Blog: Leonie BarrieChildren's clothing with a conscience

Leonie Barrie | 6 June 2011

It's hard not to question the ulterior motives of the UK retailers who have put their names to new 'good practice' guidelines for stores selling children's clothing. Indeed, of the nine high street chains and supermarkets claiming to "take our responsibilities seriously" when it comes to making sure they don't sell sexy or exploitative clothing for the under-12s, five have already been hauled over the coals in recent years for selling inappropriate garments for kids.

Public outcries forced supermarket retailer Asda to withdraw padded bras for children, while Marks & Spencer was criticised for selling a crop top that looked like a bra for girls as young as six. Concerns have also been levelled at padded bras on sale at Tesco, and online at Next and Peacocks.

Today's code of conduct coincides with the launch of a government review into children's sexualisation, which recommends the retail industry signs up to new guidelines that checks and challenges the design, buying, display and marketing of clothes for children. Cynically, it's hard not to believe the two are connected. So perhaps it's the threat of criticism and possible new restrictions resulting from this investigation that has really pricked the retailers' collective conscience.

And there's also something disheartening about the fact that not only has it taken a government review to spur retailers into issuing advice, but that that advice has to state what, surely, should be commonsense. 

So we're told "fabrics and cuts should provide for modesty," "slogans and imagery must be age appropriate and without...suggestive, demeaning, derogative or political material," "the length of skirts and neck-lines need to be considered," thongs are not appropriate," "no mention should be made of 'enhancement' or 'under-wiring' in any children's [bra] ranges," "underwear should never be modelled on children."

But then, as the mistakes of the past show all too clearly, unsuitable designs do make it all the way to production and retailing without being spotted. Only time will tell if the new guidelines make a real difference.


BLOG

US border tax a contentious issue

Fresh from their disappointment at seeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal abandoned last month with an executive order by President Donald Trump, the US apparel and footwear sector...

BLOG

Primark's sustainable cotton programme takes shape

With the ultimate aim of ensuring all the cotton in its products is sourced sustainably, value clothing retailer Primark is adamant that having a business model focused on offering the lowest prices o...

BLOG

Trump administration starts to shake up trade

Last week we marked the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States by taking a closer look at what's at stake for the textile and apparel trade – especially his promises t...

BLOG

Likely shifts in the sourcing landscape in 2017

Continuing our look at what lies ahead for the apparel industry and its supply chain in 2017, the panel of industry experts consulted by just-style last week tackled likely shifts in the sourcing land...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?