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By Thami Kwazi

Lifestyle Print Editor

Designer babies and their designer toys – when even toddlers can make you feel like a failure

From designer bags, expensive time pieces on newborns, to eight-year-olds owning islands, wealthier parents appear to have an obsession with buying designer brands for their little ones.

Trap Rapper Offset recently presented his two-year-old daughter Kulture with a  brand-new Hermes Baby Birkin handbag.

While most older ladies would swoon over such a gift, little Kulture looked more confused than pleased.

The bag which isn’t available in South Africa is worth $8,000, in a smaller size. Described as a ‘baby ‘ bag it’s just a petite version of the regular designer bag and can seem slightly cumbersome to a toddler who just wants a toy.

Reality TV star, Kylie Jenner did the same for her two-year-old toddler Stormi Webster. Little Stormi was spotted toting a Baby Birkin even before the age of three. Stormi was further gifted, a chair full of stuffed toy animals from both her parents. The mogul parents made sure the gifts cost more than 25,000 US Dollars.

In both aforementioned cases, the parents popped out thousands for children who didn’t seem to comprehend the hype.

They are by no means the only flashy, millionaire parents out there.

Producer and Dj Khaled purchased a $34,000 diamond Rolex for his son Asahd Tuck Khaled at the time of his birth. The DJ proudly posted the new-born wearing the timepiece on his Instagram page.

Meanwhile, superstar couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé are rumoured to have gifted their firstborn daughter Blue Ivy a $600,000 golden rocking horse designed by Japanese jeweller Ginza Tanaka, though no-one has ever seen the horse. A golden Ginza -Tanaka horse does exist on the jeweler’s online pages. Tanaka is famous for making interesting pieces out of pure gold, including Christmas trees, 24 Karat Godzilla, figurines and various other expensive items.

Image: Istock

It’s understandable that celebrity parent whose net worth is far beyond the average 9-5 worker, have a surplus income to indulge their children and at times, if these stars following is large enough, they receive numerous freebies.

According to Statista, the financial projections quoted the children’s luxury market as being worth the US $ 203.4 billion in 2017. Three years on the market had grown exponentially. This was until the current COVID 19 pandemic hit,  knocking a severe dent into all spectra of the retail business.

Image : Instagram

The children’s designer wear market still exists, though it may additionally be under the pressure of having to adjust to the tricky global economic position retail finds itself under, in lockdown times. According to Mckinsey.com, even before the coronavirus became an international pandemic, luxury markets were already feeling the pinch.

Many brands have presently been nudged out of business.

Vanity industries are fast losing the mass appeal that they used to have, perhaps the euphoria of watching how the other half lives on social media seems to have worn off for the masses of average income earners. People are more concerned with the harsh financial realities of daily survival. Part of this is staying afloat above the poverty line. The shift in economic trends and public opinion can be seen on social media comments sections, where the disdain for this ostentatious behaviour is often remarked upon.

Nonetheless, parents who can afford to gift their children with top of the range couture seem to have taken on a ‘let them eat cake ‘ approach and continue to post their little ones adorned in fashions that at times are more than some adults make annually.

Tiny Remo Kunene, son of  South African business man Kenny Kunene and wife Whitney is the leading baby brand wearer  on local shores. The two- year old Remo can be seen on his personalised Instagram page wearing brands such as Gucci, Versace, and Dolce and Gabbana, while driving around the yard in mini- baby Porsche’s and Mercedes-Benz’s and Ferraris.

Remo goes by the name of Baby billionaire and his large designer wear wardrobe is just a peek into what his parents permit the public to see.

Image : Instagram

Many of the children’s designer brands not sold in South Africa are often purchased in Dubai, some with unverifiable authenticity. There are small private retailers in South Africa that sell second-hand luxury items for the discerning buyer who enjoys the finer things in life, but can’t afford them, known as the pre-loved market.

There may not be a higher income pre-loved children’s store locally but the parents can opt to buy the adult sizes and present it to their little one regardless.

South Africans are watching their pennies and not spending lavishly  on luxury items. A few brands as babycotoure.co.za sell converted items  like weaved baskets, bassinets, baby sleepwear and bespoke hand-knitted toes. C

Compared to overseas prices the ranges are still within the affordable range for our local middle class.

Sipheshile Nkomo, who’s a lover of the finer things in life believes her baby deserves the best, she lives in the norther suburbs of Jozi and her spouse has a high profile position in the private sector “My husband works for a company where he is privileged enough to buy our daughter expensive clothes, I love to shop but I prefer London, as I’m guaranteed that certain items come with a certificate that specifies authenticity.”

This requirement is key for resale purposes, as her daughter outgrows her designer duds.

On the local market one the priciest and sought-after strollers, the Silvercross Surf Aston Martin goes for around R59 999. The stroller is sometimes seen on online photoshoots, but the question remains what becomes of it after the baby has outgrown it?

Kenny Kunene, with wife Whitney and baby Remo

But it’s not all about toys.

R&B singer Tyrese Gibson purchased an island, which he named Love Island for his eight-year-old daughter, Shayla in 2015. The island was little Shayla’s Christmas gift.

Similarly, South African real estate CEO TT Thato Mbah gifted his five-year-old daughter Tumi a one-bedroom apartment. TT sees the purchase as an investment for little Tumi, who may not understand the gift at this age but will most certainly appreciate it in her adult years.

Image : Istock

The question remains, is it ridiculous to buy children such expensive items, or should those who have it be allowed to flaunt?

Well, as rapper Carb B put it : “It’s not up to what the kids like. If it was the kids, they’d be outside in diapers. Because if I was looking like a bad b**ch, expensive b**ch and I have my kid looking like a bum bum, then y’all would be talking s**t. So, I’m not mad that Daddy bought the baby a Birkin. She’s gonna match Mommy.”

So, perhaps this isn’t about keeping baby happy, but rather about adults living vicariously through their kids.

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