In less than 20 days this decade will be over. It’s been a particularly fast one, and this partly because our notion of time has changed with technological progress and the time wrap qualities of the internet. We live in “real time”, something extremely new for human kind, which French philosopher Paul Virilio explains very clearly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Virilio). What will we retain from the 2000-2010 years? And what are the names that will last in the Fashion and Design worlds? More specifically, what about the little world of children’s fashion? I have asked a few keypeople from the children’s industry to give us their thoughts, a way of saying farewell to 2010 and welcome to the new decade.
A lot to read (special thanks to all the participants); quite unusual on Pirouette! Highlighted are the names that were listed at least 2 times : Bugaboo, Little Marc Jacobs, Wovenplay, Finger in the Nose, Little Fashion Gallery, Areaware, Oeuf, Kidrobot, Miller Goodman , Bloom, Imps&elfs and more. Enjoy!
Isis-Colombe Combreas, Milk Magazine, Paris – France
Among the independents children’s fashion labels, I think of Zef and Finger in the nose, who really have a strong spirit. They clearly understood how to build a true identity and they worked a lot on that. Bonton has also set something important. CdeC which is quite recent, is a good alternative to classic labels, with a very affordable price point : dresses are around 30 euros. The brand has opened stores in key locations, and developed a perfume. Among the big names (declinations of adult’s brands in mini version) are Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Burberry. Marc Jacobsis very compatible with kid’s taste and children’s DNA. He is one of the fashion designers who really knows how to please and seduce young people, and Little Marc Jacobs is a success in all respects. Soeur is an interesting brand targeting a pre-teen audience. Internet is big and e-stores like smallable and Little Fashion Gallery have become the leaders. The emerging brands that a good chance to meet sucess in the coming decade? I think of Adri, Lale and Christopher Lescot.
Lili Bettens Guisset, Kids Comunicacion, Barcelona – Spain
I did get more involved in kid’s fashion around 2003, after my first child was born. I started looking at brand like Petit Bateau or Catimini, French labels that were ok but not really original. I got to know interesting brands going to a fair in Brussels the Kids fashion trade show (that doesn’t exist anymore): Imps&Elfs, Bellerose, Simple Kids, RitaCoRita were revelations for me ! I discovered a new world in kid’s fashion and decide that I wanted to be part of it. Then I came across Finger in the nose, Antik Batik, Caramel Baby & Child, Douuod, Album di famiglia that are still very strong references and that have potential to meet great success in the future. As I work like press agent in Spain, I think there are also brands with great potential in my country: Tammy Donohoe’s is a beautiful and very elegant brand for baby and child. Also Limobasics created in Spain by a dutch couple offers good basics for babies in a different range of colors. For online shopping I think we must mention Little Fashion Gallery and Smallable as the two most interesting e-stores for exclusive brands. In design I love online shopping at Bianca and the Family and at Petit Pan. In furniture and decor I want to mention Bloom, Perludi, Seimi, Oeuf and Lucky Boy Sunday as the brands that have original and great designs.
Lindsay Hoyes, Event Director, Bubble London – UK
For me, one of the most successful ‘products’ to have emerged over the last decade has to be the animation film, and predominantly Pixar (now part of Walt Disney). Almost every year has been punctuated by a delightful creation and has influenced a whole generation of children who have grown up with Toy Story (1995), Monsters Inc (2002), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004)…. the list goes on. A commercial, business, financial and style success, these films have massive appeal and have created and reflected the Zeitgeist of the last 10 years. I have to mention the Robert Sabuda series of pop-up books. These are masterpieces in their own right and have delighted and intrigued my son, whilst introducing him to some of the classic tales of my own childhood; Wizard of Oz, The Night Before Christmas, Alice in Wonderland, The Tales of Narnia, the list goes on. The reworking of the original pop-up is a nod to the past and a pre-curser of this decade’s obsession with all things 3D. They allow us to escape from this big, digital world, into tangible, miniature landscapes. Design wise, I have been very impressed with the emergence of the pedal-less bike. This is the modern day alternative to the tricycle – developing balance and coordination in young children without the need for stabilizers. My favourite is British brand, Early Rider. Beautifully made, these are lovely to look at, and are the heirlooms of the future. One fashion brand that has really stood out for me is British brand, No Added Sugar. Launched in 2001, it pioneered the British independent cool kids’ label, and has gone from strength to strength with its distinctive, edgy and eccentric English flavour. It sits alongside the high brow designer brands with effortless style. A true British triumph. Another brand that I love is Wovenplay. It harks back to a bygone age of intricate, handmade clothes, where every outfit becomes a theatrical costume. In this era of throwaway, mass production, this label is a shining star and an inspiration. Clothes to be treasured and handed down from this decade to the next….
Jenny Dalton, Journalist (The Financial Times) and e-store/magazine owner Little Big, UK
I have to admit, I’m not so interested in children’s fashion – I think children should be able to reflect their own personalities in what they wear and be comfortable rather than ‘fashionable’. I really hate the marketing of children’s lines that are really just reduced versions of adult lines – no thought involved / no special attention given to kids. Having said this, I think there are certain brands that have impressed in the last decade – Stella McCartney for Gap; the anonymity of PopUPShop; the recycled luxe of Christa Davis’s children’s lines. In design: whilst I love the stand-out designs of the last decade for children – such as the Magis Puppy (what a phenomenal commercial and artistic success!), Kartell’s perspex chairs for kids, etc, I particularly appreciate the emergence of niche designers catering for children and how this side of the market is growing. I doubt any will be major commercial / financial successes, but this isn’t really the point. I love the fact that serious designers are considering design for children as worthwhile as design for adults. (David Weeks for Areaware, etc). I don’t think you can talk about successful design without mentioning Kid Robot and the huge impact street and cartoon ‘style’ is having on visual culture worldwide. Oh, and Dwell Studio – along with the likes of Orla Kiely, responsible for reintroducing print into the bed and living room – not a small success in itself! Online stores, and concept stores: I don’t think you can underestimate the impact of Little Fashion Galleryand latterly Smallable and Kids Love Design – the middle Europeans / French really own this chic children’s online boutique market. Little Fashion Gallery is a commercial success but the biggest success of all these stores is in the concept that you could have an entire lifestyle store for children and that it could be successful… Other: The children’s publishing of certain niche, boutique book publishers such as Ammo, Corraini and Chronicle Books is one of the biggest successes of the last decade – showing there’s room for independent book titles and that art books for children – using some of the best illustrators and designers in the world today is alive and well – and that this is a potential growth / steady market for years to come. I’d like to see them be more daring yet. I’ve yet to embrace i-pad / i-phone apps for children, but on the web, I think the kind of educational gaming of Poisson Rouge (and even Sesame Street) are invaluable. Emerging brands: I really love Mini & Maximus for its incredibly strong and almost 80s graphic identity. I think Our Children’s Gorilla will go from strength to strength now it’s under new ownership. I would like to see Brio sort out its alleged business problems as it has been incredibly influential for many more years than the last decade in offering a reduced, minimal, Scandinavian view of design for children. I’m watching Deuz and Hommu – of the latter the Spanish seem to be offering the most exciting design in the world today…
Ann-Katrin Weiner, Kidswear Magazine, Hamburg – Germany
To me, the brands that were the most successful in fashion were Finger in the nose and Imps&elfs; in design Anne-Claire Petit and Bugaboo, which in my opinion really changed the way we apprehend our mobility with children; online Little fashion gallery and for other categories the i-phone. I believe that Scotch r`belle (Scotch&Soda) will have a huge success in the coming years.
Stephane gerbier, YoyaMart, New York – USA
In fashion, LVMH, the number 1 group that includes the highest fashion houses of the world, from the House of Givenchy to Marc Jacobs, with profit that keeps on growing – Hermes is also an important one; throughout 2008 the firm continued to open and renovate some 40 boutiques in the United States, Asia, and particularly China-which is the future – Gucci group. In design Ikea (the brand that saved your homes !) – Kidrobot (mass market toys meets the designer art toys revolution); it’s collectible pop art for everyone – Medicom, the pop Japanese Iconic Bearbrick. From Chanel to Comme des Garcons, they are an essential hip icon. For stores and online stores, Colette (the revolution on how to look at what is cool-it is curated as a museum) – IKEA still the most revolutionary designs, easy, unexpensive and practical that can be included in any home, expensive or not – DWR (Design within reach), still the best selection of Herman Miller chairs which are timelessly elegant – Opening Ceremony, the best online store for the educated urban fashionista. In other categories, the Huffington Post (the best way to stay informed with humor and political accuracy) – The election of Barrack Obama (one of the most important event of the history of the world). Also : Keith Richards, the story of the soul survivor and main offender and the coolest dude on the planet – Shazam who launched a unique technology, enabling music lovers to identify tunes anywhere from your smart phone – Netflix for i-pad which gives access to some 20,000+ movies and television shows; you can also browse movies and manage your queue from the app. And you can even pick up watching them from where you left off on your TV or computer. To the question “what are the new emerging brands that according to you have a good chanceto meet a great success in the coming years”, my answer is The YoyaMart brand (lol). It seems that parents and children are unanimous on its designs. YoyaMart will have to work on creating items that will correspond with the new economic restrains with affordability. All green and eco superior products!
Carina Schott, Nonchalant moms, USA
In fashion I have to say that I really think that it’s people that have influenced fashion in my opinion. I have this weird thing about quality products and I feel as though in the end they will shine through… there is always that crowd that turns to H&M or things like that for fast fashion but I like to hang out with the style guru’s – I think that Mickey Drexler (JCrew) is that extremely influential kind of a person, he has a way of distilling something to it’s core. And then I look at someone like Katherine Edmonds of Wovenplay and I think she is really doing something unique and she refuses to skimp on her construction for a better price. I am a bit interested in this Alexa Chung, I think that she has somehow taken ‘style’ and made it into fashion, does that make sense? Marc Jacobs is another person who does this really well, I picture him in the back room before a show like a tornado creating the images that he does for LV, as if to say “There” when he’s done. In design I look to the past for this type of thing and I think that DWR Design Within Reach has really helped us come back to these classic designs and make them accessible, they brought all this great design to our mailbox and look how creative people are with it since they have been around. I also have to say, THANK GOD FOR IKEA! Personally I like to mix these things with very personal style and create a home that is truly unique, but without these tools it would be very difficult. I think that the direction of DWR (Design within reach) is exciting and the voice that they are giving to young designers is amazing. For stores and e-stores : not to toot my own horn but I think that Nonchalant Mom was very unique to create an online boutique, when I opened it I had a very hard time explaining that I was going to be a boutique shopping experience with hand-picked collections, online only, I think that it opened a new world to the small store owner. I think that the most influential stores are those such as Moss or Troy in NYC in the 1990’s, and then merging that with an amazing cafe as Merci has done in Paris, these kind of places are really visionary and inspiring. In other categories (internet, applications, blogs,etc), again, I have found that it’s the people behind these things that are really interesting, Steven Jobs, the sartorialist Scott Schuman, the New York Times Style Magazine is incredible lately as other magazines disappear. I think that many things have developed more of an Art or Poetry and it’s not just utilitarian and it’s not just a business, it actually has to be good or it’s not going to work. To your question about new emerging brands that have a good chance to meet a great success in the coming years, my answer is that I have a feeling that those big brands are not going to be the big success in the coming years; people are ready for a personal experience, someone making something… fantastic! Finally, the stores I like for the future are Uniqlo, Muji, Merci, Jcrew, Steven Allen and Tortoise (Venice, CA) – incorporating crafting classes with store – great idea! Freeman sporting club (why do mens stores seem to do it better!).
Daniel Kron/Genius Jones, Store owner, Miami – USA
In fashion, Kingsley; the brand brought punk rock style to the diaper set and gave Gen X parents a way to channel their inner Johnny Rotten. It became the designer of choice for Hollywood’s youngest fashion icons, the Jolie-Pitt kids – Also Appaman, Paul Franck, Little Marc Jacobs, Converse, Havaianas. In design, Bugaboo; in less than 10 years, the Bugaboo brand has come to represent everything that’s good and bad about 21st century parental overindulgence. You can love ’em or hate ’em, but there’s no arguing that Bugaboo designs awesome strollers the even dads are excited about driving – NettoCollection: David Netto pioneered the modern nursery aesthetic and opened the door for a slew of other brands that followed – Magis/Vitra/Knoll/Kartell: The “big four” brought serious modern design cred to the kids’ market with child-size furniture by Wanders, Panton, Mies and Starck. Friends With You: Art world darlings whose chief patron and collaborater is Pharrell Williams. Friends With You brings a child-like sensibility to everything they touch, which thus far has included toys, clothing, painting, large-scale installations, performance art, fountains, videos and more. Also in design : Orbit Baby, Oeuf, DwellStudio, OXO, Offi, BlaBla, Skip Hop, Uglydoll, Playsam, Bloom, Bozart (now Cerealart), Areaware, Sirch (Sibi Toys). In stores/e-stores : Genius Jones, Yoyamart, Kid O, Kidrobot, J Crew. In other categories Babble.com, Cookie magazine, Daddytypes, Chronicle Books, Milk magazine, Bubble trade shows. To the question about the new emerging brands that will meet a great success in the coming years, I will say Friends With You, Green Toys, Native Shoes, MillerGoodman, Clek and Lifefactory.
Jenny Lacey, founder of LMNOP, Sidney – Australia.
In fashion: JCrew, a commercial/business/style and I’m sure financial success! JCrew basically reinvented their brand and served it up to the mass market with a BANG in 2010! They offer stylish kids’ fashion for less. Style it beautifully – market each season with a unique campaign, and make if feel accessible to the consumer. I’m in awe of what this company has done with the JCrew Kids’ brand this past year – Wovenplay:Katherine and her team continue to produce exquisite pieces season after season. In 2010 the Wovenplay brand has done of fantastic job of evolving their signature ‘dress-up’ theme – Inge van den Broeck:Inge’s love of dressing children in ‘colour’ is infectious! Her collections are always packed with bright colours, bold checks and stripes, kaleidoscopic knits and quirky finishes. She’s producing some of the most interesting and original fashion for kids by far – Caramel Baby & Child. In design, I think that DwellStudio is a commercial success. This high-end brand has successful made it’s self relevant to a broader market over the last couple of years. Great design and always a step ahead of many other brands… – Oeuf: the brand is always evolving and producing new and unique items to add to their collection – Ferm LIVING:I’m in love with everything this exciting homewares company produces -Coq en Pate Editions – MillerGoodman: creativity for kids at it’s best – Automobloxgets my vote for ‘best toy’ of the decade – Momoll. For stores and e-stores, Tada Shop is an interesting online shopping concept. I particularly love the ‘Create a Look’ feature: http://www.tadashop.com/create_a_look – LEGO:the opening of these stores has begged the question ‘why didn’t LEGO open them sooner?’. In other categories, Anorak Magazine; it isuch a unique read for kids. The online magazines is a category has done amazing things for the children’s industry as a whole in the past 3 1/2 years. Publications such as Small Magazine and LMNOP are the true ‘founders’ of this category. We’ve seen several more enter the market in the past 2 years and there will be MANY more to follow. Online magazines have created an amazing platform for high-end children’s brands to showcase their wares – whereas before they (online magazines) existed there were very few opportunities for brands to do this. It is my strong view that unless the industry supports these online publications, the very best ones will cease to exist, purely because they will not be able to sustain the production of their magazine editions by giving ‘editorial for free’. In a space where ‘borrowed’ content is rife, only the few publications which are producing their own content and presenting a unique ‘point of view’ will continue to exist and be the ‘true’ influencers of the market. I also like a blog called Made by Joel:Truly a phenomenal success! The emerging brands I see are : Mapa, Mastro Gepetto, Nelly Stella and, Wiloh. We’re going to see a lot more come out of Japan (for kids) in the next decade. There are many ‘untapped’ Japanese designers producing amazing goods/fashion/even spaces for children.
Thanks to the participants for their time : Isis-Colombe Combreas/Milk Magazine, Lili Bettens-Guisset/Kids Comunicación, Silvana Catazine/Naif Magazine, Lindsay Hoyes/Bubble London, Jenny Dalton/Journalist and owner of LittleBig Magazine, Ann-Katrin Weiner/Kidswear Magazine, Stephane Gerbier/YoyaMart, Carina Schott/Nonchalant Mom, Daniel Kron/Genius Jones, Jenny Lacey/Lmnop.