Were you fashion-focused as a child? I certainly was.
My Mum was very fixated on the way I dressed – and in the 1970s, her discovery of Garanimals was my ticket to being a stylish little girl.
Launched in 1972 by Garan Incorporated, Garanimals was a collection of kids clothing that was divided into groups of animals – hippo, lion, monkey, giraffe, tiger etc… Items from each group ie. t-shirt, pants, skirt, sweater, blouse – would match, making it easy for parents and kids to insure a stylish and complimentary outfit.
Each clothing item was displayed with a hang-tag with the animal logo and the size tag would also have the image of the animal to enable kids to pick their own clothes. I became incredibly enamored of this system – as did many other parents and kids. For children, the ability to pick favourite animal and wear it with pride, also meant that for a parent, you wore something that matched.
So despite the bright colours and odd patterns of that decade, children had a way to choose their own clothes without giving their parents a headache with a bizarre mix of styles. As Dr. Joyce Brothers, a noted psychologist of the time period was quoted “Garanimals….help the pre-schooler to handle his/her own wardrobe. The sense of I can fosters the child’s growing sense of independence.”
I had several Garanimals outfits – mainly giraffe and monkey, if I remember correctly, and proudly wore them to school and on weekends. But like many things, they eventually wore out and I grew bigger, and then became obsessed with new labels – such as Le Chateau, Bootlegger and Sam the Record Man.
Garanimals was recently relaunched by Garan and now also offers baby clothes. But the original intent – to help kids choose their clothes with confidence – certainly made a splash in the ’70s to keep kids fashion forward – before they even knew they were.