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With student help, L.L. Bean tries younger look

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bates College students swarmed Willy Beans coffee shop last week as 19-year-old freshman Charlie Carey, clad in a slim Hunter’s bright navy plaid shirt and brown moc hand-sewn shoes, preached the preppy gospel of the new Signature collection L.L. Bean is launching today. The campus sneak preview was no marketing coup covertly engineered by a clever merchant. Carey, of Lincoln, had organized Wednesday’s event after approaching the outdoorsy Maine merchant and asking to promote the new modern collection among the campus crowd. Teenagers soliciting retailers to hawk their goods, particularly for brands that normally have little appeal among their peers, is a rare event, to say the least. It was an offer L.L. Bean — whose boxy, loose-fitting offerings sometimes turned off even the preppiest of teens — knew it couldn’t refuse.

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