Take a look around any playground or soft play area, and you’d think we were breeding a nation of clone kids. The choice of clothing brands for kids has grown hugely over recent years, with supermarkets and adult clothing brands dipping into the children’s sector too. Despite the fact that we have more choice about where to buy our clothes, there seems to be precious little in the way of quirky and innovative design on the high street. As a parent of both boys and a girl, I am fed up with the only options for my boys being camouflage trousers and cartoon character t-shirts, and not every little girl wants to be head to toe in pink or Hello Kitty. Parents have to put in quite a lot of effort if they don’t want their child to join the kid clone army.
Make It Yourself
It’s not an option for everyone, but the success of shows like The Great British Sewing Bee has sent people to dressmaking shops in their droves. Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s not that difficult to make simple garments like dresses, skirts or shorts, and you have the freedom to use whatever fabric you like. Making your own clothing guarantees that your child will have something completely unique and individual, and made to measure as well.
Dyeing and Customising
If dressmaking doesn’t appeal, there are other ways of taking simple shop bought items and giving them an individual tweak. One wet weekend a few months ago my kids had great fun with plain white shirts and t-shirts when we got out the buckets, pieces of string and some cold water dye. Tie dye is fashionable at the moment and it’s easy to create stripes, circles and various other funky finishes on cotton garments. It’s also easy to customise dresses or blouses by adding trimming like ribbon or using various other little items like patches or buttons available from all haberdashery shops. You don’t even need to be good at sewing, just invest in some glue which is designed to resist machine washing.
With the best will in the world, most of us just don’t have the time or the inclination to make all of our kids’ clothes from scratch. A certain amount of high street spending is needed, but the key to getting an individual look is to steer clear of the mass market retailers and look for the little boutique or independent brands like Indikidual (you can see their collections online here)which specialise in producing something just a bit different. At first glance, buying clothes from a brand may seem more expensive when compared with supermarket and fast fashion chains, but you are getting a quality item which is made to a far higher standard and will stand repeated wearing and washing. Most of these sorts of items can be handed down to other children in the future, or can be sold on auction sites to other parents who recognise good quality items. You can still pick up the odd quirky item in the main high street stores, but be prepared to search through the mass of clone clothes first.