She starred in a series of Gap ads in the early aughts, but now Sarah Jessica Parker is swapping modeling for designing with the launch of her first limited kidswear collection for the brand. Inspired by Parker’s childhood heirlooms and from her tradition of saying ‘rabbit, rabbit,’ on the first day of every month of good luck the collection is said to celebrate, love, luck and magic. Featuring gingham dresses, embroidered bomber jackets and graphic tees, the collection is available in both toddler and kid’s sizing. As part of the collection, she has also created two womenswear dresses. Here the former Sex & The City star talks shoes, parenting styles and why she wants to connect not antagonise on Instagram…
Tell us about the inspiration behind the collection
I’m one of eight kids. I’m the fourth of eight, the second daughter. So growing up I wore a lot of hand-me-downs. My mum has kept a lot of the clothing that I wore as a young child so we used a lot of them as references. I like the idea of passing clothing down and that conversation around sustainability. It’s really nice but beyond that it’s essential for a lot of American families. Kid’s clothing should be well made, the fabric should be of good quality and it should be able to handle a fairly active child. So we considered all of that.
Do you have a favourite dress from your childhood?
Most of the dresses I loved were short. In winter you wore them with those very thick jersey tights. They weren’t fancy. They would cost like 99 cent in our local store. They were by a company that just happened to make dresses for the whole country but because they had tiny flaws, like a tiny stitching error, they would be in the bargain bin. But they were my favoruties, they were hand-smocked and very pretty.
Do your children have opinions on what you wear?
My daughters have opinions on what I wear, but they don’t have input. I’m a grown woman, I’m delighted to hear their thoughts and feelings and often I’ll ask them but I don’t make massive changes because of my eight year old daughter who’s taste changes from minute to minute, let alone day to day… typically I won’t give that exclusive counsel. They definitely have opinions and some things they like and some they don’t and I can understand that. For example one day there’s a shoe I love and they go “No I don’t like it” and then a couple of months later they’ll say “I didn’t like it but now it’s my favourite.”
What’s your parenting style like?
I’m different with all of them. They’re all different children and they all require different parenting in a way. I’m not really strict but I would say I’m more firm than my husband tends to be. I have expectations of them. I want to raise good, decent, kind, thoughtful, curious children and I think I’m in a large part responsible for that, meaning we are as parents. And I also want them to listen and do what I ask, so you know sometimes that’s really easy and sometimes it’s not easy, and it changes day to day. Last night I said to the girls: “I’m so proud of you. You were so great tonight, you brushed your teeth, there wasn’t arguments, you got your homework done, you got in the shower, and now we have time and it’s so much more pleasant than arguing.” But that could all change again tonight.
What’s it like raising a teenage son in New York City?
It’s a great city but an expensive city so I feel grateful that we can raise our children here. For a 15 year old child it’s a great place to learn about being an independent person. They tend to travel a greater distance to highschool, as they aren’t typically in neighbourhoods so he’s travelling on the subway which is how he primarily gets around when he’s not on the school bus or walking. And he’s learning to make smart good choices. And trying to handle money and work out how much he needs. And what’s safe and what’s not safe. So I think it’s fantastic. We have so much theatre, museums and culture and so much to see on the streets and so much diversity which is so great for everyone to witness and experience.
You started your acting career at a very young age. Would you let your kids do the same?
I don’t think I’d let me children forgo a real, true educational experience. I’m fine with anything once they finish schooling, and even a gap year I’m comfortable with that, I think that’s really beneficial and maybe a lot better for kids to do rather than head straight off to university but I certainly want them to finish high school. They’re all in wonderful schools and there is so much that comes from a good old fashioned education that cant be experienced as young professional person so that would be my preference and I think they would be inclined to listen.
What are your rules when it comes to social media?
I never post pictures of my daughter ever, I’ve only ever posted the back of them. I have posted maybe at most three pictures of my son and that’s because he is on social media. But I don’t cross pollinate. I’m on Instagram as I have it for my business. I discuss it with my son when I feel we need to. Instagram is rife with complications and I have a very conflicted relationship with it myself. I love it because it’s just imagery and I love talking about say – books on it. There are lots of things that aren’t controversial, I’m mean I’m not shying away from controversy, but there are lots of ways connecting rather than antagonising on Instagram. I like connecting with people. That’s my favourite part of it, getting to know other people from far away and sharing ideas and inspiration and things like that.
What items from your own wardrobe would you like to hand down to your kids?
My daughters will have all my shoes. I don’t have a vast, crazy collection. I mean it’s probably not as big as people think. However, my concern is that my shoe size is going to be wrong for them. I’m concerned they will be taller than me so my shoe size will fit them when they’re like fourteen and that will feel inappropriate. But all my stuff it theirs, they can fight over it, save it, give it to friends, whatever it’s theirs. I also want them to have my books and my wedding ring. Those are the things I’m sentimental about. Like the jewellery my husband has given me, I really want James, my son to have that or someone important in his life to have. That’s the stuff I think of deeply personal.
The Gap | Sarah Jessica collection is available now. Prices start from £10.95 up to £59.95, through gap.com and GapKids stores in select countries.