When I was a child children’s fashion was largely confined to the offerings from Marks and Spencer and the department stores. Kids did not have extensive wardrobes and the emphasis was firmly on price and practicality. Neither the kids nor the parents were overly bothered about style and design. In fact I don’t think I ever really thought about what I was wearing unless I was given a special dress for a party or a wedding. Everything seems very different now and I don’t think I had realised quite how much until very recently.
The fashion landscape for children has changed dramatically, perhaps in large part because of the media dominated world we all live in. Kids have ready access to hundreds of television channels, social media and the enormity of the internet and so fashion information, publicity and guidance is in front of them night and day. I had three television channels to choose from and it was rare for any of them to find time in their schedules for fashion. Now there are whole channels focussing on the subject and a myriad of fashion blogs highlighting the latest styles and what the celebrities are wearing.
Media access has produced a celebrity obsessed culture of epic proportions. Even young children are looking at what their favourite stars are wearing and wanting to copy them. There is now a great social emphasis on how you look with fashion almost becoming competitive and it is not surprising that a rash of kid’s brands have arrived to take advantage of the feeding frenzy.
Many top designers have now introduced children’s ranges which have been a great success. I don’t know if it is the kids driving the thirst for these ranges or if it is the parents who want to dress up their kids. We now even have a fashion week for children such is the level of fashion consciousness amongst the younger generation. I don’t know if I am just weird but I find this a little disconcerting. Shouldn’t kids be more interested in playing and having fun? Perhaps this is why we have an obesity epidemic as everyone is sitting indoors watching fashion shows rather than being outside having fun.
Looking on the bright side, an awareness of environmental issues is now coming to the fore. Many of the quality brands are actively trading on their sustainable credentials and there does seem to be a growing resistance to the production processes and materials that are harmful both to the environment and the workers who produce them. In addition many brands, often from Scandinavia, are producing practical and funky fashion for youngsters which looks good but which can stand up to the rigours of play.
When an interest in fashion drives forces for good like saving the planet it can be a good thing but overall I think there is something rather unfortunate about really rather young children being overly concerned with how they look. All I ever wanted was to get outside and get dirty adventuring in the local woods and exploring. I wasn’t at all concerned about children’s clothing as all I wanted to do was have fun. I do have to admit though that I would have quite liked some of the rather lovely ranges that are now available if only for special occasions. I think it is a huge irony nonetheless that an obsession with appearance may well be causing weight problems. Too much time sitting in front of a screen and worrying about ruining your clothes rather than running