NO MORE KIDDING WITH THE TRENDY KIDS DENIMS
The denim market in India has been evolving fast with introduction of more styles, colours and some distinct trends in the product offering. The extension of denim brands onto kids’ rack is part of the larger trend of marketing pervading nearly every corner of the consumer marketplace. We talk to leaders from renowned denim brands in kids category about the trends, opportunities and market positioning of this segment.
Afew years ago children just grew up wearing clothes passed on by their elder siblings or from those purchased from local neighborhood markets. But today, increased awareness, growing brand consciousness, rise in disposable income of consumers, increasing number of nuclear families, influence of media and western culture is propelling growth for kids apparel market in India and kids are moving towards denims in a big way. Kids want to wear what their parents wear and parents want their children to wear comfortable, skin friendly yet trendy clothing. Thus kidswear, especially the denim segment is creating a huge demand not only in larger cities but in tier-II and -III markets as well.
Kids’ denim is mostly influenced by the trends running in adult clothing, with a slight twist here and there in styling and colours. Sharing his views on the factors influencing trends in kids denims, Oliver Kaye, Business Head, Gap India, explains, “Matching adult denim stories/styling and pop culture icons fascinate kids the most. For example, having patterns with their favourite super heroes, forms the most predominant influence.” He adds, “For us, at Gap, the focus besides styling has also been on product quality. We’ve developed our denim as the softest, stretchiest and most comfortable one, which the kids can wear everyday. And our denim offering starts from babies to kids up to the age of
12-14 years. Our kids’ denim range is stylish and trendy.” Latest characters in kids movies, sports personalities, super heroes – all influence children and they want to dress up like their favourite heroes. Highlighting this aspect, Sartaj Singh Mehta, Vice President- Design, Pepe, states, “Trends in the kids segment are very different from adults. Kids primarily look for style, colours and comfort. Boys and girls of the same age have very different sensibilities. The mindset of 4-8 year olds is very different from kids in the 10-12 years range. They identify with sportspersons, celebrities and super heroes which are the major factors that influence or drive trends in the kids segment.
Attitude and individualistic style is also an essential component of kids clothing.” Agrees Sharad Venkta, MD & CEO, Superyoung/Wowmom of Toonz, “Kids are generally icon followers. They follow their icon and try to mimic their styles. Icons may be celebrities, their elders or their favourite
characters. Thus, major trend influencers in kids denims are celebrities, adult fashion, media and trends on hype.”
G. Satyanarayana, Head Sales and Business Development, Rookies, shares, “We have recently ventured into the kids’ denim category after seeing a Gap in the kids’ category for international niche fashion denims. Our kids denim is a replica of the men’s trends and the walk path is on the same lines.
After testing the kids range market, we felt that initially the market was not ready to accept this trend. But we have slowly nurtured this and are gradually expanding the category. We hope to be established as a full fledged category by summer 2018.”
Top Selling Styles and Trends
Children now-a-days have become brand and style conscious. They have their own choices when it comes to selection of clothes and colours. Denim being long lasting and hard wearing, is one of their favourite choices.
Shedding light on the current trends, Oliver Kaye (Gap) shares, “Skinny Jeans have been a huge denim trend for kids for a while now. Destroyed denim, jeans that look old or destroyed are also very popular. Colourful denims are quite appealing for the kids and one can get a vast variety in colours.” According
to Mehta from Pepe, “Hot shorts and dungarees for girls and 3/4th pants and dark blue denims for boys are the top favourite denim styles for kids.” Good shades and co-ordinated colours which can easily go with t-shirts/ tops are the top denim styles as per Sharad Venkta of Toonz. “Trendy jeans with embroidered badges and characters and smileys and comfortable stretch fabric jogger style jeans which are fashionable as well as day-to-day wear are preferred the most,” he adds.
Talking about washes in trend, Oliver Kaye from Gap India says, “Kids fashion to some extent mimics adult styling, and indigo wash is a staple. But we find lighter colours also occupying some of the basket space.” According to Mehta (Pepe), enzyme wash, river wash, acid wash, bleach wash, stone wash and micro sanding are the top trends. As per Venkta (Toonz), dark wash also known as denimex, which gives a rich blue colour with dry process for the texture are quite popular now-a-days. Heavy bleached wash also known as cloud wash, which makes the denim light in colour with blue patches is also appreciated. He also emphasized that the distress effect which give unique/ torn look to jeans was gaining huge popularity and cloud effect was another trend which was popular because of its cool light colour.Further, a lot of effects are available in kids denims. Informs Gap India’s Oliver Kaye, “We’ve done an exclusive range of denim through Disney collaboration which we find has done very well. This includes Mickey/ Minnie mouse prints transferred in different colours onto denim for a unique styling moment.”
Embellished denims too has been a great craze in recent times. As per Oliver Kaye (Gap India), patchwork, embroidered denim, frayed denim, beads and prints are the popular elements used for kids. Embroidered denim is particularly popular currently. Toonz’s Sharad Venkta opines, “Boys generally like smileys, animal badges and bold texts on their denims. While girls are more fond of flowers and embroideries.”
Among top selling colours or shades, Mehta (Pepe) finds grey, blue (dark and light), black and navy blue as the most preferred colours. According to Venkta from Toonz, blues are still in fashion. Dark blue, light blue, indigo colour, cloud effect (dark blue), cloud effect (light blue) are quite popular. “Girls are experimenting with shades of pinks, peaches and printed denims,” he shares.
While buying kidswear, parents are more particular about the style and the quality. Even though the kids are encouraged to express their choices, but the buying decision still vests with the parents.
Talking about parent’s preferences, Oliver Kaye (Gap India) points out, “Comfort is always in style. Parents look for denims with stretch to allow easy movement for their kids. Skinny
and slim denim styles are always in demand.” G. Satyanarayana (Rookies) believes that the kids denim market is vast and the tastes change as per requirement. “Parents are accepting very clean denims for their kids, with good washes and a distressed look,” he adds.
Mehta (Pepe) underlines the preference for icons and characters, “Denims with cool and quirky badges, popular cartoon characters and denims with funky prints are preferred choices.”
While Sharad Venkta (Toonz) feels that, “Parents prefer all round elasticated waist joggers, which are comfortable as well as trendy. These styles are easy to wear and carry.” He feels that though organic/hygenic fabrics are important, but as the market is price sensitive, it will take time for universal acceptance in India. Not many parents ask for it yet.
Recent market growth
The overall Indian kid’s denim market has been witnessing tremendous growth in volumes as well as sales, because of the high population base of children and the growing exposure of both parents and children towards fashion trends. Some of the other key factors driving the growth are influence of media, growing disposable incomes and availability of vast variety of styles and choices. The category remains the fastest growing category as both children and parents consider denim fabric and styles more fashionable as well as wearable.
Elucidating how kids’ denim market has grown in recent times, Mehta (Pepe) says that today’s kids are well aware of the current trends and are fashion savvy. He feels that media has played a big role in changing the mindset of kids who have become very demanding now-a-days and have also started influencing purchase decisions. He adds, “Shopping for kids clothes is no more a birthday or a special occasion affair. Growing disposable incomes of parents, coupled with exposure to international trends have further fuelled the growth of denims in the kidswear category.” Talking about the initiatives taken by Pepe, Mehta elaborates, “This season, the growth of denims has been exceptional because of our promotional offers. Besides, our collection also showcased prints on denim along with fun badges, which kids now-a-days want. In the last 2 years, there has been a tremendous growth in sales of kids wear denim at Pepe. In the year 2015, we had a retail space of 7,000 sq.ft. and our goal was to further expand this due to the increasing demand. By next year in 2016, we acquired a total retail space of 37,560 sq.ft., which was almost 5 times bigger than the previous year. So growth this season has been phenomenal, one of the key factors for the expansion and our collection.”
Oliver Kaye (Gap India) agrees that kids denim has been growing at a good rate. He shares, “In particular, our baby’s first denim sells very well since
customers love the outfit on their kids. These include elastic waistbands for comfort fits in shorts/cargos, super soft overalls, stretch jeggings for baby girls in the ‘my first jeggings’ range.”
G. Satyanarayana of Rookies has just ventured into the market and feels that the kids’ denim wear category has immense potential. According to Sharad Venkta (Toonz), there is an upward trend in denims. With new styles and washes available for kids, the consumption has increased immensely. He feels now-a-days, parents/kids are more aware of uniqueness in denims in terms of comfort, washes and fabrics.
Future trends to watch for
Oliver Kaye from Gap India foresees printed jeans for girls as the new upcoming trend. “Patterned denim fabrics such as floral prints, patterns, stripes have been quite popular for a while with the adults and are expected to grow in the kids section as well,” he apprises. The denim or chambray shirts, which has been very popular with the adults, is also gaining popularity in the kids department. “It is versatile and can be worn in so many different ways. These will have motifs, applique and other style elements, which have been popular with men and women,” shares Oliver Kaye. Another trend will be cuffed denims for boys. These jeans have a relaxed, classic vibe that is roomy and trendy. “Cropped jeans are very trendy for women this year and will probably emerge as a girl’s denim trend too. These jeans are versatile, cut straight through the leg and flare out gently at the bottom,” says Oliver Kaye. He also feels that the classic denim jacket is expected to hit the kids denim department too. Mehta (Pepe) sees striped denims, camo prints and coloured denims (green, maroon) becoming popular in the coming months. Whereas, Venkta from Toonz anticipates to see more of flayer jeans, denim on denim look, vintage wash denims, denim dungrees, mix and match of denims and other fabrics in future.
– Sartaj Singh Mehta, Vice-President- Design, Pepe Jeans India “Boys generally like smileys, animal
badges and bold texts on their denims. While girls are more fond of
flowers and embroideries.”
– Sharad Venkta,
MD & CEO, Toonz Retail Ltd.
“Kids fashion to some extent mimics adult styling, and indigo wash is a
“Parents are accepting very clean denims for their kids, with good washes and a distressed look.”
– G. Satyanarayana,
Head Sales and Business Development,
“Patterned denim fabrics such as floral prints, patterns, stripes have been quite popular for a while with the adults and are expected to grow
in the kids section as well.”
– Oliver Kaye, Business Head, Gap India