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Breaking Point

Child safety is an issue that transcends national borders, party lines and, of course, retail tiers.

The zero-tolerance immigration policy that America should have enforced: never ever allow children to be ripped from the arms of migrant mothers and fathers and placed into separate detention camps! It’s cruel, inhumane and downright un-American. There’s a reason the Trump Administration blinked on its cold-hearted policy that saw the separation of more than 2,300 migrant families at southern borders over the past several months—because the appall was quick and nearly universal. People from red and blue states, all religious denominations, nationalities, income brackets and ages saw the policy for what it was: a line (border) that simply must never be crossed. Ironically, it unified much of the country in what feels like ages. The best of America showed its face when faced with one of the worst acts by America in recent memory.   

It was horrifying enough hearing the story of the mother from Guatemala who told reporters in El Paso, TX, about how her 4-year-old son was taken from her and ended up more than 2,000 miles away in a shelter in New York. But it gets worse: When the mother contacted a social worker to speak with her son, she was told that the child was angry and didn’t want to speak to her because he believed his mother abandoned him.

That’s but one horror story. Over the past month, an average of 45 children were being taken from their parents each day. A report in the Boston Globe noted, in several cases, children were taken by Border Patrol agents who had told the parents they were going to give them a bath but, as the hours passed, they realized their kids were not coming back. Additional reports of agents terrorizing parents with statements like their families “no longer exist” or they would “never see their children again” (one Honduran father to commit suicide in his detention cell after his child was taken from him), causes me to feel like there are much darker forces at work here. In these Deep State days marked by trade wars, travel bans and Big Brother tracking our every movement on social media, the increasingly Orwellian slant to society should send shivers down our spines.

As a magazine that celebrates the innocence and wonder of children, it’s upsetting to see our primary customer suffer as innocent victims. It was just in our March issue that we addressed the fallout of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting massacre. Namely, the spike in bulletproof backpack sales and parents looking to purchase clothing styles that may call less attention to shooters. The fact that these are two “trends” in childrenswear today is chilling, not to mention devastating. Enough, already!

Earnshaw’s is a magazine largely about products and not politics, but our industry must support the needs and concerns of children when possible. Child safety is an issue that transcends national borders, party lines and, of course, retail tiers. Whether you’re a boutique owner that chats with regulars in the local community or a mass market executive with stores nationwide, you are in a position of power and influence to help improve the lives and welfare of children. Call your congressman, take part in demonstrations and support child-related relief organizations. Urge your customers to do the same. It takes way more than a village to move mountains. But our industry is a worldwide organization. We are powerful, and we are passionate about children. Together, we can make a meaningful difference.

In the meantime, business must go on. Our latest issue is filled with wonderful items to stock racks and shelves. The latest dresswear styles featured in our Earth Angels fashion story (p. 20) are rich in elements of ethereal beauty that span glimmering metallics to soft pastels in tea to ballerina-length hems. Our swimwear preview
(p. 14) reveals how the category continues to meld function and safety seamlessly with style. Fluorescent colors, conversational prints and hints of feminine embellishments like ruffles and eyelet lace fuse with sun-safe materials, in addition to silhouettes like sun shirts and sleeved one-pieces to offer optimal protection. Similarly, in this month’s Special Report (Sizing Up, p. 8) we look at the emerging plus-sizes market—specifically how brands and retailers are addressing the unique needs of the category with more offerings that make kids feel comfortable and confidant. (Quick tip: there’s plenty of opportunity for more players on both sides of the aisle to enter what is an underserved yet significant category.)

In that regard, opportunities always abound in this business. It’s one of its many beauties. The wants and needs of children span safety concerns to style preferences for all shapes and nationalities. There are no borders in our industry—as it should be. 


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