Mexican Sugar Skulls used for Children’s Clothing

30/7/12 – Image of the skull used as product branding for children

Last night, I was explaining my research topic to a family member who had said that the skull has become a recent style, especially in children’s clothing. It’s quite interesting to listen to other responses or opinions from relatives, friends, class mates and other internet users.

The same relative had noticed a range of baby clothing with the Mexican sugar skulls, which is another interesting observation. A couple of weeks ago I have recognised that the Jolly Roger has been used for children’s clothing for both male and female.

The skull is reduced to simple designs, patterns and shapes, which makes the image appropriate for a younger demographic. The Internet also identifies certain brands or companies that have used the Mexican sugar skulls as a popular icon for children’s clothing. Has the commercialisation of the Mexican sugar skulls minimised the cultural and the spiritual connections with the dead?

This quite a difficult question to answer as each person I have spoken to have a different interpretation of the skull. I suppose that the image of the skull is quite subjective and it all depends on the person’s age, culture and lifestyle.

I don’t have any children myself and it is quite difficult for me to determine whether the skull is an appropriate image to use for children’s clothing, although I have asked another family member for their own opinions on this particular topic.

From another perspective, “The skull isn’t appropriate for baby or children’s clothing and the target audience should have the right to decide whether they would like to wear this particular image”. This particular comment has raised some interesting points in regards to the audience that these companies or corporations are trying to attract.

The image or style may attract a younger demographic, although it is the parent who finalizes the decisions and the choices. Would this explain why the image of the skull has been reduced to geometric shapes or designs? Perhaps the skull has become child friendly through shape, form and composition, which projects the skull as an image rather than a representation of death.

There has been an increase in clothes and other fashion accessories that have used the image of the skull for babies, toddlers and young children. There are small shops and shops around the city that have also displayed baby clothes with the skull in the front window, which also exemplifies that the skull is popular  within different age groups.

Would young children have an insight into the connection between death, mortality and the skull? From a personal point of view, certain brands and companies have altered the shape and the design of the skull in order to appeal to young children who will grow up in a society that is heavily consumed with  death related imagery.

One could argue that there is censorship surrounding the skull within the Western culture and the visual research may identify how the visual elements alter one’s own interpretation of death. Perhaps the minimal or simplistic designs minimise the fear and the anxiety surrounding death, which may also exemplify that the image of the skull is still a sensitive topic within the Western Culture.

Commercialism and mass production have heavily modified the skull in order to attract a large demographic, which could also be considered as a form of censorship in some regards. Of course companies and advertisements project the skull through basic designs or representations in order to convince young children to engage with the iconic imagery of the skull.

In regards to the Mexican skulls, the colours and the shapes would definitely appeal to a younger generation, which also exemplifies how the Day of the Dead is used for commercial purposes within the Western culture. Have consumers become heavily absorbed with the different shapes and patterns that are used for the Mexican Skulls? Would these particular elements override the actual meaning or the significance of the Mexican skulls within the Western Civilisation?

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