I’m all for introducing girls to a variety of toys. Not just dolls and princess outfits. But since we all like to indulge our kids from time to time and get them something they really want, sometimes pink and glam is the way to go.
When I was a kid, I loved to play with my football, but I also loved my fashion designer stencil set. It contained stencils of pants, skirts, shoes and tops and I would spend hours matching tops, bottoms and accessories and coloring them in with colored pencils, going through reams of paper in the process.
Fashion design toys indeed have come a long way since those Charlie’s Angel-esque templates from the 70’s. If you know of a preteen girl who loves clothes and accessories (or for that matter, boys might like these just as much-Michael Kors had to start somewhere!) you can get them a gift that encourages them to use their minds to design them, not just wear them. From video games to actual hand-on designing sets, here are a few cool gift ideas to help fuel the creative juices of your junior fashionista:
Harumika (Harumika.com) comes to us from the Japanese toy company Bandai (think Power Rangers). Harumika’s motto is “Style Your Imagination,” and their design sets certainly provide enough material to give kids a lot of room to flex their creative muscles. You can start with a simple starter set or move right to a runway show set. Regardless of what sets you choose, the sets include everything you need to create miniature clothing: from dress forms and stylus tools, to fabrics, accessories, lace, ribbons, rhinestone sheets and fashion stickers. Designers can visit the Harumika web site for design tips and to display their own creations.
You’ve seen the show, now do it yourself: Project Runway has created its own line of fashion design kits. For about $70, you could give your girl the mother of all design kits: the Project Runway Ultimate Design Challenge Ultimate Kit (available at Amazon.com) includes over 600 pieces including a dress form, hundreds of sketch sheets, fabrics, pins, stickers, markers, sequins, beads – everything one would need to create small-scale versions of the outfits he/she dreams about. They also have smaller kits, including a dress kit and figure drawing set, which helps kids learn to sketch designs.
Style Six (StyleSix.com) allows kids to get creative with their own wardrobe through their silkscreening, airbrushing, felting, foil and embellishing kits. Recommended for ages 8 and up, Style Six enables designers to leave their own unique mark on t-shirts, jeans and dresses without making much of a mess. Their “Gem Decorator” package allows designers to add rhinestones and studs to their clothing to create their own designs. Style Six promotes their products as simple and easy to use.
FashionPlaytes.com is an online fashion community where girls can place designs on clothes and purchase their own designs. The site is free to use. Girls can design as many items as they want; they only pay for what they purchase. The online design software allows the designer to select garment and place embellishments on shirts, hoodies, and other clothing items wherever they like. Fashion Playtes was designed for girls aged 6 to 12 and offers gift certificates which can be purchased online. The company also states that the site runs in a secure environment to protect privacy.
Style Savvy is a video game that lets the player become the owner of a high-end fashion boutique. In Style Savvy, players get to open their own store and take part in all aspects of running a business: managing finances, helping customers, generating an inventory from over 10,000 available fashions, even marketing their products by creating ads and flyers. Kids can even compete with friends or play online and compete in fashion contests. The game comes from Nintendo and is rated “E” for everyone.
So happy holidays and happy designing!