Springingtiger's Blog


Handmedowns
August 25, 2013, 21:17
Filed under: Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , ,

When I was a child after I grew out of my clothes they usually were passed on to my wee brother. Not that I got all my clothes new, many of my clothes came from the sons of my mother’s friends. This was not an economy born of poverty, my father was comfortably in the supertax bracket,  no it was based on common sense and a dislike of waste; that our parents had just come through a war and rationing may  have had something to do with it.

Back in the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties there was no shame in wearing handmedowns. Passing on clothes was normal and practical. The public school at which I studied had a scheme to enable pupils’ parents to, in effect, lease items of uniform, there was no shame in it. I must admit that as the keystone of the uniform was a ginger Harris Tweed sports jacket wearing a second hand one made sound economic sense. Even then Harris Tweed was not cheap, but it was tough, we had pupils wearing the same jackets their fathers had, some of them may be gone now, I suspect some of the jackets survive.

Back then fashion was not the disease it has become and children were hardly infected. Today, thanks to the pernicious effect of unethical marketing, children resist handmedowns. Their clothes style is artificially dictated season by season and they must have the right look, worse still the right label and that pushes up prices. And the prices are inflated, I have a cousin who is in the Indian garment export trade, the price the “manufacturers” pay for their garments is a fraction of what they charge their customers. The fashion industry is exploiting the vanity  and gullibility of customers and creating the waste that threatens our resources and our planet.

I am a firm believer in school uniforms. Not because I like conformity, but because, when properly enforced, they provide for a few hours freedom from the tyranny of fashion.  Children should be free to focus on learning, playing and being children, they should not be forced into a savage game of “keeping up with the Joneses”. Our clothes were good quality and they served us well, they lasted because they were well made. Today’s children are lucky if their clothes last long enough for them to be grown out of, let alone handed down. Thrift should be seen as a virtue, not an offense, it is time to rebel against the dictatorship of fashion, it is time to take pride in common sense.

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