How many times have you experienced giving away your baby's clothes even if he's only worn them twice or thrice because they don't fit anymore? You know the ones like the nice baby dress you only got out a few times “para ‘di maluma,” but it only ended up getting too small for your little one to wear.
Designer Ryan Mario Rasin found himself in a similar situation. He bought clothes for his nephew only to find that they no longer fit by the time they got delivered. And, so, he thought up a way to solve this familiar problem and inspired him to come up the kids' clothing line, Petit Pli.
Still in its conceptual stage, Petit Pli clothes can “grow” up to seven sizes (yes, you read that right). One pair of Petit Pli pants will be able to fit a 4-month-old child up until he's 3 years old, according to Ryan. It's all thanks to the textile you see below. It is designed with folds that can "pack and unpack" to make clothes bigger or smaller. Think of it like a pamaypay (fan). You can see it in action in the video below.
“If this concept was actually going to enter the market, I felt that I couldn't focus on technology that was too far away from being market-ready -- shape memory polymers, for instance. Pleats was a simple solution,” he told Dezeen, an architecture and design magazine and website.
Ryan, who has a background in aeronautical engineering, took inspiration from the panels of satellites that could be packed away into small spaces. To translate the satellite design into clothing, Ryan had to experiment with different textiles that would be able to hold folds that wouldn’t smoothen out over time, but, at the same time, it allows for flexibility and movement.
The result? A waterproof and lightweight synthetic fabric. “The structure deforms with the movement of the child, expanding and contracting in synchrony with their motion,” he said.
Currently, Petit Pli clothes aren’t for sale yet. But when Ryan has raised enough capital to launch his product, it will be sold first in the UK.
Even if it isn’t on the market yet, parents have already started pointing out the flaws in design. “Great idea, but synthetic? Really? What if you have a child that gets hot easily? What if you live in an environment that has hot summers?” said one commenter on the Dezeen Facebook page. A few agreed, saying that kids would get sweaty and irritated if they played in waterproof clothes.
One also pointed out that, with kids being kids, they won’t be able to resist playing with their stretchable clothes. “I bet kids will pull on the sleeves and legs,” she said. “Or does it spring back by itself maybe?”
These folks make a good point. But perhaps the takeaway here is not the garment itself but its attempts to find a solution to a problem. Buying clothes for babies can be costly for many parents as children grow out of them faster than we can rush to the store to buy new ones. To have clothing that can literally grow with our kids, we need more ideas like this, don’t you think?