As summer fades, the excitement is building for the start of a new school year.
And if your family is preparing children to return to the classroom, Warwick Mall and Cranston’s Garden City Center have just what you’re looking for – from seasonal fashions to lunch boxes.
Linda Campbell, marketing director at Warwick Mall, said one item stands out for back-to-school shoppers.
“The big thing is backpacks,” she said. “Everybody’s searching for backpacks.”
Campbell said Justice, which provides a range of products for girls ages 4 to 15, offers backpacks and lunch bags. Journeys, meanwhile, is the largest distributor of JanSport backpacks, which come with a lifetime guarantee. PINK also offers backpacks.
Janice Pascone, marketing director for Garden City Center, said L.L. Bean is a great destination for backpack shoppers. And while at the store, she said, shoppers should remember: “It’s never too early to start shopping for fall and early winter jackets.”
Pascone also said Whole Foods offers a range of “cute lunch boxes” for children.
In terms of back-to-school fashions, Pascone said jeans and overalls are among the clothing favorites this year.
“Ripped denim is still in, but colored denim is also making news in earthy greens, reds and oranges … High-rise ‘mom’ jeans are also a cool choice,” she said.
Cargo pants and “joggers” are other hot items, she said – and “camo prints are big.”
Pascone pointed to graphic T-shirts and hoodies as among the popular items this year – particularly those featuring “colorful ombre stripes, graphic logos, color blocking, tie-dye and florals.”
Additionally, Pascone said, the “athleisure” trend in youth clothing is “still going strong.”
“That’s especially the case in the elementary grades, when comfort is key on the playground,” she said. “Try leggings and sweatpants.”
In keeping with that trend, Pascone said slip-on sneakers “make the top grade” this year.
“Think bright neon colors and shining metallics,” she said.
Pascone said Athleta, Garden City Center’s newest store, is a prime location for comfortable back-to-school clothes, particularly for young girls.
Other stores to visit for back-to-school shopping needs include GAP, GAP Kids, Carters, Hanna Andersson, The Children’s Place and Fat Face.
At Warwick Mall, Campbell said clothing shoppers can find great deals at H&M, with styles starting from $4.99, and Old Navy, with styles starting from $5.
The Paper Store, meanwhile, offers apparel and jewelry from Ivory Ella, a Westerly-based company that works with the nonprofit organization Save the Elephants.
“Those are hot items,” she said.
Shoppers at The Paper Store can also find hydro flasks to help keep students hydrated during the school day. Target offers a wide range of items to fill back-to-school needs, especially for college students preparing for dorm life.
Beyond the various shopping opportunities, visitors to Warwick Mall are welcomed to enjoy a trio of “Back to School” events being hosted in partnership with local radio stations.
The Coast 93.3 Back to School event, hosted by Jenn Dower and the Coast Street Team, will be held from 4-6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22. Campbell said during the event, there will be a giveaway for two Vera Bradley tote bags from The Paper Store filled with school supplies and tickets to Six Flags New England.
It will be followed by Back to School with 92 PRO FM, being held from 12-2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24. Barbi Jo will host the gathering, and visitors will have a chance to win tickets to see 5SOS and The Chainsmokers live, along with a $92 mall gift card.
The Cat County 98.1 Back to School Supply event will be held the next day, Sunday, Aug. 25, from 1-3 p.m. Visitors who donate one or more school supply items at the Cat Country booth during those hours will receive a free piece of swag from the station and be entered to win either a mall gift card or tickets to see Old Dominion perform at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Nov. 8.
Beyond the back-to-school bustle, Campbell also noted that Warwick Mall will welcome its newest store, Windsor, with a pair of grand opening parties next month. The first will be held from 12-4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, and the second takes place Saturday, Sept. 28, during the same hours. The events will feature music and prizes.
Windsor, which specializes in women’s fashions, officially opens its doors on Thursday, Sept. 12. It will be located across from the Carousel Food Court in the space that previously housed Wet Seal.