Children have always enjoyed dressing up, but research shows they are increasingly doing it in designer labels, with more than a third owning their first item of designer clothing by the age of two.
In a poll of parents with school-age children, the average cost of a child’s wardrobe was found to be £1,677, with almost two-thirds (62%) of children having at least one item of clothing from a top designer brand and 39% owning their first designer item before their second birthday.
According to the research commissioned by Sheilas’ Wheels home insurance cover, British parents are forking out on average £764 a year on the latest attire for their children, with 6% spending up to £1,500. The average child was found to have more than 154 items of clothing – including underwear and socks – along with shoes valued at more than £190 and toys worth £1,676.
Possibly influenced by the extravagant clothing and accessories of the children of fashion loving celebrities, such as Suri Cruise, Romeo Beckham and Kingston Rossdale, the research found that a quarter of kids (26%) wear a designer watch or item of precious jewellery, with 8% possessing an accessory valued up to £200. The average parent admitted to buying more than 64 items of new clothing for their child in the past year.
Meanwhile, parents’ website Mumsnet is attempting to rein in the cost of children’s clothing by calling for an end to “rip-off” replica Premier League football kits, claiming that parents are having to stump up an average of £80 for a complete strip. Reflecting the anger parents feel about the issue, 97% of those surveyed for the website said they thought the Premier League football merchandise was poor value for money.
By contrast, a comparable non-branded outfit from Marks & Spencer would cost £27, while the Labour Behind the Label movement estimates the production (manufacturing and transport) cost of the Premier League kits is about £9.
Despite complaints about “poor value” football strips, many parents seem in thrall to shopping when it comes to their children’s clothing. More than half of those polled for Sheilas’ Wheels have splashed out on clothes their children have never worn, while two-thirds admitted they have bought items that have only been worn once. More than half of parents insist on buying brand-new clothing, while almost a third said their children turn their nose up at hand-me-downs.
More than a quarter of parents admitted feeling guilty if they did not buy their child the latest fashion clothing. A further 39% felt it was their “duty” to keep their kids up-to-date with the latest trends, while 36% said they were worried their child would be bullied at school if they were not seen to be wearing the right clothing.
Jacky Brown of Sheilas’ Wheels home insurance said: “It used to be kids who followed in their parents’ footsteps, but now it seems children are leading the way when it comes to keeping up with expensive fashion trends.”