tvnewsaustralia September 17, 2018

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ONE is an Australian clothing and merchandise store selling clothes for families on a budget. The other is a billion dollar fashion brand. But, one look at the kids clothes from Balenciaga, and you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for Best & Less.

The French fashion house, an alleged leader in luxury fashion, once famed for its haute couture dresses and iconic bags, has just launched a kid’s range. But the new unisex line has me wondering if Balenciaga aren’t trolling us all.

Oversized trackie-daks, hoodies, and plain T-shirts that wouldn’t look out of place in a family video of your brother’s touch footy game from 1985 are being sold for hundreds of dollars.

media_cameraA luxury fashion brand has launched a kid’s range, but it bears a striking resemblance to an Australian budget clothing brand. Picture: Supplied.
media_cameraBest & Less has a range of staple items that are perfect for a budget, however you would be forgiven for confusing this simple jumper for the Balenciaga one. Picture: Supplied

No, I get it. You’re paying for the brand. All you have to do these days is slap a logo on a T-shirt and you can jack up the price by a thousand dollars. Gucci is the T-shirt to wear right now, and that’s fine. You’re an adult, you waste money on whatever you want.

But this is seriously something else. The kids line is a replica of the adults one, launched last year, it included the same sloppy track pants and T-shirts for $1000.

media_cameraNatalie Reilly argues all you have to do is attach a fancy logo and brands can up the price by a thousand dollars. Picture: Supplied.
media_cameraThe Best & Less alternative. Natalie explains this new line won’t work for kids- as they grow so quickly, you would be better off with a cheaper pair of trackies. Picture: Supplied.

Confused? Yeah, don’t be. It’s all based on the “Dad Core” trend. For those not familiar with this deliberately daggy fashion direction, allow me to explain.

Back in 2014, the fashion pack, weary of “stunt dressing” that is, piling on every designer thread you own until you resemble a mentally unwell peacock in the hope you’ll be photographed, decided to rebel. Well, maybe they didn’t actively decide. Let’s call it a backlash.

Whatever it was, scores of editors and art directors and wannabe Instagram “ïnfluencers” began turning up to Fashion shows in plain white T-shirts, boot cut jeans and bum bags. New York Magazine christened it “NormCore” but if you’ve seen an episode of Seinfeld, you know it’s basically a carbon copy of George Costanza’s wardrobe. In other words, what everyone’s dad was wearing in the late 80s and early 90s, replete with white sneakers and wind breakers.

In 2014, NormCore was an ironic middle finger to the hype surrounding fashion blogs. And that sort of dressing is fine if you’re an attractive fashion editor who would look good in a garbage bag. Skulking around Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks looking like Kel Knight will only boost your street cred.

“Ooooh, she’s wearing a hoodie, and sitting next to Anna Wintour? Edgy!”

media_cameraA Balenciaga Kids simple grey T-shirt will set you back $225, but you can get a grey kid’s tee at best and less for just $3. Picture: Supplied

But this “Dad Core” trend so beloved by fashion influencers, is just not going to work for kids, because, guess what? Kids already dress like that. No, maybe not rich kids, who can afford to attend after-school Japanese calligraphy lessons and interpretative sculpture on weekends. But for ordinary kids, between 2 and 10, who are outgrowing their T-shirts in the time it takes to conceive of an ironic fashion line, it’s meaningless. And baffling.

More baffling, to me at least, is that Balenciaga’s blue hoodie — retailing for $337 — has already sold out.

But don’t worry, parents — I’ve got you covered. There is an almost identical one at Best & Less going for $3. That’s right. THREE DOLLARS. That plain, grey marle T-shirt being sold for $225 from Balenciaga? It’s also available at Best & Less for $3.

And, for those of you concerned that cheap clothing is being manufactured in sweatshops by exploited workers, (I honestly have no idea if they are, by the way). But if that is your particular woe, let me remind you that these luxury fashion brands are indulging in the same practices, they just have slap higher prices on their threads.

So, I’m putting Balenciaga in a time out — no more “Dad Core”, no more “Kid Core” – let be kids be kids. The backlash starts now.

— Natalie Reilly is a freelance writer and mum. Continue the conversation on Twitter @thatnatreilly

Originally published as Designer kids trackies with a hefty price-tag





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