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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 November, 2004, 23:06 GMT
Meet the Tweens

To find out how childhood is changing, Panorama travelled to the West Midlands to spend a month in the life of three very different tweens and their families.


Hello, my name's Adele and I'm nine years old. My hobbies are singing and dancing and drama.

When I grow up I want to be a pop-star like J Lo or Britney because I like the kind of fashions that they wear.

Brands are very important to Adele, and at the age of nine she is already clued up on what is hot and what is not.

Her favourite labels include Diesel, DKNY and Ted Baker - all labels that many fashion conscious adults aspire to.

And she is well aware of the importance of the right clothes - referring to people who don't wear brands as "nickynonames".

She says designer clothes make her feel alive, with her favourite clothes making her feel "expensive because they're very expensive clothes."

But wearing designer labels does also have a more protective purpose - being part of a group can be important for children, especially when it comes to bullying.

Adele knows this well, and when asked if she be friends with a "nickynoname" she said: "I'd still be their friend, but I wouldn't hang around with them as much because you're just going to get bullied with them.

"You will get picked on for hanging out with a "nickynoname" person, so really you've got to be careful of what's your fashion and what's not."


Hi my names Izaak and I'm 12 years old and a skater.

I don't know if that means anything to you but it basically means we like skating and have a very individual fashion sense.

I'm into food, sleeping and music and when I grow up I want to be a rock star.

Izaak has a more individual idea of fashion and says he doesn't want to follow the trendy set.

But he still knows what he likes - and what he likes are skater labels like Billabong.

"I buy skate gear that I think looks good," he told the programme, "I don't go out and buy the latest trend because if I did that then I'd end up being the same as all of the other people wouldn't I.

"Trends are things for sheep," he added.

Izaak's parents Phil and Kate remember needing to be in a social group from their childhood, and feel it is why they indulge Izaak.

Kate said: "I can remember that pressure to belong so acutely, that was the most important thing. I think he probably feels that and I think a lot of children feel that."

His dad Phil added: "There's enough hassle out there, if they're getting hassle for something that can be solved easily by buying the right pair of trainers, then buy the right pair of trainers."


Hi my name's Imogen and I'm 12 years old. I like reading and creative writing. I want to be an author or a graphic designer when I'm older.

I've got loads of friends and we're always out and about doing stuff.

Imogen's parents have brought her up to be shielded from the pressures of modern advertising.

She has been educated at home, and as a result has also been raised away from peer pressure in school.

She does like to look good, but it isn't the most important thing on her list, and she gets her clothes from what many people her age would see as an unconventional source.

"Mostly I get my clothes from charity shops or car boot sales or something," she said.

Because of her upbringing Imogen - who loves playing computer games such as The Sims - also has strong views on advertising and branding.

She said: "I don't think you are what you wear or you are what you buy, as if how much money you have defines what kind of person you are?

"The original word brand came from the long iron pole with the logo on the end that was burned into a cow's side, and that showed the farmer owned them.

"So its as if having the company's name across your top shows that they own you."

17 Nov 04 |  Panorama
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19 Nov 04 |  Panorama


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