PARENTS

Would You Dress Your Baby In A Nipple Tassel Top?

20/08/2009 16:12 | Updated 22 May 2015

One of the joys of having a baby girl is the wonderful clothes you can buy her. But there's one top that might be a step too far for most parents -- a t-shirt printed with nipple tassels.

Suzi Warren, owner and designer of London-based clothing company Twisted Twee, is the creator of the controversial top and defended her decision in an exclusive interview with Parentdish.

As well as the tassel t-shirt her company also offers tops for little ones declaring "I've done f--k all today" (without dashes) and alphabet ones with B is for Beer and C is for Condom.

Warren, who spoke about her design via email from her holiday in Spain, is actually against sexualising fashion for children and believes the top is ironic.

"The Nipple Tassel t-shirt was designed as a response to my own distaste at seeing mini versions of sexy clothes on young children," she wrote. "Five-year-olds wearing slashed mini skirts and boob tubes, little thumb-sucking Britneys.

"There is nothing very sexy about a baggy, lap neck, long sleeved t- shirt for a 6-month-old. So by embellishing this style of garment with printed nipple tassels, the result is not that the baby becomes sexualized by the tassels, but that the tassels are made benign and silly by the baby. In fact the more inert, innocent and unaware the infant is, the more ludicrous the contrast becomes."

There are critics, however, who believe that today's girls are under increasing pressure to dress in a sexual way.

University of Iowa journalism professor Meenakshi Gigi Durham calls this "The Lolita Effect" in her book of the same name.

A survey last year carried out by Girlguiding concluded girls as young as 10 feel intense pressure to conform to social pressure to look and behave seductively, said Durham.

Warren agrees with critics who believe the media and fashion industry all play a part in pressurising young girls to become aware of their looks and to feel dissatisfied with them but she doesn't feel this is what her clothes do.

"My garments are not part of this trap because they are about a subtle as a blinking brick and are aimed at parents of children too young to read or speak.

"If you are wondering who would be heartless enough to put their tiny daughters in Nipple Tassel t-shirts, it is often their grandparents who think the design 'cheerful.' Or the parents of boys who think the whole gender bender things a bit of a hoot.

"Most of Twisted Twee's t-shirt designs are a response to some baffling thing or other our daughter Betty has done, and celebrate the befuddlement of parenthood and the idiocy of life. We call the things

we make pieces of Object D'aft. That is what the Nipple Tassel t-shirt is. A bit of lunacy," she wrote.

But what of the older sisters of nipple tassel t-shirt wearing babies, what message might it be sending them?

"I guess my answer would simply be if you have doubts about it, don't buy it," she wrote. "Your daughter is probably smart enough, self confident enough and relaxed enough to share the irony, but maybe she'd hate it and become very angry about it and that's probably not a bad thing either. Dressing a baby probably shouldn't be laden with social significance."

Dressing a child in such a top would make me feel uncomfortable. While it may be witty and ironic it doesn't feel quite right to me, almost as if I'd be having a laugh at my child's expense.

What do you think? Do you think the t-shirts are humorous and make a point? Would you dress your little girl in one?

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