On our way to school on hot days, my house keys and mobile phone can be found stashed in my 9 year old son’s shorts. We have to remember that he has them before we part ways, lest I return home to a locked door. The reason for this madness? Pockets. Or rather, the lack of them.
What we consider to be treasure enough to stash within our pockets offers a wonderfully private insight into that person’s psyche. The everyday necessary, the personal, the forgotten and presumed lost, the joy-sparking and comforting. I have a dish on top of the washing machine into which I evacuate the contents of shorts and trousers on a daily basis - marvelling at the assorted pile of precious flotsam and jetsam that piles up before the owners miss it.
Did you know that many animals have in-built pockets? My personal favourite is the sea otter - this salt-water fisher-mammal has baggy flaps of loose skin under each forearm in which to carry food and a favourite rock (which they use for cracking open clams, mollusks and other shellfish - as if they weren’t awesome enough already). Other pocket-bodied animals include rodents with face-pouches (think chipmunks and hamsters), marsupials such as kangaroos and koalas whose pouches act as in-built baby carriers, spiny anteaters who can fold skin into a temporary pocket for egg-carrying - and male seahorses, who have a wonderfully named ‘brood pouch’. These guys have evolved their own pockets.
It makes the keys and phone feel a bit *mundane* in comparison. Not so the feathers, pebbles, shells, seed pods, flowers, sea-glass and treasures collected by children allowed to roam and explore outdoors. In that washing machine dish for over a week was the skull of a small bird wrapped in a tissue - admired and carefully hoarded by my 8 year old son who had planned to add it to a collection, before something distracted him.
Pockets then, are a universal, everyday requisite. Let us dispense with the notion of them being unnecessary for half of the human race, of sewn-up falsies or ‘spoiling the lines’ (and please don’t hand me a bag to weigh me down). Regardless of age or gender identity, we all have important ‘stuff’ to carry - whilst also desiring our hands to be free for other, more important and enjoyable endeavours.
Whilst the clothing industry comes around to this truth, we have created Foraging Pockets - ample enough to contain all manner of treasures whilst freeing up hands to investigate and explore. They can be worn over skirts, swimming cosies, leggings or waterproofs - by girls and boys and even their grown-ups. They can even be washed. Just imagine the wonders you’d discover on top of the washing machine…