Someone is buying all this “trampy” gear for their kids
Every time another group of parents throw their arms up in despair at the kind of clothing on offer for young girls at the big discount department and chain stores, it’s tempting to think these outlets have totally misread their market.
Target is the latest in the firing line, after a concerned mother put a comment on the retailer’s Facebook page on the weekend pleading with them to provide more age-appropriate girls clothing. Almost immediately her comment had attracted tens of thousands of “likes”. Take that Target!
Where are the Facebook campaigns for “shorter shorts for six-year-olds”, ha? Well, they don’t exist, and if they did they’d be a bigger story than this one.
But somewhere in this discussion about the sexualisation of girls and the lack of influences and clothing that allow them to be, well, girls, is the reality of supply and demand.
You think Target doesn’t do its research?
For every mother who clicks “like” on Facebook because she’s tired of trying to balance style, affordability and durability in her daughter’s wardrobe, there’s many many more either happy with the products on offer, or at least resigned to the fact the clothes are cheap and tend not to fall apart after three washes.
There’s also a reason cheap clothes can look a little cheap. Some dyes cost more than others, so the colours you see in discount clothing outlets range from garish to black.
The blues and greens are harder, the pinks more musky and you’re unlikely to find an organic cotton t-shirt in a lovely faded olive green like the one your bought yourself for $40 at Witchery.
And while many mothers won’t let their daughters near black until they’re at least teenagers, it’s cheap. The retailers can use off-cuts from last season’s adult’s range to whip up a few tight-fitting tops, glue on a few plastic sequins and viola! Your seven-year-old looks like a very short 17-year-old.
It’s also a volume game. If you cut an inch and a half off the length of the girls’ shorts, when you’re moving thousands of pairs in a season, that inch and a half adds up.
Add to that the fact that no two mothers have exactly the same taste - one woman’s “slutty” is another woman’s “sassy” - and you have a complicated equation.
Then throw in the fact your Year 2 angel knows all the words to the latest Nikki Minaj song and wants to look like her too, and you’ve got a perfect storm.
Target is carefully meeting a need. Target spokeswoman Lynn Semjaniv told The Punch:
Target’s childrenswear team incorporates an in-house design function who identify the latest fashion trends from around the world. We use contemporary trend forecasting to identify the latest clothing styles, fits and colours for our range. We also take into consideration the success of ranges from previous seasons that have worked well.
Over the past nine months, we have introduced customer feedback into product development and invite customers in various ways to touch, feel and share their suggestions on our products before they are approved for sale in our stores. It is important to us that customers have a wide variety of choice when it comes to selecting products that they feel are appropriate for them and their children.
All I can say is, thank god I got a boy. He’s spent this whole winter in two $8 fleecy tops from a DDS (discount department store). It’s hard to argue with $8, which is exactly the point.
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…