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Kids Wear Market .. To Boom With Luxury ..

Even though the global recession significantly affected almost every segment of the apparel industry, the children’s wear market remained strong as against the men’s wear and women’s wear categories in the past one year and the luxury brands are now eyeing the market…

Global Industry Analysts, Inc. (GIA), a US based market research company claims that the global market for children’s wear is projected to reach US $ 156.8 billion by the year 2015, driven by the frequent need to purchase new clothing to address the requirements of growing children. Taking a luxurious turn in 2011, high premium luxury brands and designer labels are entering the kidswear market and the latest to join the bag wagon are the designers like Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, GUCCI and even celebrities like Lady Gaga looking to clothe children in designer wear. Realizing the immense growth potential it holds in times to come, rising income levels, trend towards nuclear families and parental desire to offer the best to their children, is likely to foster this market growth. From simple comfortable garments to fashion, kids clothing has come a long way.

The market was traditionally dominated by kids specialty retailers like Disney, The Childrens Place, Gymboree and Mothercare offering clothing for play and party wear in knits, cool cottons and denim, and with time other specialty brands like GAP, DKNY, Diesel, J Crew, Benetton and even Zara extended their products to cater the kidswear market. Even the growing popularity of licensed merchandise particularly in underwear and nightwear segments, has added to its growth. The advent of character-licensed clothing such as Barbie Princess, Hello Kitty, Tinkerbell, Winnie-the-pooh, Mickey and Minnie mouse and Spiderman nightwear has enhanced value of a category that was traditionally characterized by low-cost basic clothing. Fashion retailers who have been traditionally dealing with kidswear and teen’s line are also licensing new characters every year to make their collection even more tempting for the kids.

Designers enter the high-end kids market

Designers are taking kidswear to the next level, aided by the fact that today kids are treated as adults, exposed to branded apparel, fashion media, rise in international travel, and enhanced awareness from peers, all contributing to the growing fashion-consciousness among children in a very big way. Mainstream fashion is having an increasing influence on all types of clothing for children, from infant wear to clothing for school, and celebrities too add to the trend. The celebrity daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, all of five years – has a wardrobe collection estimated at $ 3.2 millions, that includes Burberry trench coats, chic floral dresses, gold strap ballerina outfits and miniature Ferragamo bags. With children wanting to dress up as adults and desiring to see latest fashion trends reflected in their own clothing and wardrobes, several high-profile designers have launched their kid’s line which more or less focuses on creating miniature versions of adult designs.

Forming the best of the examples are famous designer names like Lanvin – who is all set to launch an expensive 25-piece line for 4-10 year olds available from November in selected outlets, Fendi – who has come up with a spring line of luxury wear for kids including outfits in muted taupe shades offset by cute floral and plaids with a plenty of yellows and pinks as well, A single baby romper’s cost is about $ 226. Dolce & Gabbana already has a “juniors” collection since 2001, when it capitalized on the luxe diaper bag trend. Phillip Lim launched a junior’s line in 2007, the same year as Chloe’s and John Galliano’s forays into kidswear.

The most awaited entry in the market is of Versace gearing up to make a children’s collection called Young Versace in Spring 2012, aimed at tiny ones from infancy to age 12. Retaining the high-end glamour of the brand, the label’s iconic symbols, such as the Greek frieze and the Medusa, will be reinterpreted with a sense of irony and fun prints in natural fabrics for children. With toddlers not even realizing the importance of such high-priced branded apparel onto their bodies at such a young age it seems that designer kids’ clothes are made principally for parents’ enjoyment, as well as the enjoyment of their wealthy friends who will feel great about bestowing such garments as presents, proving that growth in the children’s wear market is also driven by the trend towards gift shopping.

Owing to the bonus of low stitching and manufacturing costs, the children’s wear market is generally considered to be a less crowded competition for retailers till date which has been another prime reason for international brands wanting to expand their lines. Even according to analysts, currently consumer brand awareness is generally low in the children’s clothing business, and children’s clothing brand-building is still in its infancy.

In order to build a complete brand and lead this trend in 2011, big retailers are collaborating with designers every now and then to attract as much attention as possible. Recently GAP Inc. joined hands with celebrity designer Stella McCartney to roll out a line of children’s clothing later this year. The collection will be carried by select GapKids and babyGap stores in theUnited States,Canada,United Kingdom, France,Ireland, andJapanat an affordable price in partnership. Other example of the same is of Gwen Stefani teaming up with Target for a brand new line of kids’ clothing called ‘Harajuku Mini’ that will feature clothes for babies, toddlers, teens and even boys which will retail between $ 3.99 and $ 39.99 and will be available at target stores from November 2011.

Luxury department store Libertyin UKafter a long time is planning a new children’s department in February 2012, stocking fashion, accessories, books, furniture, toys and gifts. A Liberty-print kidswear line is expected to follow in summer later. Ed Burstell, Managing Director of the store claims, “Customer demand has prompted the return of kidswear toLiberty after a six-year hiatus. Kidswear is one of the main things we get asked about in store.” The store plans to offer French contemporary labels Isabel Marant and Acne, marking both brands’ debut in the kidswear arena, along with other kidswear brands from McCartney, Lanvin, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Converse, Caramel, Gold Belgium, Miller London, Notify and Little Marc. The liberty collections will take the same approach for their children’s line as they do with women’s and men’s fashion – an eclectic mix that blurs the line between designer and contemporary.

With so much happening in the kidswear segment, even celebrities have not ignored this trend. A surprise entry has been of Lady Gaga who recently has launched a new line of clothing for children. The collection, called Gaga Goo Goo, includes miniature versions of the eccentric singer’s most outrageous outfits. And summing it up all into a good cause, GUCCI in collaboration with UNICEF is creating a special line of clothes for children up to 8 years of age and $ 1 million of the profits from this line will be donated to UNICEF to support youth education.

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