2011 – Year end review by insiders – Part III

Shiva Shabani & Calvin Yu, founders of Sons+Daughters Eyewear (USA)

2011 reviewed by insiders Nicole Yee, Associate Children’s Editor – Stylesight (USA), Molly Price, Founder of Molly Meg and children’s wear design manager (UK), Corina Papadopoulo, Founder of children’s store and online store Kidsen (UK), Shiva Shabani & Calvin Yu, founders of Sons+Daughters Eyewear (USA).

Nicole Yee, Associate Children’s Editor – Stylesight (USA)

The names to remember from 2011?

In children’s fashion : Wild–I love their animal graphics, Mini & Maximus–Very cool, edgy graphic tees, Kutie Protocol and Esp. No. 1 for denim Atsuyo et Akiko for charming girl accessories , Sunbird-Love the movement of the garments and the color , Popupshop- Amazing gender-neutral silhouettes and awesome graphics, Kicokids.

In retail : I adore the mini-me outfits at Zara Kids and Crewcuts. For kids’ interiors Bobo Kids–I’m so happy they finally have an online store. Donna Wilson has the best home decor and accessories for children or kids-at-heart. Quirky Collective and Tada Shop continue to offer a well-edited collection for children.

Websites :  The Glow. Beautiful photography accompanied by a Q&A that offers a glimpse into the homes and lives of New York designers, artists, celebrities etc. I also love Ayla Eve’s blog. She’s only five but she styles her own outfits and her mom photographs them. Her style is both shockingly sophisticated and delightfully young and imaginative. Photographer Hare Tokidoki Haru’s blog on his children is incredibly heartwarming and has adorable photography.

The cultural hits of 2011?

Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibit at The Met. I went right before it closed and it was packed. I waited in line for almost three hours but it was totally worth it. Absolutely gorgeous, inspiring and haunting. I felt like I was the only person there even though I was surrounded by hundreds of people. The Cabinet of Curiosities and Romantic Primitivism sections were my favorite.

It Girls were actually girls. Kiernan Shipka of Mad Men guest blogging for Lucky Magazine, Hailee Steinfeld for Miu Miu and Elle Fanning all became fashion icons for women.

- Video look books like Mini Maximus and Y Porque’s became important marketing tools. For children, the video looks books really illustrate how the clothes complement children’s movement and imagination.

- Gender neutral apparel. More and more companies are offering items and apparel lines that are gender neutral.

- Punk Beauty for kids. Edgy temporary tattoo companies like Tattly, temporary spray hair dyes, feather extensions etc. all bring kids’ beauty to an edgier level than in previous years.

CONTROVERSIES  2011 was a particularly controversial year for Children’s. The Jours Apres Lunes lingerie line for girls was accused of having inappropriate look books. Also related to this, 10-year-old model Thylane Blondeau found herself in the middle of controversy regarding a Vogue Paris shoot after a Tumblr dedicated solely to her popped up. The creative director of J.Crew Jenna Lyons received criticism after a photo of her painting her son’s nails hot pink was published in the catalog. At the very beginning of 2011, the book My Princess Boy was receiving a lot of attention. Spreading the message of acceptance, the book was written by a mother whose young son preferred to wear dresses, heels and tutus.

Molly Price, Founder of Molly Meg and children’s wear design manager (UK)

The names to remember from 2011?

In children’s fashion : Bobo Choses is a brand that combines fun with fashion so well I am always excited to see what they will come up with next. I have enjoyed the humor in Stella Mccartney kids’ marketing and web design aimed at kids both young and old. Crewcuts  have brought  a fresh approach to the US high street and inspired brands worldwide. Their merchandising and selection of lifestyle brands to complement their own range in store is great. I love Atsuyo et Akiko’s new accessories and their Winnie the Pooh range. I am a fan of Scotch & Soda’s boys collection ‘Scotch shrunk’ and their girls collection launched this year ‘Scotch and R’belle’ as well as Japanese labels Denim and Dungaree and Go to Hollywood & Fifth. These brands influenced by vintage work wear have created casual stylish clothing for kids with an effortless quirky sense of style. Designs are considered with meticulous attention to fabric innovation garment detail and wash.

In design : Lucky Boy Sunday have continued to create a unique and magical world of soft toys and home furnishings which are a little odd and very heart warming. Kidsonroof have made some fantastic additions to their toys and interiors collections this year. I am also impressed by Japanese brands Kiko + & gg* with their wooden toys. These companies combine modern stylish design with simple imaginative playthings which works so well.  There are also some great new furniture designs by INSEKT, Wedowood,  Nonnah & Agnès & Agnès.

In retail  : Online shops smallable, Shuka Shuka. Little fashion gallery, Petit Hood, buisjes en beugels have been great at showcasing new design for kids.

Something in the world actuality that you want to comment?

Japan for The Earthquake and Tsunami which struck Japan and caused so much devastation and also threat of a nuclear disaster.

Protests in Tunisia which led to rallies and strikes against oppressive states across the middle East and Africa and subsequent civil war in Libya and capture of Muammar Gadaffi.

Watching the UK riots on TV from a campsite in the south of France was surreal and like the film 28 days later. Everything spun out of control so quickly. The destruction, violence and greed, which led to people loosing their homes and livelihoods, was so upsetting.

The eurozone crisis has been and is a worrying time for the economy.

The cultural hits of 2011?

Film: The Kings Speech – Theatre: War Horse – Festival: Secret Garden Party &  Celebration of the 60th anniversay of the Festival of Britain by the Southbank. – Music : London Afro beat collective.

A trend to remember?

Off the top of my head: Flouro accents used as trim and print accents on clothing, accessories, and homewares by the likes of Franky Grow, Nelly Stella , Rita co Rita & Crewcuts, Atsuyo et Akiko & baker made with love.

Hiking and the great outdoors has been a huge trend in Tokyo which has filtered down from men’s and womenswear into kidswear. Tricot field have bought this trend to the US with the opening of stores in LA & New York.

Taking influence from cities across the US. Food vans have become an affordable way for people to start businesses and vans are popping up across the UK selling top quality food.  There is also a booming Café culture in London and a rise in dual usage businesses with premises serving as a cafe, shop and creative workspace combined. Local markets have been popping up all over London serving as a stepping stone for creative people to meet directly with their customers.

Corina Papadopoulo, Founder of children’s store and online store Kidsen (UK)

The names to remember from 2011?

In children’s fashion : Swedish kidswear brand MiniRodini has brought out some winning collections this year. The brand is a true leader both in print and design.  I am excited by brands which dare to stand out and follow their own identity rather than hijacking existing trends. Mini Rodini is a great example of this and by being brave and offering something unique, which differentiates itself from the mass market is, I feel, the key to surviving the current tough economic client. Mormor, which means grandma in Danish, is a new favourite of mine. It is a Danish knitwear brand which has been a huge success in Kidsen and has gathered quite a following. Its beautifully crafted baby knit wear is made by an army of grannies – the youngest employee is 68 years old! I love the fact that I can chose which colour I like on each design. Gives you more freedom as a buyer, adapting the product to your own customer base. So clever!

In homeware design : the Danes are ruling again – LuckyBoySunday with its Clockwork Orange versus Helen Bonham Carter inspired cushions and dolls is in a ‘design class’ of its own. Sebra also continues to delight me. Its ever expanding range of innovative furniture designs in a multitude of irresistible colours offer great quality and creativity at affordable prices. Sebra’s A/W 2011 metallic kids chairs and classic bookshelves  sum up everything that is great about this brand.

In retail : Apple has shone for me this year. This brand is genius. It consistently delivers and is a great example of how to make consumers spend, not because they need to but because they want to! Their retail stores are a masterclass in layout, product placement and customer service.

Something in the world actuality that you want to comment?

The current front cover of Time magazine says it all – THE PROTESTER! 2011 will be the year I remember when people stood up for themselves, taking their future into their own hands. I  find it energizing and liberating.  When we are young we tend to believe in causes and be prepared to fight for change. As we get older we complain of certain situations but take no action to change them. 2011 was all about people taking action and that both shocked and moved me.

The cultural hits of 2011?

Whilst on holiday in Sweden this summer, my brother suggested we bought tickets for an outdoor concert by a Swedish band called Hoffmaestro. It was one one of the most uplifting experiences  I have had in a long time. Watching this 10 man band in the warm Stockholm air, with views of the city and sea, dancing with thousands of other fans it made me feel 15 again. And I resolved to be more ‘child like’ next year.

A trend to remember?

The Scandi craze. There is definately an increased interest in all things Scandinavian – from kids clothes, womens/men wear, to travel and food.  Waitrose is even introducing a Nordic food shelf. Move over cupcakes here come the Cinammon Buns!!!

Shiva Shabani & Calvin Yu, founders of Sons+Daughters Eyewear (USA)

The names to remember from 2011?

In children’s fashion : Our friends at Native Shoes have been a big inspiration to us and definitely have introduced a fresh idea to the footwear market for adults and children. The utilized a common material EVA and applied fun and fashionable design to them with a great brand and accessible price points. They have some really fun campaigns and videos. The best ideas are simple but never the easiest to find!

In design : Dieter Rams is an inspiration to both Calvin and I. His design philosophy of “Less, but Better”, and “Good Design” it’s something we continue to refer to at Sons + Daughters.

In retail : It seems many of the big boutique retailers such as Lane Crawford, Barney’s and Selfridges are stepping up their game to be more progressive in their buys. Competition is welcomed as it provides us as consumers with a better experience. That being said, there can never be enough independent boutiques to support on local levels.

In other categories : Bjork’s Biophilia app is groundbreaking. A fresh new concept of the way we can experience music. She describes it as “meditation on the relationship between music, nature and technology”.  It’s forward thinking and clever.

Something in the world actuality that you want to comment?

The Occupy movement was something that really brought people together and informed the masses of the many flaws of financial state of affairs and the role of corporations. Whether one feels it was positive or not it people thinking and that is the most important step to form an opinion.

The cultural hits of 2011?

Patti Smith’s book ’Just Kids’ was a beautiful story of creative people struggling in the formative years of New York’s creative scene. It illustrates reality of struggle that without being there, most people today would’ve thought it think it was glamourous and exciting time when in reality it was bitterly hard.

As for music, there are so many great bands coming out it is hard to pinpoint any specific one. We just stumbled upon for the first time an 80s punk band called Lou Miami and the Kozmetix. They are amazing. One huge benefit of the internet is making discovering old and new music more accessible. Before then, it was literally impossible to explore the range of music we have now without extensive time and money.

A trend to remember?

The overall trend of menswear fashion shifting back to classic and timeless looks is something that we really enjoy seeing and there can never be too much of it. We need more gentlemen in the world.

We feel and hope consumers are also becoming more conscious of their purchases and how things affect the environment. Perhaps, the economy has affected this but this is a trend that is good for the world. We need to lose the mentality of disposability. Buy what you need and love but will last you.

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