Trend it like Beckham: eight-year-old Romeo is hailed as a fashion icon

To most eight-year-old boys, the idea of a sartorial dilemma is whether or not to change tops after a Heinz spaghetti spillage. Spare a thought, therefore, for Romeo Beckham, who must now get up every morning knowing that he has to live up to his billing as one of Britain's best-dressed "men".

The blond-haired middle son of David and Victoria, who is 4ft 2in tall, will this week be unveiled by GQ magazine as the country's 26th most fashion-forward male, ahead of Prince William and Jude Law.

The promotion of a primary school pupil, albeit one who is the offspring of two of the planet's most closely-watched trendsetters, is the latest manifestation of the transformation of celebrity offspring into sartorial innovators – and even mini-brands – in their own right. GQ described Romeo as "frighteningly tuned-in".

And experts seemed united in their belief that the Los Angeles-based schoolboy epitomises tot chic in a way that owes nothing to his famously tattooed father (who for the moment is spared the humiliation of being out-dressed by his son by coming 16th in the GQ list). David Walker-Smith, director of menswear at Selfridges, told the magazine: "[Romeo] is experimental, quirky and fun, and his style has nothing mini-me about it. It's me-me."

The other Beckham boys – Brooklyn, 11, and Cruz, four – are no strangers to red carpets or magazine stands but Romeo has always been keenest to shrug off the California schoolboy uniform of shorts, T-shirt and trainers in favour of tailored suits, bow ties, and camel coats to match Dad's, as well as a range of hats and accessories. In 2009, Victoria Beckham revealed just how fixated on fashion he had become. "We had dinner last night and Romeo wore a suit with a little shirt and tie. That's what he would wear every single day, he's so into fashion," she told Harper's Bazaar.

"The other boys are all about going to the beach; he's not interested. He's like, 'I want to go to work with mummy,' and he sits there going through the collection, feeling the fabrics, giving his opinion. He loves it."

Last September, it was reported Romeo planned to launch his own range of sunglasses, to be called RB, as part of his mother's increasingly successful fashion label, VB. A source told the Daily Mirror: "He has strong opinions on what works and what doesn't, and has been badgering David and Victoria for months about designing his own sunglasses."

Other pint-sized trendsetters include Suri Cruise, the three-year-old daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, who is reputed to have a wardrobe worth £2m and is the source of what retailers call the "Suri effect". Debenhams estimated that parents now spend up to £357 per season on boys and £427 on girls to ensure they "keep up with the Cruises".

But there is another way. Prince Harry comfortably beat his older brother by taking fifth place in the list (William ranked a place below Romeo at 27) because, say GQ's experts, he "looks good because he really doesn't care".

Actor Aaron Johnson, 20, who last year fathered a baby with his fiancee, the director, Sam Taylor-Wood, topped the list of 50 men.

Questions over Beckham's Spurs moveSport, back page

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