Did you ever wonder where all those hot new fashions come from? Well, the answer is a lot closer then you might think. That’s right, the latest styles for sale down at the mall don’t come from the catwalks of Paris. They come from your very own neighborhood. In fact, they might come directly from you. The big secret of the fashion industry is that clothing manufacturers regularly take their inspiration from clothing trends originated by teenagers just like you. Unfortunately, teens never see a penny of the billions of dollars these clothing companies make from their style.

So how does it all work? How do major clothing companies like Tommy, HotTopic, Nike, Addidas, Vans, and BeBe find out what the latest street trends are in the world of teen fashion? Easy, they hire teens to do the work for them and find out. These teens are called trendspotters and their job is to seek out the trendsetters of teen culture. You may have seen these correspondents on the street, in the mall, at a concert, or maybe even at your school. In fact, wherever trendy teens hang out, the correspondents will be there with their digital camera or camcorder. They’ll pretend to take your picture or videotape you just for fun, but what they’re really doing is making a document of what you look like and what you are wearing.

Many times they will even quiz you about the clothes you are wearing. The conversation may start with them complimenting you on an article of clothing you are wearing, but it will quickly mutate into a string of questions about your shopping and fashion habits. Don’t be fooled, the questions may sound innocent enough, like “hey those shoes are really cool, where did you get those?” But make no mistake; their intentions are anything but innocent. Your responses, along with the pictures and videotape are then turned over to the clothing manufactures. They study the images and create new fashions for sale based on what they see. Many times, the only change they make to these fashions is to put their logo on them. It’s that logo that they are banking on teens spending big money for, because after all, teens already own the original fashion.

View a profile of Look Look marketing, courtesy of The Merchants of Cool

See a trendspotter
at work

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