If you're a parent, then you know it can be difficult and costly to buy clothes for kids: within months, a brand new set of clothing will be outgrown and no longer fit as it should. Families might request hand-me-downs from relatives, or shop secondhand clothing, but that can take a lot of time and effort and still might not suit everyone's tastes.
Or we could design kids' clothes in a different way, as Royal College of Art graduate Ryan Mario Yasin is suggesting with his new kids' clothing line. Petit Pli (literally "little fold") features a pleated system that can expand to fit as the child grows. Watch how much these clothes can expand to fit kids anywhere from 4-6 months to 36 months of age:
According to Dezeen, Yasin used his training in aeronautical engineering to come up with the pleating concept, using high-tech textiles that are ultra-lightweight, waterproof and breathable. Of course, there's a real-life story behind the design: Yasin was frustrated by the limitations of conventional clothing for children, made obvious whenever he bought clothes for his nephew -- which no longer fit by the time he came to visit.
Petit Pli's pleats allow the clothing to stretch as children go through their growth spurts. No matter the size, the pleated fabric will fit the child perfectly. The solution comes out of Yasin's familiarity with researching and designing deployable structures in the aeronautical industry, such as small satellites, which might require their carbon fibre panels to scrunch up into small spaces, and to unfold into a specific shape when deployed. Yasin explains how he adapted this concept into clothing:
The structure deforms with the movement of the child, expanding and contracting in synchrony with their motion. If this concept was actually going to enter the market, I felt that I couldn't focus on technology that was too far away from being market ready – shape memory polymers for instance. Pleats was a simple solution.
Yasin's aim is to save time and money for parents, but to also reduce the amount of kids' clothing that's thrown away each year. Petit Pli's design is more efficient and gives kids the flexibility to move and run, and the cutting-edge fabrics are simple to clean and fold.
The idea behind Petit Pli is to design kids' clothing "from the ground up," as dynamic artefacts that must adapt to their users, rather than designing them like adult garments, which are made for people who are no longer growing. It's a great idea and approaches a big problem from another angle. Yasin is now seeking a patent and funding to produce more clothing under the Petit Pli label, and hopes to officially launch the line in the United Kingdom soon. To find out more, visit Ryan Mario Yasin and Petit Pli.