This was something that the brand Tommy Hilfiger asked me to write on.
If ten years back you asked someone about fashion and to which age group it applied to, chances are you would have heard something of an answer like teenagers/young adults. And this would have been the starting age group to which the term fashion applied.
Not untrue, this was pretty much the scenario till a few years back.
But come back with the same question today – which age group does the term ‘Fashion’ apply to in the starting category - and the answer just has to be – toddler.
It is not funny what the toddler of today is capable of – be it colour coordination, contrasts, matching, accessories, what to wear and what not, what to wear when, and what to wear with what – our toddlers today know all that and more.
Fashion today has taken up a whole new meaning. What was earlier a term for the teenage and young populace is today a term for someone who is just out of the crib. And if that is the case, as a mother I do believe that it is definitely the responsibility of the brands to come out with creations that are not only stylish and cute, but also sensible and realistic.
My little darling is all of three, but she knows more of her wardrobe and get-up than probably me.
My house has become a pink house, thanks to her phase of PINK ONLY, that still rears its scary head on and off, and I will say it, with due respect to all pink-lovers, that I HATE PINK!!!
Babies today know much more than we give them credit for. My daughter walks into a store with me, already decided on what she wants, whether its going to be a skirt, or a frock, or a tee, or a dungaree, or Capri, or jeans, or shorts…she has it all pre-decided – of course it is a different matter altogether that she never really sticks to that list, we always have to try and trick her into not selecting too many outfits – a trick she is soon catching up on and outdoing us.
So, as a mother, it is really a pleasure to walk into a store and see most of the work already done – that the displays are well-coordinated and thought out, that their staff is well-versed in the outfits and combinations – that is always a real help to a parent who is alone in the store with a toddler – that the material is such that will not harm the tender toddler skin, that the colours are bright and cheerful, that there are as many frill and fanices as are boys’ tees and shorts. The selecting, the coordinating, the trying on – it is always a comfort to have someone around who can help you with these little but important points and also guide you towards a useful purchase, without of course breathing down your neck.
Once someone had gifted my daughter a dress on some occasion, with all due respect to the person and to the thought that accompanied the dress, I did not make her wear it much, as the colour I thought was too dull to be put on a baby. As a mother to a daughter in the toddler age-group, I always prefer colours that are bright and fun. Of course a baby looks good in any and every colour, but that does not negate the fact that I do not really dress her up in greys and browns and shades that will make a day seem dull…and neither does she go for that colour in the store either. It is interesting to have a store that has bright and happy colours on its shelves - that is the store where babies’ clothes should be.
On a typical day when we are going out, my daughter has her preferences on what she wants to wear. She usually gives me two-three options and I am free to choose for her, but sometimes she takes the upper hand and decides on her own. So once the dress has been selected, she will promptly decide what clips to wear and which socks and shoes will go with it.
Get it right – kids today are not easily fooled, and neither are the parents. So unless and until a brand can offer them the best that is available, the race is already lost. Parents these days are much more aware and conscious about what is good and bad and what options there are in the market. Be it the material of the dress, the way a zipper has been stitched on, the buttons, the pattern – whether it can graze the skin of the baby – parents today are much more aware and take each aspect into consideration before making a purchase. And why not, if you are paying so much for a dress that the kid will outgrow in the next couple of months, it only makes sense that you make sure you are getting your money’s worth. And it is always good to come across a brand that acknowledges this parent-perspective.
There are endless days at home with my toddler when I have realised how aware she is about the concept of fashion. She is no fashion model, my little one, but she does have her taste in place. She knows what dress she wears at home and what dress she wears out, she knows the concept of matching, these days she is moving towards the concept of contrast, she has her likes and dislikes in place.
And yes, as a three-year-old, she has also begun to tell me what to wear and what not, like if I am wearing something to go out in, she will tell me if she does not like it and promptly ask me to change.
These are just some of the few things that my daughter does which make me realize how the concept of fashion is changing.
Mine is not an isolated case. I am sure you too must have experienced this in your own way, either with your own kids, or with young children in the family. And I am sure it has definitely amazed you, as it has amazed me. And, if your and my experiences are anything to go by, we can safely say that, fashion, as it is today, is definitely not going to grow up anytime soon ;)
As mentioned on the Tommy Hilfiger page: 'Debolina is the Editor of Parenthood and Pregnancy Magazine and blogs about her Little One at My Little One And Me.'
I would love to hear the views of ALL parents...Im sure you have interesting experiences on similar lines too :)
And like I always say and believe in:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ
- Debolina Raja Gupta