Unbrand my child!

I’ve never been particularly interested in clothing covered in branding. Not for myself and not for the boy. He’s had a couple of GAP hoodies with branding across the front, but other than that I don’t really go in for turning my child into a walking billboard. But what irks me more than branding, are children’s clothes covered in TV or film characters. It’s brand stretching at it’s most cynical.

Your kid likes this TV show? Why not advertise for us by having him walk around plastered in the stuff? Come on, we give you hours of fun for free, you owe us! Well no actually, we don’t. And producers realised long ago that the hours of ‘free’ fun could be paid for by ads. Maybe that’s why character clothing is on the increase. Traditional advertising revenues are falling with the advent of streamed TV and Internet. Whatever. Doesn’t mean I have to be part of it.

I would just like to make it clear that this is a totally personal preference. I don’t judge anyone for the clothes they choose to put their kids in. The fact you’ve got them up and dressed is a win from me! I just dislike character based clothes on my own child. And that’s fine. I’m happy to just avoid it. But that’s getting harder and harder to do. Even previously classic bastion of good quality children’s clothes, Marks and Spencer, have covered their recent children’s collections with TV and Movie collaborations.

I was looking for a plain, thin, summer hoodie for Oscar last weekend. The boy has one lovely one from Next, but I was looking for some variety. I was shocked at how little I could find that wasn’t covered in either branding or characters. And it saddened me. I mean I know the high street in Guildford isn’t the very pinnacle of choice when it comes to shopping, but it’s big enough, surely, not to have to devote any and all children’s clothing retail space to the big character names?

In the end do you know where I found a lovely, simple and well cut summer hoodie without any branding or character tie ins? Primark. I defied my own number one shopping rule and went in Primark, on a Saturday afternoon. And I found exactly what I was looking for. It almost pained me to realise my favourite brands had let me down and here was Primarni doing me a solid. I even ended up buying him the cutest pair of denim shorts and some socks too. Well, in for a penny in for a pound. Well 12 as it happens and I left pleased with my purchases. Happy ending.

Or rather, it’s really not. The hoodie has washed really badly. First wash and the fabric is incredibly bobbled. I’m gutted, but not really that shocked. It’s the reason I’ve avoided the chain in the past. You get what you pay for. And had I been looking for cheap I’m not sure I’d be as bothered. But I wasn’t, I was looking for plain, unbranded, uncovered in characters. That’s all. Is this what it comes down to?

High street chains please take note. Not all parents want to dress their children in ads for the latest blockbuster. At least while they still have a say in their children’s clothing. Who knows? If Oscar ever starts giving a hoot what he wears, I may just be eating my words!

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Life with Baby Kicks

The only thing wrong with Primark…

I’m having an afternoon off from mummy duties and spending a bit of alone time in Guildford. I needed to get Oscar some more short pyjamas (as the ones our friend Becky bought him for his birthday are proving such a hit). So my first instinct was to go to M&S. They have always been a staple of O’s wardrobe, providing good quality basics at reasonable prices. So anyway I went straight there and got exactly what I wanted. Short pyjamas, three pairs, for 12.

However, as all my maternity/holiday/savings finally ran out this month I’m on something of a budget drive. It’s not that I wasted money before but one of the things I always worked hard for in my life was the ability not have to budget. But needs must and anyway I think “hmmm I wonder if Primarni has anything cheaper?”

I don’t often go to Primark. Not because I have anything against it per se, just as a plus size I’ve never found anything to fit me in there. I have also found the children’s section, particularly for young boys, to be woefully small, especially in the Guildford branch. But as I’m trying to careful with my pennies (well not my pennies but that’s another post) I thought I’d check it out.

It was a mistake and a complete waste of time. Not because, as I suspected, they had nothing I wanted. They did have some really nice little boy clothes. No the problem with Primark was the people in Primark. I’m not talking about the staff, who seemed present and helpful. No I mean the customers.

I know that makes me sound like the worse kind of snob and to some extent it is the people themselves. The kind who will leave their babies screaming in the buggy whilst they rummage for a bargain. It upsets me but who am I to judge?

No, I think its the environment that brings out the worst in people. The low prices somehow send out a signal that this store isn’t really worth caring about thus clothes and shoes and accessories are thrown about with complete disregard rather like a jumble sale. I even found myself taking less care than I ever would in M&S for example. It was then I realised I needed to leave, empty handed.

If you do want to, I think Primark is one to do first thing in the morning and midweek. Other than that I think I’m going to stick to M&S and shop the sales.