April 21, 2005

Punk Clothes For Babies: But Who Does Canada Blame?

When times have changed, and our kids are getting worse, we in the US can blame Canada. But then who do Canadians blame for "the rise of a generation of parents whose tastes are not only a flat-out rejection of their own upbringing, but also reflect an ambivalence about inhabiting the role of an authority figure"?

Well frankly, besides Globe and Mail columnist Karen von Hahn, I don't think anyone in oh-so-well-behaved Canada's worrying too much about it. I mean, what's the worst thing these rebellious parents are doing?

They're dressing their kids in black t-shirts printed with punk and heavy metal designs and gross-out jokes. I'm sure everyone was so horrified, they just had to visit all the designers and sites she namechecked in the piece [including a bunch that previously shocked you here at Daddy Types]:

New to you?
Nippaz with Attitude: the Malcolm McLaren of punk-ass baby gear
Nappyhead : Dude, if everything's "funky," nothing is.
Punkymoms.com: Someone's website needs Angel Alert; it seems to have wandered off.
Baby Wit: Cooler Sonic Youth onesies than the one I got the kid, but hey, I was young and stupid last year.
Metal Babies: An entire notebook coverful of band name puns--on a jumper!
Pottymouth: seems like van Hahn managed to mention every non-explicit slogan they have. All three of them.
CBGB's: hmm, nothing rebellious about parents foisting their high school-era music touchstones on their kids.
The Cradle Rocks: still more "hip clothes for punk kids." They do have the Dead Kennedys onesie I've been looking for, though.

New to me:
Sourpuss Clothing: the maker of that Dead Kennedy's onesie, er, jumper. [not mentioned in the article, but stocked on a couple of the shops]
L'il Chlo's: Tattoo-based designs from SF-based moms. Lots of 'beaters.
: Not just clothing. Started with the search for a black crib.
Baby Rock Apparel: Question: Seriously, what did graphic designers with babies do before American Apparel came along?
Alternative Punk Rock & Anarchy Shop: Answer: they used the oh-so-not-anarchic Cafepress. A whopping five designs to choose from? I smell a poseur.

All in all, I saw a lot of Ramones (cf. CBGB's) and one Joy Division, but no Interpol. So come on, where's the real hipster baby gear, people?

All this vaguely nostalgic, pre-packaged non-conformity makes me want to go to Old Navy.

Baby, It's Not You [The Globe & Mail], via
Hey, I Resemble That Statement! [Hello Josephine, both via DT reader Sam ]
Previously: too many mentions of 'punk' baby clothes to list

15 Comments

We blame your mom.
No, seriously I have had tons of luck finding good clothes for my little monster around here, even in the redneck part of Canada.
Many places have little punk shops with a "bang on" booth where you can get custom-made tees. They are by far the best places to get good onesies with gloriously offensive messages on them
by far my favorite was the 'My mom can kick your dad's ass" that my best friend bought for him.

Thank god someone is making these, although there's a lot of obvious choices and not enough quality (would love to see some Faces, Social Distortion, or Husker Du). That being said, I'm old school enough to like this outfit, and I may actually get it passed my wife:

http://www.hottopic.com/store/product.asp?ITEM=263133

I swear, if it isn't the video games it's the rock and roll or the damn t-shirts.

I look at a kid in a cool t-shirt or nice stuff of any other description and I think "there goes a parent who is having fun with being a parent".

Also, (at the risk of starting something like the fabled gun control or breast feeding war of early 2005) shouldn't people be equally upset about those odd ass head bands people insist on putting on their baby daughters? Or, for that matter, little suits for boys and little dresses for the girls? How do we know what the kid wants to wear. In effect, isn't all baby clothing (this side of a jute sack) really us projecting our values and vision of childhood onto the kid?

No Husker Du, but Punker Dunker has several vintage Social Distortion options in their 80's Orange COuntry concert flyers collection.

Thanks for the links, and the references. You're the man. I really really enjoy your posts. And may I add:

The graphic designer husband and I bought T-Shirt transfer paper at an office supply chain store for about $19 Cdn. (that's $3.46 U.S.) and using these Sailor Jerry-style designs available from the doyenne herself (hey - doesn't every kid want an old fashioned carnival themed birthday party these days! what about having really gnarly toothless and smelly carnies too?).

we'll be making t-shirts to match the fake tattoos that the stylist suggests are fun to put on kids. THAT should really offend Karen von Hahn.

As much as the "line" of outfits Gymboree had on sale a week ago - with PIRATES on them! Nothing is cuter on a baby than having marauding criminals on its clothing!

Heh, I think Martha got those in the slammer. Tattooed across her knuckles.

Like on these Nippaz mittens.

I know what my kid wants to wear - nothing. Not really practical in New England winters.

Although I have to admit to owning several adorably cute Baby Gap clothes for my daughter (they were all presents, ok? :) ), I can't be any more offended by Pottymouth as I am by babys clad in gear that was probably sewn by kids closer to their age than their parents' in Bangladesh for the multinational clothing companies...

Babies may not choose to wear clothes with offensive slogans, but do they have any more dignity wearing something that was made in a sweatshop by oppressed workers?

By the way, Karen von Hahn's email address is at the end of the article... I suggest we all send her pics of our kids in offensive clothing... if you don't own any, Photoshop something on a blank onesie! (bonus points for people who manage to use photos with the kid flipping the middle finger... :) )

(That's the way we do things in my part of Canada, not like those uptight folk in Toronto!)

what, you round up a posse and go after'em?

and I thought mob justice was only popular in the US... heh

Heh. I love the fact that I don't even have to buy any of the more obscene stuff to stand out around here. Shoot, with Focus on the Family just down the street, maybe I can just go with a Spongebob outfit.

That said, I'm still gonna put the kid in the Johnny Cash onesy, and the wife is trying to find one that says "Got Milk?".

Posse? Mob justice? I see you've been to my (very redneck) home province of Alberta, Greg! :)

Seriously, my problem with this von Hahn woman's rant (and bear with me through the regional Canadian stereotyping here) is it just sounds like another pushy Torontonian busybody trying to force her values on everyone... I mean, she says the obscene clothes rob the kids of their dignity, but dignity is a pretty subjective term... I know plenty of people who would be indignant if there were baby pictures of them lying around dressed like a little Gap clone. If the people who buy these clothes want to raise their kids with counter-cultural values, it's their right to do it ; who's to say it's better or worse than embracing the big chain's vision of babyhood?

At any rate, I don't feel strongly enough about either of the styles of dressing a baby to spend my hard earned money on them... my plan is to get through the first two years of my little princess's life with all the piles of clothes the female members of our families buy as presents. :)

I have got some really cool punk tees check it out at www.vintagelucys.com

You should check out www.MyPunkBaby.com, we carry many of the lines you are looking at, and we are always trying to keep up with the new up and comings. We understand that many vendors only carry a small amount of clothes in a line, so we try to carry all of them to give you a wide variety to choose from. We are growing at lightening speed, and we are way more than just cool fashions. We have great crib sheet sets, black and red baby cribs, baby slings and much more. And soon, our gift registry will be up again.

Other great places that you missed:
www.lilpunk.com (soon to be carried by us)
www.stardust.uk (soon to be carried by us)
www.metalbabeis.com (carried by us)
www.luckylildevil.com (we carry their whole catalog)
www.thekidswindow.co.uk (not all funky but a lot of great stuff)
www.pokkadots.com (again, not all punk, but some good buys)

I would love to get new ideas for punk themed t-shirt and onesie designs. If you have any good ideas that won't have copyright issues, please send them my way! In the meantime, check out existing ones at http://www.binkynation.com

Band Tees has a lot of rock and punk baby clothes:

http://www.band-tees.com/iStar.asp?a=29&search=infant&sortby=TOPSELLER&numperpage=18&pos=0

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