippie look is coming back, like the Seventies peace signs after Vietnam," said Donna Axelowitz, the company's designer. "It's back to that whole era, and people want to show their individuality."At Fad Treasures, the hippie theme extends to bracelets and necklaces in leather, suede and sterling silver plate. The majority of the line -- 90 percent of which consists of necklaces, Axelowitz said -- wholesales from $1.50 to $3.
Among the leading themes at Hallandale, Fla.-based accessories firm Phillips International is industrial and tribal jewelry featuring metal and bone beads in different finishes, including silver and gold.
On the necklace front, popular items are pendants featuring motifs signifying meanings from tribal or Celtic philosophies, such as fertility, strength, love and fortitude. The symbol is on the front of the pendant, while its meaning is engraved on the back."
"It goes back to Sept. 11," said Arthur Phillips, president and chief executive officer. "People are searching for meaning in their lives to understand what world they're living in."
Wholesale prices range from $12 to $36 for 12-piece packages.
In line with the overall ethnic bohemian trend, Los Angeles-based designer Faith Knight, whose namesake company has been operating for 21 years, said she has noticed a resurgence of turquoise stones.
"I am also doing a lot of bright colors with aquas, garnets and rhinestones," said Knight. The line -- which wholesales from $14 to $175 -- features a group of purses adorned with rhinestones and chenille tassels with motifs that include cats, pin-up girls, pink poodles and cherries.
Hippie chic is also an important genre at OK Originals, a 22-year-old jewelry firm in New York.
"This whole hippie thing is going to be very strong, with brown cord necklaces with turquoise chunks rather than chains," said president Joyce Kaplan. "It's all about casual comfort."
Also popular, Kaplan said, are butterfly bone drops, beaded wire bracelets, gypsy looks with coins and filigree drop pendants in bright colors such as blue and red. Wholesale prices range from $2 to $6.
Panama City Beach, Fla.-based Killer Beads Inc. is preparing to buckle down this year, as the company focuses on its offerings of belts.
"We are following the jeans and shirt companies, which are putting a lot of attention on the midsection," said Mark Caughlin, sales and marketing director.As for necklaces, Caughlin said the current trend is for thick, chunky hemp styles.
The firm's wholesale prices range from $1.50 to $4.
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