The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fashion for the under-fives

Looks from Roberto Cavalli's Angels and Devils line will be shown at petitePARADE.
Credit: petitePARADE

Amongst the many pages of adverts in August's Marie Claire UK magazine, I came across an advert for Roberto Cavalli's Junior range. I’ve been reading Marie Claire for about two years now and it's the first time I can recall coming across an advert for a designer clothes range for children, so it made me pause in my page turning.

I'm not a parent myself, so I can't pretend to be an expert on how to dress children. However, I've never understood the point of buying expensive clothes for children, especially babies and toddlers, because (again, not an expert here) don't kids tend to grow really quickly at that age? So, spending a lot of money on an outfit that will soon be outgrown by your child seems somehow wasteful to me. But if people can afford such luxuries, that's up to them.

Inside the same magazine, there was also an article on four mothers who work in the fashion industry and how they are encouraging their daughters to share their love of fashion. This passion acts as a bond between parent and child. It is something they can share and create together, and although onlookers might question whether such a focus on image and looks is healthy to teach a young girl, the bond they have with their mothers appears strong.

One of the mothers featured explains how her four month old daughter "has attitude and needs clothes to match her personality." Can a four month-old baby really have any conception of fashion beyond what feels comfortable? Her mother then goes onto explain how she realised that "shopping for your baby is [...] just an extension of what you put yourself in," which seems to suggest that the attitude being embodied in the baby's clothes is actually the mother's.

Is there much doubt then that her daughter will grow up to love fashion? I guess it depends on which side of the nature/nurture debate you fall on. All I can hope is that mothers who put such emphasis on fashion in their relationships with their daughter use it as a means of bonding and not as a measure of self-esteem.

-Sarah Jackson
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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