This little piggy went…abruptly out of style
Wednesday, April 29th, 2009
With over 100 U.S. schools closed now to limit the spread of swine flu, fear is rising. Parents are concerned about children. Children are concerned about their friends. Yet surprisingly few Americans appear to be concerned about the fate of the pig as a super-cute children’s clothing motif. This is wrong.
Swine have faced an uphill battle to attain adorability status on tiny cotton items. They’re not furry like bunnies or kittens. They’re not admirably industrious like squirrels (though that hasn’t worked for ants, who remain a non-starter in the children’s clothing motif stakes.) The word “pig” itself is abrupt and unattractive. Yet against these odds, the omnivorous ungulate (aided by Charlotte’s Web, Miss Piggy, and the beast’s reputation as a reliable banker) has slowly gained a cloven-hoof-hold as a funny, charming thing to screen-print on bibs, knapsacks, and what-not.
In one fell swoop, swine flu has destroyed the piggy brand. What couple, except perhaps Mr. and Mrs. Beezlebub, is going to want to adorn their child with a symbol of infectious disease? It’s worse than dressing your kid like a peanut! It’s surely no coincidence that Collette Kids has been forced to slash the price of their now-repellent Organic Charlotte Pig Onesie by one-third (from $22 to $14). So take a moment to think about all those boldly stylized pig faces that will be staring up sadly from the remainder bins, abandoned by manufacturers who’ve turned their attention to the untapped cuteness potential of rats and squids. These clothing pigs are victims of the epidemic, too.