River Island defends 'inappropriate' kids outfit as debate rages

Penny Burfitt
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

UK retailer River Island has been forced to issue a statement on social media after a recent snap of their children’s range sparked outrage on Facebook.

The retailer uploaded a photo of a brother and sister modelling their Hype activewear range, posing in the middle of a suburban street.

Image of brother sister modelling River Island Kids range girl in leggings and crop top called 'inappropriate' for age.
This snap of River Island's kids range sparked a furore online. Photo: River Island

The boy sported a hoodie and tracksuit pants, while the little girl wears a pair of leggings and matching crop top.

‘When someone tries to mess with your sibling,” they captioned the cute snap of the kids posing in a ‘tough guy’ manner.

It was the little girl’s pose and clothes, however, that really got people talking.

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Shoppers say outfit ‘too adult’ for little kids

Shoppers took to the comments to criticise the retailer over the outfit, many arguing it was ‘too adult’ for little children to be wearing.

“Not something I would dress a daughter of mine in at that age..” one parent wrote. “Just my opinion.”

Others were more direct in their reactions.

“In my view, this clothing is NOT age-appropriate at all!” one furious onlooker wrote. “You have mid-drift showing, adult prints and see-through mesh on the leg.”

“She’s a little girl not a little woman,” another wrote. “She has plenty of time to be dressing like that when she grows up. Keep them young and let them enjoy being kids, not wannabe Instagram kids.”

River Island hits back

River Island subsequently hit back with a lengthy comment referring to ‘bullying comments’.

Screenshot of River Island response to criticism of 'too adult' girls top and legging combo
Photo: Facebook/riverisland

“We’re super proud of our kidswear and all the incredible RI Kids who wear it,’ the statement read. “Our creative team always consider age-appropriateness, style and function when designing, as well as trends and the styles our customers love.

“Some pieces might not be for everyone and that’s ok. What’s not ok, in our opinion, is making negative comments about anyone’s outfit choices.

“During anti-bullying week, and always, we ask that you encourage kindness and help us keep this a safe space for people to be inspired and have fun. RI x”

The response didn’t go over too well with everyone, however, some arguing that the criticism was of the brand, not bullying of the little girl.

“You referred to bullying and anti-bullying and people criticising outfit choice,’ one hit back. “This is nothing to do with that. This is calling out the sexualisation of our children. Put the little girl on a bike with friends, cover her mid-drift and show her smile and intellect through her hobbies and life choices.”

Shoppers slam ‘nasty’ comments

Image of River Island matching kids leggings crop top set called 'inappropriate' by some in Facebook debate
Many defended the matching set as 'cute'. Photo: River Island

Many in the comments agreed with the brand, however, defending the kids right to wear whatever they wanted.

“The smallest amount of her belly is showing! How awful are you grown adults judging a small child?!” one flabbergasted woman wrote. “This is exactly why children feel it’s ok to bully others and say nasty things! When their parents can’t keep their horrible opinions to themselves.”

“[What the hell] the child only has her belly button showing get a grip you snowflakes,’ another wrote.

“Wow all these nasty comments,” another wrote. “This is somebody’s innocent kids [you’re] all making comments about!! Didn’t your mothers teach you if you don’t have [anything] kind to say, don’t say anything at all?”

The snap was part of the brands ‘I’m wearing River Island’ hashtag which sees everyday people modelling their clothes, only to be shared on the official channels.

In this case, the snap was uploaded by the UK mum of the sibling duo, who has been contacted by Yahoo Lifestyle comment.

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