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Kidswear thrifting is Gen Z's latest craze, even though they're childfree

The strange fetish of a generation that invests in children it has no intention of having

Kidswear thrifting is Gen Z's latest craze, even though they're childfree  The strange fetish of a generation that invests in children it has no intention of having

After archive fashion, thrift haul and thrift flip, another vintage fashion trend has arrived for TikTok, but once again there's no shortage of controversy. Amongst Gen Z creators who deal in second-hand clothes onthe Chinese social platform, there are those who have started collecting suitcases full of clothes for their children, even if at the present moment they have no intention of looking after children. There is something for everyone: New Balance mini trainers, Carhartt dungarees, Disney prints and Ralph Lauren knitwear. Everything's terribly adorable. But who is going to wear these clothes if Gen Z doesn't want kids? 

@cw.thrift Collection is still growing! Not for sale, very sorry. #vintage#baby#babyclothes#thrift#style#clothing#carhartt#nike#goodwill#bins#savers#di#slavationarmy#utah#kids#drippedout#90s#fitcheck#fit naked freestyle - Baby Keem

For TikTok creator @cw.thrift, this new passion for vintage kidswear is above all an excuse to grab envy-worthy engagement shares. His videos "If she don't want dripped kids I don't want her" and "We will have the best dressed kids of all time!" are in fact nothing more than cunning methods to advertise his shop on Depop. He is not the first to exploit a trend on social media for marketing purposes, and he won't be the last to be criticised. Indeed, the numerous hauls of vintage children's clothing have stirred up controversy on TikTok, prompting some in the comments to take the side of mothers who perhaps really needed those clothes. Considering the affordable aspect that thrifting boasts, it has to be said that these clothes are often resold with inflated prices by the collectors themselves, worsening the resale issue that has long been plaguing sites like Depop, where users take advantage of high demand to raise prices as much as possible on the market. To quote someone on Tiktok, "Bro some mom needs that!". If we look instead at the Millenial side of TikTok, we notice far more consistent trends when it comes to vintage kidswear. There's the example of @aileiciajones and @dapperdom, the influencer couple who have long been promoting slow fashion and dress their two little ones in entirely second-hand outfits, always coordinated with mum and dad. Again, thrift hauls dedicated to their children are a means of getting more views, but perhaps in a more appropriate way. 


a lil try on at the end

Marketing or not, these videos work, and they are proof positive that children fashion is becoming more and more popular nowadays, even amongst generations that don't even dream about expecting. In 2022, the British research site found that 46% of Gen Z do not have parenthood among their future plans, claiming instead that they want to invest most of their earnings in their image, i.e. buying clothing and beauty products. Surprised? Perhaps not. Among the reasons explained by the survey respondents as to why they dream of a life without children is the cost of living crisis, the environmental impact and the worsening unfair treatment of young mothers in the workplace. This bitter disinterest in parenting has depopulated on TikTok, the main online outlet for Gen Z, where the hashtag #childfree has more than half a billion views. In spite of the clearly ironic tone of the videos in question, they clearly reflect the pessimistic view that young people have of their future. And this is where the paradox arises: the fear Gen Z youths have for their uncertain future makes them take refuge in the nostalgia of the pre-internet past, becoming such an anchored obsession that they go so far as to buy clothes for children they will never want.