OK, I’ve determined what the first "collection" of this business (which I’ve named but can’t share with you until I’ve filed a trademark application) will be. Yep, you’ve probably guessed from the title of this post that the centerpiece of the collection will be JEANS!
I have questions for you parents about your preferences for jeans for your children. I’ll share them below. I’ve also got – just for fun – the history of jeans, which we probably all know touches on Levi Strauss. I’ll share that even farther below. In the meantime, though, I’ll share what brought me to the decision to launch this company with a blue jeans offering.
Many of you parents talked about jeans in our electronic conversations. Jeans are ubiquitous. We all own at least a pair or two. In fact on average Americans each own 9 pairs of jeans! I had planned to write that 66% of my children wear jeans nearly exclusively – the 9-year-old boy and the 16-year-old girl, who’s fashion tastes, aside from jeans, are quite disparate. But, the remaining 34% of my children, the 17-year-old boy who wears a bow tie every day set me straight. He frequently wears jeans too! In my mind’s eye he’s a more formal dresser than that. But, in reality he wears jeans with bow ties. So, there’s an example of the flexibility of jeans. By the way, I am not a completely oblivious mother. My older son’s recent activities (e.g. school board meetings and DECA competitions) have required him to wear a suit or sports jacket. Hence, that’s the picture of him that most readily pops to mind lately.
Jeans are certainly practical, they’re comfortable (if they fit well), they’re durable; they’re nearly a playground uniform. In the United States, consumers spent $15.7 billion on jeans in the 12-month period ending September 2006. That translates to about 550 million pairs of jeans purchased in the U.S. on an annual basis. Jeans are the most widely manufactured apparel item in the U.S. So, this company will produce jeans for children with Down syndrome.
So, what does "jeans for children with Down syndrome" mean? I’ll tell you the basics that I have planned and you tell me the rest, OK? First, an adjustable waist - to provide optimum fit and room for growth – and, therefore, longer periods of wear and greater value for you parents. Second, the proper length – so that you won’t have to pay for tailoring or spend time or trouble altering the pants yourselves. Third, room in the legs and bottom – enough to provide a comfortable and attractive fit, but not so much that the jeans look oversized and sloppy. Last, the jeans will look like regular ole jeans. They’ll have the standard 2 pockets in the front, and 2 patch pockets in the back. There won’t be a fifth pocket. That’s a lot of trouble and additional cost and, in my estimation, provides no value. Really, who uses a watch pocket anymore?
Here’s what else I plan. But I could use some validation and further fine-tuning from you. So, please comment on this site or email me (at email@example.com)
For the younger children – approximately sizes 6, 7 and 8: I understand that snaps, buttons, zippers are not a learned skilled at this age and so present a dressing challenge to kids at the point. So, our jeans will an integral waistband with faux closures. So, there will be a snap, but it will be just for show. There will be stitching to imply presence of a zipper, but there will be no zipper. Lastly, there will be no yoke in the back. There will be belt loops.
For older children – sizes 8 (yes, there’s overlap in term of styles since this appears to be an age where snapping, zippering skills are being developed), 10, 12, and 14. Still an adjustable waist – for the same reasons described above. A working snap and zipper fly. There will be a yoke in the back and belt loops.
For girls – embroidery on the back pocket - probably. What do you think?
For boys – reinforced (with an extra layer of denim) knees – maybe. What do you think?
Those are my plans and thoughts on design requirements. Now I need to hear your thoughts. Please, please write or contact me with your ideas, comments, thoughts.
Two last items before I close. In addition to a jeans offering for each gender, I’ll offer one additional style of pants. For boys the second style will be chinos. You tell me what color they should be. Navy, putty, sand? For girls it will be pink pants – probably heavy twill or pinwale corduroy. Thoughts?
The last thing is the history of jeans that I mentioned. Given the length of this post, I’ve decided to post a quick history of jeans tomorrow. It’ll give me something to write about and a reason for you to visit again. I think you might be surprised at the real history of the "invention" of jeans; I was. So, come back tomorrow. But share your thoughts with me today!