Outrage at retailers’ failure to respond to new government plans to offer all 2, 3 and 4 year olds 30 hours a week early years care and education heightens. One supermarket spokesperson has given the following statement this morning: “Regrettably, we simply cannot source a manufacturer who can supply school uniform romper suits in grey, black and navy nor popper fastening polo shirts in pale blue, red and yellow by this coming September. It’s also proving impossible to get hold of sweatshirts in bottle green, black and burgundy because they’re just not nice colours on babies apparently. Overseas suppliers have been sending us shirts and blazers in chest sizes ranging from 24 inches to 36 inches instead of ages 24 months to 36 months, assuming we’d just made a typing error because no government in their right minds would even dream of sending a toddler to school. This has set us back considerably”.
Meanwhile, as stores the length and breadth of the UK are being inundated with complaints for failing to meet consumer needs, clothing alteration shop owners have never experienced so much footfall since World War II. They’re being asked to sew collars onto envelope shoulder popper fastening baby vests and to stitch patches over Bob the Builder and Winnie the Pooh motifs. Those with a sense of entrepreneurialism have already customised equipment to embroider mini school logos directly onto granny-knitted jumpers with train and flower shaped buttons. Some who went to art & design college and don’t understand how they ended up working in the back room of a launderette next to the off-license hope to turn their fortunes around by designing bespoke baby and toddler uniform for the more discerning parent who wouldn’t dream of buying off the peg for their little treasure. Designers have already coined a new term for making baby wear more ‘street’ and are geared up to commence “kool-skooling” booties, bonnets, babygrows and mittens on a string to complete the ensemble if there is a market for it.
We’ll know more on the 9th of June about whether or not this panic has all been for nought.