The fact that children have a mind of their own is well known. In fact children are decision makers as far as their fashion choices are concerned. Perhaps it is this very ethos that has resonated with designers and brands that has increased the demand for designer kids wear. The kids apparel includes clothing for children between 1 and 14 years of age. Global brands like Versace, Armani Junior, Fendi have special lines for kids and Indian designers like Monisha Jaising, Jattinn Kochhar and Shivan & Narresh have also diversified into children’s wear. 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, Bangalore and Chandigarh in July 2018.
Chiquitita have launched a spring summer line which is inspired by nature around us flowers, twines and leaves. The colours are all soft and pastel, with some sorbets thrown in. The high points are interesting silhouettes, sleeves with frills some fun scarves in contrast colours with tassels. “In India the designer clothing is in still a very nascent stage, we are beginning to see style and luxury being amalgamated finally. One can see luxe fabric, great styling and the most important in children’s clothing the 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 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% 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 kids wear 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. The collection also features jumpsuits and gowns with bright floral prints and stripes on bold cuts. The collection is absolutely fun and bright. The boys collection offers cool t-shirts, shirts, jeans, shorts, Nehru-jackets in vivid and trending colors like avocado, fuchsia, tangerine and lemon yellow. “At K&U, we are launching our new Celebration’s range for AW 2018 with a theme inspired by the five elements of nature. Aristotle theorized 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 of kidswear 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 kidswear market was estimated at Rs. 66,904 crore accounting in 2017 making for 20 percent of total apparel market of the country. Kidswear is expected to grow at CAGR of 8.1 percent to reach Rs. 145,445 crore by 2027. With an influx of brands, private labels and Indian fashion designers exploring Indian market for kidswear, the market is certainly looking up. Another factor that augurs well is the growing disposable income among the middle class families and the shift of retail market from unorganized to corporatized retail. This is certainly an exciting time for designer wear in India and designers need to focus on making international quality clothes and not necessarily having brands just limited to their presence in India. Monica Oswal, Executive Director Monte Carlo says, “kids designer wear industry in India is growing at a massive rate with increased access to brands, trends and awareness. The rapid growth of kids wear market has also lead to fast changing trends which keeps us on our toes all the time. Gone are the days when fashion apparel market was limited to those of the adults. Now children’s clothes have become a serious business and an important part of Indian markets. Kids wear market includes the age bracket of 1 year to 14 years. The current worth of kids wear market in India is about Rs. 13,000 crores out of which branded and designer kids wear segment contributes around Rs. 3000 crores. Also, the industry is growing at a steady 10 per cent per year which surely is quite impressive and promising.”
Kids wear is not far behind designer wear for women and men in terms of trends. Whether we are looking at colours or styling, the difference lies in how trends are adapted, moulded and modified for children’s fashion. The trends follow three straight lines sporty know-how is in, 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 volume, halter tops, cropped trousers, lace trims are key favourites in kids’ apparel. This year is all about bold colors, fun patterns, and retro-meets-modern fashion. Most kids wear fashion is just minimizing patterns in size to fit the likes of the new lot. But the designer kids wear range is booming as parents are more aware of the available designer options for kids now than ever before. “Customizing for me is equally important for kids than it is for their parents. 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 kurti, Anarkali suit set , Floral co-ordinates, Block prints and Kalidars for summers are few trends that are catching up this season.”
Kids on Top
It has been seen that spends on braded children wear products are on the rise in urban centres in India. As more and more international kidswear 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, colors and materials. Kids’ fashion is no more restricted to making kids feel free and comfortable, but to look unique and stylish too. “With kids increasingly becoming more fashion aware and the center-point of a household budget, the spends have seen incremental growth. However, the production complexities and unorganized supply chain has 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.
Kids are a special sector all together, whether it us styling, use and selection of fabrics, cuts; all are keeping in mind the little one’s here and their comfort. As kids apparel should have two characteristics – variety to appeal to kids and a reasonably priced range as kids outgrow clothes easily. “Something for a 2 year old will not work for a 5 year old and that for a 5 year old will not work for 9 year old. So understanding kids, their needs, preference and likings is very important. It totally reflects in our designs and something which our clients appreciate the most,” says Bahl. Regarding children’s clothes, the most important issue is quality and additionally, even though India is immensely populated, the disparity in income levels requires a wide variety of production levels which has been a challenge. The varied price points with high rentals in retail remain a major challenge to this date for the kids wear industry. In order to capture this market apparel retailers need to focus on value-pricing. Also occasion specific clothing is an important aspect in kidswear and a well-planned approach is required to understand the demands of kidswear market. “While the scenario for Tier I cities is good, the dynamics are completely different in Tier II and Tier III cities, which are a crucial market for kids wear. There is a lower penetration of internet and smart phones in these cities, leading to lower exposure to online fashion trends. Another challenge is that the kids wear industry is complex in nature and when it comes to cost structure, the margin model is always under pressure,” adds Oswal.