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Fiona Shackleton
18 July 2021
Sustainability vs Fashion: UK parents decide if kids 'Back to the Future' growing pants will take off?

When Marty McFlie’s jacket shrunk to fit him we all gasped at such a cool concept. Now it seems that award winning clothing brand, Petit Pil, has taken inspiration from the Back To The Future Franchise to create 'Growing Pants'. Their design is not only made from recycled materials, but grows with your child to prevent our throwaway habits getting the better of us. Ethically designed children’s fashion at its best… you’d think.
But will they take off?
We asked parents in Britain what they thought using the Fastuna Product Idea solution. Although the concept of sustainable, ethical investment is welcomed, the execution left some parents feeling a tad underwhelmed and our insights suggest that parents aren't quite ready to lower the style stakes just yet.
I like the concept and the sustainability; not sure about the look of them. — Female, 47
I love the idea as I love to recycle and the fact that they can last for years. But I feel they don’t "look" great, but I don’t know how you could get around this without using the accordion effect that seems to be used! — Female, 33
Not the type of clothes I’ll buy my kids but not terrible, may consider. — Female, 37
Sustainability over style, or style over sustainability?
Three areas of value came up in the open ended questions asked to our participants — recycled material, longevity and sustainability. The Growing Pants also scored well in uniqueness with 79%.
It is very unique and I like it from a sustainable standpoint. — Female, 34
The fact they grow with the children is so good clothes seem not to last long with kids. — Female, 46
Money saving, and reduces waste of throwing clothes away. Male, 49
I like the idea of not having to buy a new one as my daughter grows. I also love that it’s sustainably made. Female, 35
More about the product
Petit Pli are award-winning kids clothes that are lightweight and splashproof. The purpose is to allow parents to invest in an item that will grow with the child. The material is made with recycled plastic bottles, so they’re lighter on the environment too.
How did we test this idea?
What did we test? Petit Pli sustainable childrenswear that grows

Who did we target? National representative sample of British parents between 25 to 55 y.o.

How was it tested? We used the ProductIdea solution on the Fastuna platform. Online panel respondents were sent a survey link to their email. After reading about the product, they answered our survey questions. We also added bespoke questions about their consideration set when selecting clothes for their kids, the importance of sustainability when it comes to clothes, and their understanding of what sustainable clothes means.
Results
General perception scored 65 out of 100, which, based on standardised Fastuna norms, positions the product idea within the 'worth improving' range. Out of the 100 surveyed, 66 liked the product, 79 thought it was unique and 71 would tell others about the idea. Yet, only 58 would consider them for their child.
See the full report here.
Parents aren’t ready to try
Whilst people like the idea of clothes that grow there are some reservations about how well the material will stand the test of time.
Great idea for them to be worn for years. But fitting for years and lasting for years is different. Female, 48
I really like the idea. The concept would appeal to parents who want to keep clothes costs down. How durable is the material though? Would it stand up to the rigid of children’s activities? My children are very active and wear their clothes quickly. — Male, 50
Sustainability over style, or style over sustainability?
The futuristic design isn’t for everyone, as the 'will you try it' score of 58 highlighted. But that is not necessarily a deal breaker. The cost saving and the sustainability elements for some parents did override the look…
Not the type of clothes I’ll buy my kids but not terrible, may consider. Female, 37
I like the concept and the sustainability; not sure about the look of them. Female, 47
I love the idea as I love to recycle and the fact that they can last for years. But I feel they don’t "look" great, but I don’t know how you could get around this without using the accordion effect that seems to be used! Female, 33
Parents want sustainable fashion but to their benefit:
A strong 89% of parents care about sustainable clothing for their children
We have to make changes in all areas of life, even clothing in order to help the environment. Female, 38
Yet what is understood by sustainable clothing?
People think of a range of ways sustainability can manifest itself when it comes to clothes: long lasting (durable), recyclable, production less harmful for the environment, less wastage, not travelled far (0 mile).
Made from recycled materials, no virgin plastics, carbon neutral. — Male, 38
Sustainable clothes are clothes that are environmentally friendly. — Male, 28
That they have been made ethically and will last. If my son outgrows them I can pass them on as there is still wear in them. — Female, 47
That they are made out of recycled products. — Male, 54
It means that the clothes are made using processes that are less wasteful and better for the environment. — Male, 50
Some parents aren’t exactly sure about what sustainable clothing means when asked about it directly. This indicates room for education and knowledge sharing about the matter at hand.
I don’t actually know. — Male, 34
What parents consider when choosing kids' clothes?
When it comes to selecting clothes for their kids, parents think of the price first. Whilst the PetitPli’s positioning is around quality, longevity and sustainability, highlighting a cost saving benefit in the long run may also be beneficial. It may help reduce the barrier some parents may have associated with the initial outlay. However, we would recommend this to be a separate study about price sensitivity.

Unsurprisingly comfort and quality come second followed by material and fit.
Quality of material and price are important factors. — Male, 28
Easy care and comfort. Price as well. Female, 52
Type of material used; where it was made; how long it will last; cost. Female, 35
Are we ready to go 'back to the future'?
All in all Petit Pil is a unique idea for a cause appreciated by most parents. Motivations for liking the product differed from the additional cost benefits, to longevity and the materials used for the trousers. However, not everyone is ready to convert from caring about the environment to making active changes, especially when it comes to style. Those who prioritise sustainability will likely invest faster than those who aren’t quite there yet. In the meantime, we will re-watch Back to the Future and take time to consider that to have a future, childrens' clothing may need to adapt in the style stakes.
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