If you’re a reader who has no interest in childrenswear, I’m asking that you give this article a chance. This isn’t only about childrenswear, it is about the makings of a great clothing brand.
Polarn O Pyret is a traditional Swedish childrenswear brand who is probably best know for their unisex red/white or navy/white stripes. A friend of mine told me that when she was a child they all used to wear unisex clothing – mostly Polarn. I’m in love with their simple, stylish childrenswear and love the idea of children running around in nautical stripes. I’m also a very big fan of unisex clothing as everything my son wears gets handed down to my daughter – and I don’t want her walking around with boy character clothing or silly boy stuff like that.
Anyway, now that I’m in Sweden I’ve learnt a bit more about the typical Swedish child’s wardrobe – and why Polarn truly is great. Most kids go to daycare here, and that means they need rain gear, snow gear, and the layers underneath to keep warm. So aside from all the cool, stylish stuff that Polarn sells, they also sell super practical and good quality rain sets, snow suits, and fleece or wool under garments.
Wool!!!! I can’t tell you how difficult it is to find wool for children, at a non-ridiculous price. I always opt for natural fibers against their skin when I can, and Polarn sells the most beautiful fine merino wool long johns and long sleeved tops to wear under their snowsuits. If you don’t have kids you are probably not that excited about these facts, but if you do, and you are a materials snob like me, you’ll appreciate how difficult it is to get proper warm wool clothing for children. Cotton doesn’t cut it in winter and fleece is just… kinda yuck.
Which brings me to the moral of the story. Fashion is not just about style, it is also about practicality and comfort. And Polarn O. Pyret has nailed it. They’ve realized that parents want their kids to look cute and stylish, but they also want them to be warm and dry. In Canada we have brands like Mountain Equipment Coop or in the US, North Face – which make the practical clothing but their stuff is UGLY. Imagine a brand that made good looking things but also addresses the practical needs of the customers? Yes, it exists. And it is Swedish.
(Soon I’ll tell you about Stutterheim – mine hasn’t arrived yet. Can a raincoat look cool? YES! If it is Swedish.)