Sweet Things 6 Click Pens

Trend Report: Back to School Fall 2015

According to Market Watch, “30% of shoppers plan to wait till 1 or 2 weeks before school starts to start shopping.” But judging by the currently overstocked shelves at many stores, they may even be waiting until just before—and after—the bell rings to buy. Whether these customers are shopping for the first time this school year or picking up a handful of items they forgot while hitting the stores during tax-free weekends earlier this month, the time for stocking back-to-school items hasn’t ended yet. If you’re looking to replenish your school-supply inventory, here are some trends to consider.


Color is key. “Colorful supplies are always on trend,” says Sherry Fisher, marketing manager of International Arrivals. “Products that are considered to be essentials now come in rainbow colors or with decorative designs on them. . . . These products fulfill a need but don’t have to look like everyone else’s.” This year, in addition to the long-popular geometrics and stripes, look for notebooks, journals, binders, pens, pencil cases, erasers, and more printed with animal patterns, comic-style art, and even food themes like macaroons and doughnuts.



Retro is in. Kids are looking at the vintage-style desk and personal accessories of older teens and hipster college-age adults, and they want in on the trend. Retro-look art—sometimes combined with puns or funny sayings—can be found on a wide variety of products, from notebooks and folders to backpacks, cell phone cases, and stickers.



Customization is king. Gone are the days of a simple, solid-color laminated folder with a student’s name penciled inside. This year, kids are using stickers and name labels, like the superdurable variety from Mabel’s Labels, pictured below, to personalize their favorite items. International Arrivals’ DIY Cover Sketchbooks allow each child to decorate not only the inside, but also the outside cover, for the ultimate in personal expression. And their Creatibles DIY Eraser Kit, also pictured below, contains 12 vibrantly colored clay blocks that can be molded into any shape—from initials to animals or stars and planets—and then baked to create personalized erasers.



Playing with food is encouraged. In addition to food prints on pens, markers, and paper products, kids are clamoring for food-scented school supplies. According to Fisher, “Studies have shown that scent is a powerful influence on moods and memories, even affecting work performance. To a child, smelling their favorite candy or fruit might make them more calm and relaxed or in a happier mood. So combine the candy, sweets, and pastry motifs with fragrance, and you have a winner.”



The locker is getting a makeover. Forget the pop-star posters and Polaroid snaps that probably decorated your locker when you were a tween. These days, kids are making their lockers into home decor–worthy spaces, thanks to colorful magnetic hooks and picture frames, locker chandeliers, and locker curtains and rugs (no joke).



—Robin Catalano

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