WMU News

Retailers see green in red, white and blue

July 1, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- America's preoccupation with patriotism since the Sept. 11 tragedies continues to influence retail sales, says Dr. Barbara Frazier, an assistant professor of family and consumer sciences and an expert on retail trends.

"This has lasted longer than a normal trend would, in part for obvious reasons," she says. "The more passion, the longer its legs. Plus, the patriotic theme appeals to everyone. It's not limited to one style or one targeted group."

Frazier has observed designers use of many different interpretations on the theme. While scores of stores peddle colorful, American-centered t-shirts, not everyone is into "the blazing glory kind of thing," she says. "You've got higher-end designers like Ralph Lauren and Carolyn Harerra not necessarily doing what you'll see in Wal-Mart, but focusing on Americana. Some of the upscale, more edgy fashions have it too," she says, citing an example of a popular pants design that features the Manhattan skyline.

And for those who don't want to adorn themselves in Old Glory, the patriotic market remains ripe with outdoor products, flags, wreaths and other items for the home. "There are lots of ways out there to express patriotism, and it has such strong roots that most retailers expect it to last in their themes and inspirations for at least another season."

Media contact: Gail H. Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

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