Repost: Does Your Thirteen Year Old Need a Louis Vuitton Purse?

In light of our current economic situation, I wanted to share this TBF post discussing the increased level of brand consciousness among millennials (those born in the late 80s-mid 90s). It’s interesting to read the comments from the then teenagers, justifying their need for a Gucci bag at 13 and I wonder how those same teens (now young adults), feel about their comments now.

Does thirteen years need a Louis Vuitton Purse?

The Wall Street Journal recently posted an interesting article on the targeting of teens for luxury items like designer bags, cars, etc. 

WSJ states:

Driving the shift is a generation of young people often called the teenage “millennials”—the adolescents and young adults born in the late 1980s to mid-90s. Of course there have always been teens who were focused on the “right” designer names, and marketers striving to sway them. (Remember Brooke Shields in her Calvins?) But apparel makers and retailers say the affluent millennials are particularly notable for their brand consciousness. Surrounded by brand references from Web sites, rap music, movies, magazines and MTV—and showered with the best of everything by their baby boomer parents—these young consumers have grown up knowing the difference between Prada and Ralph Lauren from an early age.


I agree that teens wanting designer labels isn’t anything new- I remember begging for a pair of Gibraud jeans and working my butt off for a Ralph Lauren Polo button down shirt.  But… I’m concerned about the apparent entitlement that many teens feel in regards to designer labels and the apparent lack of a back bone by parents to say no. It’s the job of teenagers to push and it’s the job of parents to set boundaries. However, when it comes to designer goods, it seems like parents just can’t say no anymore. For example, one guy in the article even stated ““If they keep their grades up, it is hard to say no,”.  I was a straight A student, got a full academic scholarship to a great school, and my parents had absolutely no problem saying no. In fact, I think they secretly plotted new and creative ways to say “no” to my irrational, teenage requests.

I mean, why does your 13 year old (or a 20, or 30, or 40)  HAVE to have a $700 handbag or a BMW before they even learn what a responsibility it is to drive? Plus, always rewarding good behavior with an extravagant gift probably doesn’t teach a very good lesson to your teen- there’s times in life that you do good things and you receive no reward other than the fact you did good- which apparently just doesn’t compare to a new Dooney Burke Bag. What ever happen to going out for a big dinner with your entire family when you got a good grade? We’re creating a whole generation of spoiled consumers with very unrealistic expectations about life.

Anyone who’s ever watched MTV’s Sweet Sixteen shows knows exactly what I’m talking about- $50,000 party and new jaguar for a spoiled 16 year old? Pleeaseeee… What do they have to look forward to when they graduate from college? A small town and a Rolls Royce? If you have a million dollar bar(or bat) mitzvah, are you going to have a 2 million dollar wedding? Where does it end? I mean everything else in their lives will be down hill in comparison.

Designer items ARE NOT A HUMAN RIGHT.. They are nice and I love a good bag as much as the next person… but I also have a job.