The Finnish arm of humanitarian group Plan International has commissioned a line of maternity wear for 12-year-olds in order to raise awareness of the issues faced by child mothers.
Scandinavian creative agency Hasan & Partners devised the campaign to promote the range of maternity wear designed specifically for girls under 18, a fashion line that ‘the world should not need’.
Six maternity dresses have been made by Finnish designer Paola Suhonen. The collection, which is entitled ‘Hamptons’, features fringing, bright colours and soft blues, as well as prints of kittens.
The childlike aesthetic was designed to starkly contrast the harsh lives lived by the 7 million children who give birth in the developing world each year. Plan hopes to educate those in the west about the problems associated with giving birth at such a young age – for instance, girls will often give up their education to raise their children and, in the worst cases, commit suicide to avoid bringing shame to their households.
Suhonen’s collection was unveiled today (14 August) in Esplanadi, a fashionable street in Helsinki, while the campaign will reach an international audience through two online films, social media and a PR programme.
In the films and campaign photos shot by Meeri Koutaniemi, the clothes are modelled by a Zambian girl named Fridah. She is 12 and her baby is due in September.
Anu Niemonen, senior creative at Hasan & Partners, said: "Designing a maternity wear collection for young children is unnatural and disturbing, which is exactly the point we want to make. This is a collection that shouldn’t exist or even be needed in the first place."
Koutaniemi added: "Our aim was to use the frame and visuality of a classical fashion spread to create these images, emphasising a very dark and distressing issue. I hope the campaign will make people think about the vulnerability of children in developing countries."