But existing LE customers will indeed grow old, die, and no one will truly replace what they represent. The supposed replacements are the next younger generation. However younger generations have different attitudes about life, fashion, and consumption due to different experiences growing up.
Why is it that LE customers would simply die off without anyone to replace them? Would you say the same of RL or any other brand? For one, companies change offerings and product mixes to meet those ever-changing tastes. Fashion-forward cuts and styles, product-line extensions like RLBL, Rugby, HickeyStyle, LL Bean Sig, LECanvas, etc. help capture younger mkts for their respective parent labels.
Companies like LE have to adjust to match the younger generation's different tastes if they want to survive. But how can they do this without alienating their existing cash cow customer base in the process? And how can they overcome the negative stereotypes younger generations have rightly attached to their brand name? Thus far, they have not demonstrated much of an ability to shift their demographic.
By all accounts, the Canvas line has been a huge success for them. And it's hard to see how the line has or would alienate existing customers. There's nothing about Canvas that hurts their existing LE brand image - nothing that would make a mother shopping at Sears think, "Ugh, that's what happened to LE?!" It's not like they went A&F all of a sudden. It's hard to even say that Rugby has hurt RL or HickeyStyle with its ridiculous marijuana-plastered styles has hurt HF, and those two are styled far more aggressively than LE Canvas. I should mention that perhaps I have some bias. After the Canvas launch, I was invited to participate in a months long focus group of the new line. Most of the group were young adults, but ranged from the Belstaff, Redwing-wearing clotheshorses to mothers of young children that still had the Anthropologie, JCrew tastes but now had to think about the family (and budget). I'm sure some of you may have been in that group. Whether they were young adults in their 20s coming into their own sense of style, or young parents in their 30s starting to make purchasing decisions for a family, right there you had a group of the next generation developing a familiarity with LE. Incidentally, I had never purchased from even the LE mainline before and never thought I would, but since I've known about Canvas, I've become a regular buyer of their mainline stuff. All I knew about them prior was that's where my mother would often find $5 fleeces at Sears, but it was nothing I had or wanted to purchase. So I haven't always been a fan; they made me one
That you are posting in SW&D today, yet can envision yourself wearing Brooks Brothers and posting on Ask Andy's as your inevitable future makes me think you're not very old-- i.e. you're basing your concept of what growing older means more on a stereotype and less on experience.
Eh... really taking the AAAC trad remark too seriously. It was facetious, albeit I think there's still some truth to it which makes me disagree with the notion that people wear the same thing they wore years ago. Yes, I'm a SW&D regular... and I also know about AAAC, and specifically, their trad forum. So in the joke there's revealed a truth. How many young adults come here and learn to appreciate a good pair of AE and Aldens? If those companies stick to their tried and true offerings, will they be left in the dust as the younger generation sticks to their bicycle toe KC and Aldo loafers? I hope not! Hopefully along the way every young man learns to pick up a nice classic longwing or beef roll penny loafer - something they swore they'd never wear - and somehow they never go back. But fortunately, I look around in SW&D, there's never-ending threads about LL Bean, BB, Aldens, Sperry, etc. That's good, right?? BTW your point about jeans is great. Never thought of it from that perspective. It seems like there's a bit of both sides going on, but so long as companies continue to churn out quality goods, there's always going to be a customer base that will appreciate it.