I lived in simple tee shirts and jeans and cotton hand-embroidered dresses as a kid. Hand-me-downs from older cousins and friends were eagerly accepted. The fanciest shoes back in the day were sneakers with lights! Essentially, fashion was inconsequential to me as a child. I was pretty much at the mercy of my mother, who thought comfort and being appropriately clad for the weather was of utmost importance. The closest I came to looking glamorous was when I played ‘dress up’ with her clothes, heels and lipstick (the latter being on the sly) and this was not encouraged often.
Today, it’s a completely different story. Childrenswear is a huge market. Mainstream international designer labels like Marc Jacobs, Chloe and Gucci have introduced kidswear lines.There’s super expensive designer clothes out there for kids who are outgrowing their clothes at an alarming rate. This apart, the kind of clothes and shoes available for kids today are slightly mindboggling.
A piece in the New York Times mentioned how high heels are a trend among 11 year olds and younger! The article notes how this is actually just a part of the larger picture; the Mini-me trend that has recently hit kidswear markets. While some feel this could be the weirdest trend ever many mums think there’s nothing wrong with dressing their kids like miniature versions of themselves.
Personally, I find it a tad unsettling to see kids in ripped jeans, halter tops and skinny jeans. Children’s bodies are very different from that of an adult’s. Secondly, how are kids supposed to muck about on the playground in maxi dresses and kitten heels? Where are the sensible dungarees and non-fuss pinafore dresses that we ran around in?
The recently concluded Global Kids Fashion Week in London has opened up discussions on whether the increasing popularity of the mini-me trend will affect the innocence of children, by fast tracking their childhood and also put unnecessary pressure on them to be ‘fashionable’ from a really young age.
This could potentially have a deep impact on not only their teenage years but early adulthood as well. There is too much emphasis on looking a certain way rather than about having fun. Most young kids today have role models that are celebrities who they emulate in every possible way.
All naughtiest kids are techno-savvy, resulting in they being exposed to everything adults are aware of as well. The world making a fashion icon out of 7-year-old Suri Cruise isn’t helping either. She’s now allegedly starting her own fashion label for kids!
Romeo Beckham has been on GQ magazine’s best dressed list at the ripe old age of 8, while also modelling for adult designer wear brand Burberry. Willow Smith, the 11-year-old daughter of actors Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith is a self confessed fashion junkie and is regularly in news for her sense of style. Madonna and her daughter Lourdes are collaborating on a fashion line called ‘Material girl’.
So celebrities and their kids seem instrumental in sparking the popularity of the Mini-me trend. I’m not sure that the current obsession with branded clothes and adult styles is particularly healthy.
I think parents today should encourage their children to enjoy kiddiehood and live in the moment instead of impatiently waiting to grow up. There will be enough time to wear fitted dresses and skinny jeans in the future. For now, enjoy the frocks and Bermudas with sensible footwear because those are most comfortable and appropriate for the hours spent at the playground.