LONDON - Most parents would agree: children grow up far too quickly. But they grow out of their clothes even quicker. A London-based designer wants to change that with a range of outerwear for kids that grows as the child does.
Called Petit Pli - French for 'little pleat' - the garments have an innovative pleat system that lets them expand in multiple directions but also contract back to their original size.
"It's designed for continuous fit adjustment, so it'll never be a little bit too short or a little bit too long," designer Ryan Mario Yasin, a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London, told Reuters.
"It's always changing its shape and morphing with the child even in motion. So as the child is running around the pleats are deforming in both directions either folding together or expanding, and moving in synchrony with the child."
According to Yasin, children grow seven clothes sizes during their first two years, meaning parents are left with a lot of clothes that have barely been worn before they're too small for the child.
Petit Pli was designed to save parents money and to reduce the waste in the fashion industry, he said.
With a background as an aeronautical engineer specialising in deployable structures, Yasin said his outfits embed a special structure in fabric that was inspired by the ancient Japanese art of origami.
"This is really engineering meets fashion. I've taken my knowledge of materials and folding origami and applied that to a product which is aimed at reducing the waste in the fashion industry," he said.
Petit Pli has been designed for children aged from four months to 36 months, and the expanding fabric eliminates discrepancies in children's sizes so they're always the perfect fit. Yasin said he approached the durability of his garments by regarding children as 'extreme athletes'; always on the move and in need of clothes that can keep up.
"It's super lightweight so you can layer it on top of your clothes at any time of the year. It's wind-proof and water-proof with a hydrophobic coating," said Yasin.
The patent-pending pleating process has been rigorously tested to prove that the pleats won't fall out with use, and the garments are even machine washable. Yasin is now working on different sizes and designs, and looking for commercial partners to scale-up production to bring Petit Pli to market.
While the futuristic-looking designs might raise a few eyebrows, Yasin hopes that eventually... they'll grow on you.