Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Global Kids Fashion Week: Should children wear designer clothes?


Alex & Alexa with their enthusiastic children & charity spokeswoman


In ONE weeks time London will be host to the first ever global children’s fashion week. It will be three days filled with fashion shows in Covent Garden. The first day will be for a media showcase and the other days will be for a ticket buying audience, proceeds going to charity 'Kids Company'.

In a recession, where the majority of young twenty somethings are job hunting and interning their youth away and the rest of the job holding population are facing larger gas bills, food bills, redundancies and pushed back retirement schemes, now does not seem like the time to invest in designer clothes for someone who will outgrow them a few months after purchase. Nevertheless this has not stopped AlexandAlexa.com pioneering the scheme.

Heralded as a playful performance of fun childish fashion, and definitely not a copycat of the adult versions on a mini body, children and stylish parents are urged to purchase a £100 ticket and attend.

Meanwhile, recession anxiety mongering aside, I wonder what the moral repercussions are for children, flaunting the latest designer clothes to their parents and parents flaunting their designer clothed child to others in turn?

I was a child at a private school with no uniform and designer clothes flaunting occurred regularly, especially in the changing rooms post P.E. When we were 8 or 9, the shrill designer clothes club would boast about their ‘maharishis’. I have never come across them since, but they were baggy trousers with embroidery on the ends (very impractical) and I was told they would cost £100-200 each. The queen bee of their gang had at least three pairs. I looked down at my baggy red gap jumper and floral leggings rather woefully. I loved reading stories and dressing up as an elf or a fairy, but I had yet to come across fashion or Vogue. My kind of childhood seemed to be disappearing, as the other children became more fashion conscious and looked at my outfit in disdain.

Mini Breakfast at Tiffany's
It is one thing to be a teenager, and have the freedom to discern your own stylish appetites, with more of a choice to rebel or conform to a fashion focused environment, but it is quite another to be an ignorant child suddenly facing feelings of shame for something they can’t control. Not to forget the large and unaffordable demands on the parent’s purse strings that occurs in this time-period. Most people do not buy designer clothes.

For people that do: can you put your child in designer clothes, allow them to enjoy the messy playtime rambles of childhood, then not get the stains out of their Paul Smith playsuit and still feel that the purchase was justified? Well-made clothes are one thing, cotton clothes are a good thing, but £230 for an every-day Burberry four year old dress is brought by someone who uses their hundreds like loose change.

These parents, who have this kind of loose change, are an elusive elite-breed, distributing their values to glossy magazines so the rest of us can consume their life-style without living it, with the actual loose change in our pockets. And while designer clothes for adults are just about acceptable, there is a wasteful nonchalance in designer clothes for a child that leaves a sour taste in our mouths, even if the children are indulging in their flair for fashion with the latest patterned skirts. While most parents want their children to shine outside and in, and a lot of children love to dress up, ought there be a moral monetary limit? Like no more than £50 per item, and even then that should be for an artic coat? When half the world is starving it seems odd to spend anymore on something that will be outgrown quickly.
'Kids cultivating a nautical look' - or is it their parents?

At Global Kids Fashion Week, children will either be the dressed up dolls of their parents or the parents will be their child’s dressed up wallet. The children may look like beautiful angels, but mess is a child’s best friend, and those yummy mummy’s princesses and princes won’t stay that way for long in their Zadig & Voltaire £88 blazers and Burberry £218 fur coats. How children, brought up highly conscious of their clotheshorse abilities, will turn out post-fashion-show – only time will tell.

Having said that, there are great discount sales going on for these clothes online. Which makes it seem almost worth it?

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