The skull used as an icon for children’s clothing

15/7/12 – Recent observations prove that the image if the skull is used for a young demographic 

This week I walked past a store on the corner of Gertrude street, which displayed a range of baby clothes with the image of the skull. This recent discovery, invited me to question why the skull is used for baby clothes? There is evidence to prove that the skull has become a popular image within the visual culture, which continues to inspire contemporary art and design. Would this explain why there are companies or brands that have designed baby clothes with the skull?

Since the beginning of March, there is at least 173 posts, which have identified the commercialisation of the skull across different styles and trends. Never have I come across Baby clothing with the skull and crossbones. The size of the garments would indicate that the clothes were specially designed for a toddler or a baby.

The skull has become such an iconic representation that even children or babies are beginning to wear the skull on t-shirts, hats, backpacks and shoes. The visual research already identifies that the image of the skull has been commercialised and reproduced for mass consumption, which also questions why is the skull a popular image or representation?

The pervasive presence of the skull may suggest that the image of the skull has been turned into a commercial product due to popular demand. Advertisements, billboards and product design have used the skull in order to attract a mass audience. I also recognised a young boy at the train station wearing a t-shirt, which featured a pixellated image of the skull on the front. Perhaps the skull has been withdrawn from its connection to death through reproduction and appropriation.

The consumer may consider the skull as a popular or fashionable item rather than a symbol of death or mortality. Would children have an understanding for the image of the skull at such a young age? The skull has become such a popular trend and the image is actually hard to avoid, especially when you are wondering around the city.

I also searched through the internet for baby clothes with the image of the skull and I discovered hundreds of images with different styles or representations. The results may prove that the skull is mass-produced due to popular demand, which may indicate that the consumer no longer acknowledges the skull as a representation of death. It could be argued that there are companies and organisations that are distributing the skull for the general population due to the current trends or styles within the contemporary culture.

What has actually happened to the image of the skull in a world that is heavily engrossed in commercialisation? Perhaps society no longer recognises the cultural, spiritual or historical representations of the skull, which invites one to question whether the skull has been used for financial gain or instant gratification within the consumer culture.

Cadafalch, Antoni. Skull Face.  London: Koreno Books, 2011.

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