Little treasures: The wondrous value of children’s wears

Considering the amount of materials used to tailor adult wears, it is naturally supposed to be more expensive than children’s wears. But since the later seem to cost more, ONYEKORMAKA ASABOR hazards fixing the puzzle

Why are children’s wears too expensive, sometimes even costlier than that of teenagers and adults? For instance, children’s clothes and shoes displayed somewhere around Ibadan, Oyo State, on September 19, 2021, had the price tag of N5,000 each, while a little ball gown was displayed at a shop in Ikorodu, Lagos State, for N7,000. A set of children’s underwear for ages two to 12 was displayed for N4,800 (six pants for N2,400 and three singlets for N2,400). Ordinarily, in real market situation, teenagers and adults can get the same quantity for less.

So, why are children’s wears expensive? Some respondents tried to supply reasons for the high cost of children’s wears.


Costly fabrics

Throwing light on the sociological and economic factors responsible for the somewhat ‘market oddity’, Mrs Esther Imasuen, a children’s fashion dealer based in Benin City, Edo State, said, “Several stimuli affect the retail price of clothes. You may have a gorgeous design, but the price tag could be affordable, and vice-versa. One of the things most parents do not remember is that cost of fabric for children’s wear contributes to more than 60 per cent of the retail price.”

When Financial Street sought to know why the situation is the way it is, she added that materials used by manufacturers of female children’s clothes were always ostentatious. “The price per yard is expectedly costly for such fabrics, not to talk of the expertise needed to design flowy dresses,” she added.



She continued that each buckle, binding and bow added to the dress would increase the retail price.

Her words, “Similarly, every type of stitch will incur a cost of its own. Although specialty stitches, finishes and seams may enhance the design, and will also necessitate additional labour and fabric consumption. Weigh in all these options when bringing a design to life, then expensive clothes for children should not be unexpected in boutiques.

“Do not forget that most parents, especially young mothers, always want to choose the best for their children, as some of such clothes are worn to birthday parties of other children. Also, most parents prefer ready-made clothes for their children, as they are of more sustainable, better quality and seem affordable to them.”



According to her, factors like and style of manufacturing highly impact retail price, as a hand-stitched garment with a special stitching technique will cost more than a dress with simple stitches.

In the same vein, she said different styles of garments such as lined garments, leggings or flat lock seaming will be done in a factory with expensive machinery, mostly for the girls.

She said, “Not only does the location of the manufacturers makes prices of children’s wears to be expensive, that of the shop also does.”

Ezekiel Megbontowon said children’s clothing, particularly that of the girls, needs to be stitched, hemmed, and cut differently from that of the adults, and requires labor and special machinery.

He explained that if these skills or resources were scarce or located far from the buyers, particularly as most of such clothes are imported from other continents, the retail price is likely to increase.

“Therefore, a domestic garment pattern maker, designer and manufacturer is always recommended.”


Economies of scale

Again, for the locally-made children’s wear, Magnus Afolabi, a tailor-based in Pakuro, near Mowe in Ogun State, said, “Prices of children’s clothes will continue to be costlier than that of adults, as local manufacturers do not consider economies of scale before embarking on the production of clothes for the segment of the market.”

Buttressing his view, he said the higher the quantity of the fabric the lower the production cost. He said that buying goods in bulk is cheaper than buying in small quantities, adding that as long as producers of children’s clothes do not resort to planning and producing their designs in such a way that is cost-effective throughout the production process, the prices they offer across markets will continue to be high, and to some extent unaffordable.


Neglect of children’s fashion market

According to Mrs Martha Uweru, most producers are not looking at the children’s segment of the fashion market, and therefore do not commit enough financial resources and efforts to the production of children’s fashion products as much as they do in the adult segment of the market.

“Soft, comfortable fabric, which are used in kiddies’ clothing, are purer and so expensive.

Not only that, they involve colourful prints and embroidery. Both print and embroidery should be strong, as no producer of children’s clothes want kids to swallow anything; since it is very likely that kids might bite through buttons, seams and trims.”

She added that extra reinforcement on these places like extra button wrapping and seam reinforcements were always considered.

Again, children’s designs have variety of sizes that cut across (S, M, L and XL), she explained, adding that unlike adult sizes, making of kids’ clothing vary a lot, as it is based on the age, saying that the variation means lot of extra work in pattern making, more samples, more approvals etc. and increased cutting and sewing.

She asserted that quality is involved, as kids’ garments would be reworked more than adults to achieve the quality expected. “This adds to the cost of the garment.”


Uniformity in production cost

Looking at it from importation perspective, Gertrude Nwokonye said, “First, the cost of the materials used to make the garment, generally, makes up about 30 per cent or less of the price. So, while a child’s T-shirt, pant, shirts etc. requires slightly less fabric or material, it is constructed in exactly the same way as an adult garment. So no much saving, except for a minimal amount on materials. For example, if a fabric is N950 a yard and an adult’s pair of jeans takes two to three yards to make while a child’s pair requires one to two yards, that is just N950 savings. T-shirts will use less material altogether, but you get the idea.

“Second, when it comes to buying blank T-Shirts, youths’ sizes are purchased much less frequently than adults’ blank apparel. Many manufacturers account for this and adjust their prices accordingly. After all, all of the costs that go into making, shipping and selling both children’s and adult garments are the same (except for the minimal savings from materials for youth). No wonder manufacturers account for selling fewer youth sizes and build that into their cost.

“Ultimately, there will be times that you find exceptions to this. But as a general rule of thumb, these are a couple of reasons children’s blank apparel is generally a little more expensive than adults sizes. Fortunately, the discrepancy in price is not huge, so you shouldn’t expect it to break the bank.”

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