The growing role of childrenswear in fashion
Fashion used to be about the privileged, stylish woman. Then it became about young, single, stylish women. As time went on, it changed again to focus on teenagers, and that trend is continuing today with childrenswear.
Fashionable clothing for kids is an ever-increasing market, and one which is becoming more and more important to the industry.
History of Childrenswear
Fashion for kids is nothing new. Baby Dior celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and with movie stars dressing their kids in the same designer outfits for decades, fashionable kids have always been around.
Up until the early 20th Century, there were no distinctions between boys and girls clothing. Children were just that – children. Their gender didn’t matter. Everyone wore the same thing because it was practical.
It wasn’t until the 1920s that patterns and colours first started to appear on children’s clothes. Usually floral patterns or animal motifs, these designs gradually began to become associated with one sex or the other.
Flowers and kittens would start to appear on girl’s clothes, while images of drums and puppies for the boys. Surprisingly, at this time pink was primarily for boys, and blue for girls. The thoughts at the time were that pink was a shade of red, and so was the colour of Mars, God of War, while blue was the colour of serenity and peace, and more suitable for girls.
The growing market in kids fashion
Children’s clothing only makes up 12% of the overall apparel market, but it’s the fastest growing demographic, outpacing both men’s and womenswear.
The children’s apparel and footwear sector was worth an estimated 200 billion USD in 2106, and is only set to increase this year.
With more people waiting to be financially secure before having children, by the time they do, they have plenty of disposable income to spend.
And parents tend to spend more on their children’s clothes then they would on themselves.
Children’s clothes nowadays tend to be more about replicating adult styles, rather than about practicality, and Millennial parents are to blame.
Young parents are the driving force behind the industry. By dressing their kids in the same clothes they wear themselves, they want their offspring to look “cool”, wishing that when they were kids, their parents had dressed them fashionably.
The influence of Social Media
Children’s fashion has come to the forefront with the advent of social media. Parents want to show off their kids, and dressing them accordingly, has suddenly become a concern.
With the rise of online celebrities like Kim Kardashian, how we look on social media has become a defining feature for a lot of people. In fact, Kim Kardashian’s daughter, North, has been influential in boosting interest in the childrenswear industry. Her mum regularly posts photos of her in designer clothes, and with over 100 million Instagram followers, there are many who will follow suit.
Children are also joining social media at a younger age, with pre-teens themselves becoming more fashion conscious. With other celebrity kids to follow, such as Prince George, Ava Phillippe, and Honor Marie Warren, there is no shortage of looks and design for them to aspire to.
This is actually becoming a problem in China. The country’s one child policy, coupled with economic growth, has given rise to “Little Emperor Syndrome“. This is a term used to describe the children of families who are being ‘over indulged’ by their parents and grandparents, who are spending thousands of dollars a year on clothes and accessories.
The future of childrenswear
The signs are that the growth in the kids apparel sector isn’t going to slow down any time soon.
Millennials are starting to have their own children now, with 40% already there. This 40% alone has a combined spending power of 1.3 trillion USD, with the other 60% adding to that amount over the next decade.
The industry isn’t trying to meet a basic need here; it’s all about branding.
The kids of today will grow up to be the consumers of tomorrow, and attaching them to your brand early is the real goal.
Having people stay loyal to a brand is still the best way to run a fashion business, no matter what age the consumer is.
How we can help with branding
In today’s world of social media, brand loyalty is the biggest asset a business can have.
We work with some of the biggest names in the business, and can help with brand imagery.
Our unique, hands-on approach gives small designers the personal touch that they would usually only get with local suppliers, but with our large international network that delivers across the complexities of a global supply chain, we can offer much more.
Contact us today if you would like to know more about how we can help your business when it comes to building a successful brand.