My mummy's a fashion victim!

9th July 2004 at 01:00
Children as young as six are cringeing because their parents are not wearing the "right" logos.

A one-year study by researchers at Leicester university has found that children are becoming increasingly label-savvy, pestering their parents into buying them particular brands of clothing and insisting they must look "cool".

Dr Chris Pole, co-director of the children and fashion project, said: "Logo awareness starts from age six. You have kids who are really savvy consumers; they know what they want, how much things cost, what is in and what is out."

Sports logos such as Nike and Adidas were favourites. Clothing linked with pop stars or toys had a much shorter shelf-life.

Dr Pole said: "Companies target children because they have access to a considerable amount of money through pocket money and pester power. But it is not all advertising and marketing.

"There are parents who have 'trophy children', who like to kit their child out in the latest fashions. And some kids are putting pressure on parents to become label-conscious and more trendy.

"Kids will work on their dad to wear the right tracksuit bottoms."

A survey by international consumer research group Mintel of 5,500 seven to 16-year-olds found that Britain's youngsters receive pound;1.5 billion in pocket money.

Logos and brand names have less impact on rural youngsters than their city counterparts, the Leicester study of 40 children and their families found.

School uniforms, which Education Secretary Charles Clarke has backed, are generally favoured. But the study found that they are not necessarily a social leveller.

"There are a lot of ways of wearing a uniform. The school may say black shoes, but which black shoes?" said Dr Pole.

The project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Board, also found concerns about the sexualisation of young girls' clothes.

Last year British Home Stores was criticised for its range of Little Miss Naughty underwear, which included padded bras and pants for girls as young as seven. The pants were withdrawn, but the bras remained after the store argued they were for older girls.

Vicki Shotbolt, head of communications for the National Family and Parenting Institute, said: "I cannot say whether parents take a lot of notice of what their six-year-old thinks they should wear. But by the time children are 13, they do have a major influence - especially on items such as computers or mobile phones."

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