The infamous Tatler Debutante Ball, commenced recently in Moscow really got me thinking about the perks of kids’ fashion. Even though it is a black tie event, I reckon it’s acceptable to bring even the youngest ones there, of course only if they will be dressed accordingly and behave appropriately.
This year the most fashionable mothers of Moscow did an impressive styling and pedagogic job. For example Snezhana Georgieva and her daughter Sonya demonstrated a wonderful double-dressing in identical sequined tuxedos. While Olga Thompson and her daughters showed up wearing similar ball gowns with red flowers.
My daughters are still too young to think about the ball (even though they do, a lot), while I was obliged to miss this grand social event due to personal reasons. However I did spend a lot of time curiously looking through the pictures taken at the event, which was a purely professional interest as I’ve been working with kids’ and teenagers’ fashion for years.
Of course dressing up is easier than dressing casually. Even the double-dressing wouldn’t work in everyday life. Girls always want to be special, they want to have their own personality apart from simply being a mini copy of adults. Me and my friend visited the Zara store recently, I got a jacket, while my friend sadly admitted that her fourteen year old daughter doesn’t let her wear Zara because she doesn’t want her to be dressed same as her.
It’s hard to dress the contemporary girl, they grow up really early. Some of the classmates of my eight year old daughter already look as if they are fourteen, they practically have the same body type as me. So how are they supposed to dress? Jump out of the cute Hello Kitty outfits straight into Roberto Cavalli? Should they just deal with the grown up wardrobe just because the size fits better?
This is a huge problem not only for the parents, but for designers as well. From a marketing point of view it’s really important for kids’ wear designers to thoroughly think through the ways of dressing teenagers right. I myself plan to find a solution and I hope that my daughters will help me a lot.
For now they don’t care much about what they wear. Clothing for them is not about the tags and brands, it’s all about functionality - skirt or pants, cardigan or dress, comfortable or not, hot or cold. I’m extremely happy that unlike some friends of my daughters that knew what Chanel and Dior was since the day of birth, my girls had no idea what ‘a fashion brand’ was until I launched my own. Now they know where the words on the labels come from, however luckily they are still not ready to differentiate them more distinctly than ‘mom’s’ and ‘everything else’.
They are very much like me in this sense: I don’t care much about the big brands and I’m never overdressed if it’s not necessary. Mother for a girl is the main fashion role model, that’s why it’s important to be a good example. However that never guarantees that in terms of fashion you and your daughter will always have the same views. I’ll tell you more: the fashion rebellion is inevitable. How many times me and my co workers from Five Kids witnessed such little revolutions!
Teenagers are in general not huge fans of shopping with parents. That’s why the more understanding moms and dads are doing the following: take their youngsters to my store and leave them there with me. Weirdly enough, with me, a stranger, they feel more comfortable shopping. They don’t really know that I myself haven’t decided yet whether the kids should wear the typical kids clothes with bows and bright prints or is it better to teach them how to dress in a more adult-like way the earlier the better.
I really hope that someday I will come to one concrete answer. For now I’m trying to find the golden middle. The adults are always sure that they know better what their children need. While this may be absolutely true, the kids can’t stand being pressured. I vividly remember how I was made to wear a fur hat and warm leggings, because it was “cold”, and however cold it was I would always take off both of those things and would hide them behind the radiator at the front door.
And that is exactly why I don’t wrap the girls into ten layers of wool. And I never stand in the way if they want to wear sneakers when it’s snowing. “And what about the cold and flu?” - say the overly caring mothers. Please, it’s not like they are walking around in flip flops! Of course I explain them that dressing not accordingly to the weather conditions might end up in sickness. But let’s be honest, the children get the colds and flus mostly from the viruses at school, and no fur coat can help in this case.
However even my fashion democracy has its limits. Yes, there is a choice, and an absolutely free one, but they have to chose from what was chosen by me (most of the time at my own boutique). Because otherwise they will dress with their own understanding of beauty. And there will be a green top, red skirt and orange boots - so that every freaky stylist from fashion week could get jealous. And not for Halloween, but for everyday life. And not to the club, but to the classroom.
I’m extremely happy that there is uniform at our school. And I don’t agree that it’s something that suffocates the individuality as there is always a chance to express yourself in details.
Me and my mother would always argue over a collar on my brown school uniform. I used to spend school vacations in Ukraine at my grandmother’s, where every village had its own culture of lace weaving, so I had a huge collection - try to pick out the right ornament to go with the tights and the bow.
My mother still sighs that all of that those years were wasted. However that doesn’t mean that I never listened to her. For example, she could never stand the midi skirt length, thinking that the below the knee length can make even the longest legs shorter. And I don’t like midi either, I don’t wear it myself and I wouldn’t put it on any of my girls. Thank you, mom!I really hope that one day I will hear the words of gratitude from my daughters - at least for a wide collection of evening outfits. I composed a collection for every case, including the Tatler Ball, that will definitely make my girls’ life easier. Plus I don’t feel guilty anymore, because every time I get a new outfit I tell myself “it’s all for the kids”!