New guidelines for children's clothing emphasise modestyTuesday, July 3rd, 2012
New guidelines published last week by Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald (pictured) are to put the emphasis on modesty when it comes to children’s clothing.
The new voluntary guidelines, drawn up by Retail Ireland, outline the type of clothing that can be acceptably marketed for children, particularly girls, under the age of 12, the Irish Times reports.
The move comes after years of criticism about the selling by some shops of inappropriately sexualised clothes for preteen children such as padded bras, micro-mini-skirts, tops with plunging necklines and t-shirts with slogans like, “porn star in training.”
Ten of the main sellers of children’s clothes have signed up to the guidelines, namely, Arnotts, Brown Thomas, Clerys, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Marks and Spencer, Next, Penneys, Tesco and TK Maxx. All are members of Retail Ireland. The guidelines cover the styling, sizing, labelling and marketing of clothes, footwear and accessories for children.
Among the directions are that fabric and cuts should provide for modesty, slogans and images should be age-appropriate, there should be no enhancement or underwiring in first bras, and that bras should be labelled according to chest size, not age.
Ms Fitzgerald said Irish childhood had changed and continued to change, mostly for the better. However, there were potential negatives to some of the positive changes, particularly children’s increased access to information, new media and diverse cultural experiences.
“Some things are not the same for adults and children, never have been, never will be. Clothes with suggestive slogans, overtly sexual cuts and styles, unreal or unbalanced portrayals of an ideal body image are all not the same for adults and kids.”
She was happy the code is voluntary, describing it as, “the right way to go in this area.”
Mr Lynham said the effectiveness of the guidelines would be reviewed next year and an annual report would be submitted to the Minister, the first by mid-2013.
Lynn Walker, buying controller for children’s clothes with Penneys, showed how the guidelines were being applied across the Penneys and, internationally, Primark brands.
“We strive to keep the look of garments very childlike, so we take trends and offer them in a young and age-appropriate way.”
The guidelines include:
- Fabric and cut should provide for modesty;
- Slogans and images should be age-appropriate;
- Styles may need adjustment to ensure age-appropriateness;
- No need for structural support in vests and crop-tops;
- First bras to provide comfort, modesty and support but no enhancement or under-wire;
- Swimwear should provide for modesty, including when wet;
- Footwear should be supportive without excessive heel height.
by Tom O'Gorman