A report on the increasing demand for designer childrenswear
The fact that children have a mind of their own is well-known. In fact, kids are decision makers as far as their fashion choices are concerned. Perhaps, it is this very ethos that has resonated with designers and brands and increased the demand for designer childrenswear. reports.
Kids’ apparel includes clothing for children between one and 14 years of age. Global brands like Versace, Armani Junior and Fendi have special lines for kids and Indian designers like Monisha Jaising, Jattinn Kochhar and Shivan & Narresh have also diversified into childrenswear. Kids clothing is an important market segment and the sixth edition of the India Kids Fashion Week 2018 will be held in Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chandigarh in July 2018.
Chiquitita has launched a Spring/Summer line which is inspired by nature around us and includes flowers, twines and leaves. The colours are all soft and pastel, with some sorbets thrown in. The high points are the interesting silhouettes, sleeves with frills some fun scarves in contrast colours with tassels. “In India, designer clothing is still at a very nascent stage, we are beginning to see style and luxury being amalgamated finally. One can see luxe fabrics,
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great styling and the most important aspect in children’s clothing - comfort, all coming together into an amazing finished garment to finally give India the taste of designer wear for kids,” says Payal Bahl, Founder of Chiquitita. Tom Tailor’s children’s clothes for spring and summer 2018 are colourful, cheeky and feature beautiful details. This summer, navy is the trend for boys and girls, with cool details and sporty looks in shiny colours – 100 per cent wearing comfort in extravagant designs. “Also, we present streetwear: cool logo sweatshirts and t-shirts, trainers, rain capes, and waterproof trousers fill the wardrobes this spring. It is important to us how we dress the little ones. We want the clothes to be beautiful, comfortable, and, at best, even easy-care,” says Devender Gupta, Founder, Inceptra Lifestyle Pvt Ltd. (parent company of Tom Tailor in India).
Monte Carlo’s new collection in designer childrenswear is inspired by the latest national and international trends in kids’ fashion. The collection for girls includes tops and skirts featuring classic stripes and 3-D flowers. Dresses and tunics come with pop art images, shiny fruit appliqués, slogans and embroideries with sequins. “At K&U, we are launching our new Celebration’s range for A/W 2018 with a theme inspired by the five elements of nature. Aristotle theorised that these five components are critical for formation of any star in the universe and hence we bring the characteristics of all these elements in our designs to add to the shine of our little stars,” says Kaneeka Aggarwal, Co-Founder & Head of Design, K&U & Head of Design, Sitaarey.
The potential for childrenswear in India is huge as it has the world’s largest young population in the age group 0 to 14 years, accounting for 29
percent or 337 million of the total population. The Indian childrenswear market was estimated at R66,904 crore accounting in 2017, making for 20 per cent of the total apparel market of the country. Childrenswear is expected to grow at CAGR of 8.1 per cent to reach R1,45,445 crores by 2027. With an influx of brands, private labels and Indian fashion designers exploring Indian market for childrenswear, the market is certainly looking up. Another factor that augurs well is the growing disposable income among middle class families and the shift of retail market from unorganised to corporatised retail.
Monica Oswal, Executive Director, Monte Carlo says, “The kids designer wear industry in India is growing at a massive rate with increased access to brands, trends and awareness. The rapid growth of the childrenswear market has also lead to fast changing trends which keep us on our toes all the time. The childrenswear market includes the age bracket of 1 to 14 years. The current worth of the childrenswear market in India is about R13,000 crores out of which the branded and designer childrenswear segment contributes around R3000 crores. Also, the industry is growing at a steady rate of 10 per cent per year, which surely is quite impressive and promising.”
Childrenswear trends follow three straight lines: sporty know-how, creative models and a maritime updated version of old classics. “Abstract graphics are depicted together with innovative prints, which portray a touch of dreamy imagination. Maritime looks receive a rusty transformation – washed out clothes and soft colours are a new trendy tendency. Girls wear sweet dresses, cool jeans, and playful tops. For boys, there are printed shirts and washed out jeans and different styles mix with each other and impress as being true originals,” says Gupta. Dungarees, shorts and shirts, short skirts, tops with puffed volumes, halter tops, cropped trousers, lace trims are a key favourites in kids apparel. This year is all about bold colours, fun patterns, and retro-meets-modern fashion. Most childrenswear fashion is just minimising patterns in size to fit the likes of the new lot.
But the designer childrenswear range is booming as parents are more aware of the available designer options for kids now than ever before. “I constantly work on new designs for kids based on individual experiences with them and also getting to know their personal likes and dislikes apart from comfort, as they
too are exposed to fashion trends now,” says Payal Singhal, Creative Director & Partner, Payal Singhal Design House. Siddharth Bindra, MD, BIBA India adds, “In kids’ ethnic wear, cape gowns, Indo-western dresses, gharara skirts with short kurtis, anarkali suit sets, floral co-ordinates, block prints and kalidars for summers are few trends that are catching up this season.” As more and more international childrenswear brands are setting up shops in India, Indian brands will have to enhance their designs and collections to meet the growing expectations of parents as well as their kids. Sharad Venkta, MD & CEO, WOWMOM opines, “For the past couple of years, it has been seen that designers are paying special attention to kids’ fashion. Designers are focusing on combining practicality and convenience with the latest fashion trends. Kids’ fashion trends are available in various styles, colours and materials.”
Kids are a special segment all together, whether it is styling, use and selection of fabrics, cuts; all are designed keeping in mind the little ones’ comfort. Kids’ apparel should have two characteristics - variety, to appeal to kids and a reasonably priced range, as kids outgrow clothes easily. “Something for a two-year-old will not work for a five-year-old and something for a five-year-old will not work for someone who is nine-years-old. So, understanding kids, their needs, preferences and liking is very important. It totally reflects in our designs and is something which our clients appreciate the most,” says Bahl. The varied price points with high rentals in retail remain a major challenge to this date for the childrenswear industry. In order to capture this market apparel retailers need to focus on value-pricing. “Production complexities and an unorganised supply chain have discouraged big investments in this space. The need gap is being addressed by micro-brands that are driven by independent design entrepreneurs. These micro-brands score above the big brands on consumer understanding and design capabilities but lack the financial strength to operate in the conventional retail space,” says Utsaha Khare, Co-Founder & CEO, K&U & Founder, Sitaarey.
Also, occasion specific clothing is an important aspect in childrenswear and a wellplanned approach is required to understand the demands of childrenswear market. Again, changing dynamics between tier I and tier II and tier III cities is a gap that needs to be bridged. However, the childrenswear market is certainly on an upswing and apparel manufacturers know this is a segment that cannot be ignored.