In spite of high fashion’s continuous obsession with youth, it’s primary focus is decidedly grown up. As inspirational as youth culture can be – adults will always be the ones firmly holding the pursestrings. Preteen models and twenty-something designers aside the majority of fashion media depicts a dream aimed at those old enough to vote. When fashion does delve into greener territory it’s usually through the lens of the tween set. Given that their allowances (with a little help from mom and dad) add up to serious business they get the bulk of the attention. That said, fashion’s version of “kids stuff” is often too saccharine or cloying to maintain a multi-generational appeal. The balance between what will excite children and engage those responsible for them frequently remains unmet.
Perhaps this is what makes Kid’s Wear, a German children’s publication dedicated to an artistic view of children’s fashion. While the magazine itself might be slightly too avant-garde for the grades K through 6 set their parents are sure to be impressed. Something has to be said for the uniquely unsentimental way in which they present childhood – there is unrestrained joy, beauty and of course fun but the magazine shies away from the kinds of prepackaged cuteness that can mire juvenile enjoyments. With a contributers list that reads like an art photography who’s who – Nan Goldin, Bruce Weber, Takashi Homma, Oliviero Toscani, etc. – and a sharp focus on art direction – the issues have a look unlike anything else. There are no popular Disney stars, no cartoon tie-ins – just a fresh representation of youth that hinges on creativity.