Key independent kidswear brands are being picked up now by some of the biggest retailers, who are looking to diversify their retail offerings, explains WGSN Kidswear Director Ellen Kirkhope
If you’ve been shopping or browsing for kidswear along the aisles and shelves of the top luxury retailers recently, you’ll have noticed a growing trend emerging. Sat alongside those typical big brand labels (the mini-me offerings from designers like Dolce and Gabbana and Armani Junior) is a growing subsection; the rise of indie kidswear brands.
The influence that contemporary, independent kidswear brands are having on the kidswear market continues to spread as social media propels these highly distinctive, independent labels to luxury levels. You only need to look at the launch of Harrods Mini Fashion Lab , a new luxury shopping concept for kidswear which purposely showcases lesser-known indie brands (within the luxury sphere) such as Gardner & the Gang, Mini Rodini, Little Remix, Sweet Pants and Finger in the Nose.
Highlighting a new focus for their kidswear department that is different from their typical offering of designer, mini me ranges, this follows off the back of the success of the Liberty Children’s Department and the recent launch of Farfetch Kids earlier this year, marking a move towards more cross-pollination of brands at several market levels.
“Over the last few seasons, we have really focused on building our contemporary childrenswear category. Following the success of Fashion Lab in Womenswear, we have taken the opportunity to emulate the concept and launch Mini Fashion Lab in Childrenswear. The new department follows in the footsteps of Mini Superbrands and will feature contemporary clothes, shoes and accessories as part of its very own shopping destination,” says Helen David, Chief Merchant at Harrods.
Similarly but on a more commercial level, indie kid’s lifestyle label Corby Tindersticks and mass retailer Mamas & Papas have joined forces to create a super cute fashion range launching mid-September. Designer Carly Gledhill happens to also be the co-founder of the trade show Dot to Dot London that champions independent labels and is often the launch pad for exiting new start-ups. With relatively new trade show KID in Paris following suit and the ever-expanding new Kids Fizz area at Pitti Bimbo, there has never been a better time for small, independent labels to flourish.