@coco_pinkprincess, tiny trendsetter

Bucket hat, Y2k glasses, neon green, puffer jacket... this trendy tot is really coming for our necks with all these trends. 
Shirt - Balenciaga; belt - Off-White; jacket - Pyrenex; hat, glasses & shirt - vintage.

Not to say that my mum isn’t a fashion icon – because I maintain that she is, even at 50 – but I reluctantly admit that my childhood photo album pales in comparison to Coco’s Instagram feed. What’s more, sure, whilst my mum still had authority over my daily outfits I looked like a quirky, gap toothed child from the Mini Boden catalogue. Once pre-teen me gained autonomy over her style, though… neon fishnet gloves from Claire’s and the IMAX 3D glasses with the lenses popped out, anyone? Of course, I don’t believe that Coco picks out 100% of her outfits and her parents don’t claim that she does. They have made clear in various interviews (of which one was with Vogue), however, that the 8-year-old’s role in her online presence is not insignificant. Therefore, I believe it is not a stretch to deem her a fashion icon – a term which is grossly over-used but I’m still going to use it – and, with that, let me explain why and explore the perhaps slightly more unsettling implications of her Instagram fame. 

Coco in Moncler for the October 2018 issue of Elle Japan. This picture just called me broke.

The origin story of this pint-sized, posing princess perfectly prophesies her current popularity amongst fashion-lovers – from infancy her parents’ vintage store “Funktique”, based in Tokyo’s Harajuku district, has been a familiar environment. Or, in her mother Misato’s words, “Everyone is dressed very fashionably in Harajuku, from top to toe. She has been seeing this since she was a baby so it was very natural that she’d be interested in fashion.” According to Misato, Coco’s interest in fashion began at around 3, but even before then she had a penchant for vintage dresses. It reads like the kind of storybook that Anna Wintour would have read to her children. 

Coco in 2017. I'd wear most of her outfits but let me just reiterate: I would wear this.

So, we know what birthed Coco’s affinity for style – what about the story of the account? That is just as adorable. It started with Misato posting photos of her daughter to her own Instagram feed c.2015. She may not have known it at the time, but the internet loves all things small and cute (for reference turn to all the tiny cooking videos that are out there), so the requests to create Coco’s own account began to flood in. Fast-forward to February 2019 and the trendy tot is almost at 700k followers, of which I am one. 

The leopard print, colour coordination, goggles, monogram socks, culottes, barbed wire belt... this girl is too powerful.
Hat - Fendi; trousers - Balenciaga; socks - Gucci; shoes - Acne Studios; shirt & bag - vintage. 

With just a quick scroll through her feed you’ll come across both fashion giants and brands that a hypebeast’s wet dreams are made of: Off-White; Fendi; Balenciaga; Gucci; Moncler; Commes des Garcons; Gosha Rubchinskiy; LV and Helmut Lang. Her style is the most elegant combination of kawaii (There it is, you knew that word would come up at least once!) and streetwear, with an often adventurous colour palette that is pulled off in a way which stylishly avoids tacky.

The guys who use mummy and daddy's credit card so they can flex on all the broke bois are shaking.
Shirt - Burberry; shoes - Dr Martens; bag - Louis Vuitton x Supreme; skirt & glasses - vintage.

Evidently, then, I am a fan of Miss Pink Princess. Even so, I am not immune to the ethical questions that arise when one looks at a child making a career on social media. The topic, at least for me, is tinged with some “ickiness”. Apart from the much darker implications of posting young children online, a topic which I will not touch with a 10-foot pole, there are two, non-mutually exclusive problems which I picture when I think child social media star. 

The Chanel brooch, she's opulent.
Hat - Chanel; glasses - Moschino; jacket - Leni and June; belt - Gosha Rubchinskiy; sandals - Dr Martens.

Firstly, my gaze is drawn to the parents. In cases where their child’s popularity is the parents’ primary income, there is always the worry that these individuals may sacrifice their child’s right to a “real” childhood for the dollar signs in their eyes. This issue is a relevant one with the controversy surrounding the rise of family vlogging. Take the ACE Family for example, whose Youtube subscriber count is a flashy 15 million. Their 2018 “Vlogmas” led them to post a video nearly every day in the month of December – a little unsettling when you think about the fact that the children were essentially working for a significant portion of the month. However, Coco’s case is not so extreme and it certainly appears to be a genuine passion project which her parents allow and encourage her to realise.  The young girl has been described as vocal in her involvement with the account. It is Coco who cherry-picks the final photo that is uploaded to her page and she will choose the themes and pieces of her outfits with the help of her dad. Her mum says, “Some people think [she’s] too young, but we don’t force her or anything. It is a way of educating her to face the world.” 

Coco in 2017 ending all the grunge insta girls.

So, this quiets my worries about Coco’s parents using their child for sweet, sweet $$$. But then that leads me to the perhaps more ominous thought of the girl being too invested in her online presence. A video with Vice shows her mother explaining Coco’s eagerness to start an Instagram account as she wanted to have a K in her follower count. Without sounding too “we live in a society where everyone is glued to their phones”, I must admit that is a strange observation for someone who can barely read. I feel some concern that this fixation on numerical worth may become intertwined with Coco’s self-esteem and her idea of a successful life, having been exposed to that world in her formative years. 

Coco in 2016, presumably in her parents' vintage store, Funktique. The floral dress is a staple in the wardrobe of most adorable little girls, but the Nike cap and Converse remind us she's a mini style icon.

With the phenomenon of child stars of the internet being rather new it is difficult to gauge the long-term effects of this breed of fame. Certainly we have witnessed the troubles of child actors and singers from the 90s and 00s: Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Amanda Bynes… Although, I want to stress that this is merely an exploration of the dark “what ifs” rather than an intervention for Coco Pink Princess. Child stars before her have avoided having their mugshots slapped onto tabloid pages with the help of a genuine, non-exploitative support system. 

Here she is wearing one of her favourites - a purple fur jacket. And it's vintage, I love.
Hood - Pyrenex; glasses - Gentle Monster; belt - Off-White; shoes - vans.

According to mum, Misato, her focus is on growing “a great platform” for her daughter and making sure she has “great experiences that would lead her to a great future”. Regardless of the path Coco will lay for herself as she grows up, the platform that has been established for her will no doubt expand her opportunities exponentially. Whether the elegant eight-year-old will become a fully-fledged style icon or choose to pursue something else, I’m sure her online presence will not be inconsequential in making her endeavours a success. 

Lastly, here's Coco looking like she stepped straight out of the pages of a street style feature for Tokyo Fashion Week. Except maybe she was shrunk in the process.
Top - Marc Jacobs; bag - Commes des Garcons; trousers - Dickies; sandals - Fendi.

Written by Anastasia Vartanian


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