LOS ANGELES, Aug 1, 2008 / FW/ — With the hallway fashionistas getting ready to go back to school, teen retailer American Eagle Outfitters offers to give free graphic t-shirts to each customer who tries on a pair of AE jeans.

American Eagles T-shirt
American Eagles T-shirt

Offered in girl’s sizes XS through XL and guy’s XS through XXL, the free t-shirt features AE’s summer music festival, the New American Music Union. If purchased, the t-shirt would cost $15.50, a hefty price tag to pay for a retailer just to attract customers.

Yet, for AE, this is a good investment. As part of the backlash of the global credit crunch, low home values and high gasoline prices, U.S. teens are skipping the $50 jeans as their parents feel the pressure of economic crisis.

With teen unemployment at 18.7% in May (compared to overall U.S. unemployment rate of 5.5%), teens are also being affected by country’s economic woes. And, with no increase in their allowances and no jobs, it is not surprising that teens cool down on their spending.

Still, teens will be teens and though they will be buying less, they will still go shopping for back to school. And that is what teen retailers like American Eagle Outfitters are banking on.

Offering a strong representation of fashion newness, including new fits and updated washes, the AE denim collection complements the retailer’s fashion offering for its first ever music festival.

“Our sexy concert t-shirt paired with the newest AE jeans is the must-have look for the season,” said Kathy Savitt, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, American Eagle Outfitters, Inc.

With names like Real Flare, True Boot, Favorite Boyfriend and Skinny 77 for its girl’s collection and Bootcut, Low Rise Boot, Low Loose and Straight for the guy’s collection, AE did not miss a beat on its proposals to it core teen market.