University of Leicester eBulletin

Children and Fashion

May 2003
No 133

Many parents will be all too aware of the importance that fashion can play in the lives of children and families. Many will have experienced that sinking feeling when nothing but the designer trainers, jeans, jacket or shirt will do, regardless of expense and sometimes of taste!

But why does fashion hold such influence over even quite young children?  

A team of University of Leicester sociologists has won funding from the Economic and Social Research Council to examine these and other issues surrounding children’s clothing consumption.

Drs Christopher Pole, Jane Pilcher, Tim Edwards and Sharon Boden are working with 6-11 year olds and their families from different social backgrounds in different parts of the country to study their clothing purchases over twelve months. At the end of their study they hope to understand what motivates children to choose the fashions they wear, how clothing purchases are negotiated within the context of the family and something of the significance of clothing and fashion in different aspects of children’s lives.

Also by interviewing executives from the children’s clothing industry the Leicester researchers hope to find more about the role design and marketing play in persuading young people what everybody and nobody wears - and why.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Further information is available from Drs Christopher Pole and Jane Pilcher, University of Leicester Department of Sociology, telephone 0116 252 2724/2522731 fax 0116 252 5259, email

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