There was a time when adult brands were launching their own kids lines, one after the other : Dolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney, Burberry, Chloé, Marni, etc. The opposite model – “mini-me” going to “maxi-me” – is a more recent trend, as a bunch of cool brands show us: Caramel, Macarons, Bobo Choses, Smokks, Jess Brown have all added lines for grown-ups…!
Eva Karayannis, owner of Caramel Baby&Child, launched her children’s label 18 years ago and started with 6 adult styles 3 seasons ago. “The response was tremendous” she says. “I didn’t sell it in my children’s shops, the Caramel woman is not always a mum and this is why we wanted to treat it differently”. As a result, the label is now using more and more different fabrics, and the “maxi-me” is developing its own personality.
“It’s so interesting, so many brands going in that direction”, adds Eva. “It is too early to say if the women’s line will outgrow the children’s wear lines. I want to give it the time it needs to grow”.
The designer says she is pleasantly surprised to see that a lot of retailers are expanding their children’s shops to include womenswear, which gives her business the opportunity to sell both lines to those retailers. “Some companies are seeking a profitable path in the opposite direction, as parents press the retailers that make their favorite kids’ and baby products to cater to them, too”.
For Smokks, it started with school mothers who were after something similar to their children’s outfits as well, looking for something easy to throw on. So, the brand adapted their girl’s “Winnie” style into a women’s product along the same lines – they sold out.”I think our school should own shares in Smokks!” laughs Hallie Burton, founder of Smokks.
Hallie did not have to think much. The launch of the adult line came pretty naturally from a high volume of requests in her circles. “We started getting the most wonderful emails from mothers that wanted more!”. When she recently launched the new “Pennie”, the black edition was sold out entirely within an hour, and soon had a wait list of 20. “I had to frantically get another 100 cut. I think I have stumbled on to something almost by mistake. This was my retirement plan, as I am a working photographer (hallieburton.com) and would always buy sacks as I call them, to work and travel in! And I would always buy things I could wash or steam in hotel rooms so it felt almost natural to do this”.
Take a look at the Pirouette/Smokks giveaway at the end of this post.
A bit less than 4 years after the creation of their children’s label, German brand Macarons launched the adult version of their classic jumper, for women and men. Julie Carol and Veit Kohlhoff, the owners, explain the next step: “We are planning a small adults line with super beautiful and comfortable pieces. For Autumn/Winter 2017 we are working on 8 pieces for the Macarons Homme collection and about 10-12 Macarons Women pieces”.
So far, Macarons hasn’t exhibited at any adult wear fairs, as most of the orders came from kids fashion retailers. Other than that, they have started contacting selected shops directly. “Retailers who are interested in our adult pieces are more than welcome to contact us directly” says Julie. “We see a need for beautiful organic adults fashion worldwide. We still organize all the sales ourselves without any agents or distributors, but I guess now it’s time to be open.” To echo the other brands that we have spoken to, the first results were overwhelming, a nice surprise for Macarons as the brand extension to adults was not planned at all. “We decided to go for it now with full heart and see where the future will take us”.
Indeed, the future looks good for children’s brands who take the adult wear road, judging from an article published by the New York Times a few years back, (“Hands Off My Clothes, Mommy”, 2012), featuring names such as Pink Chicken, Aden+Anais, and Rachel Riley.
San Francisco based designer Jess Brown started her women’s line 5 years ago, 7 years after her famous dolls. [You may remember the collaboration that Jess did with Bottega Veneta, installing giant versions of the dolls in their New York windows – see it here]. “It’s doing well above what I had expected when I began with the original 6 pieces”, and indeed, the sales for the women’s line has come to represent 50% of the business.
“It was a slow start… but I launched it slowly. I only offered it to shops that I had a relationship with through the doll collection. Many of the retailers still have dolls as well, but the women’s pieces have found their place on their own now”.
That makes me think that what was absolutely un-cool in the past has changed, as generations blend more smoothly. Parents and kids end up listening the same music, dressing with similar styles, liking the same images on Instagram.
In the fashion world, this not a totally new phenomenon. At the end of the 90’s, Karl Lagerfeld dressed Claudia Schiffer with a Petit Bateau t-shirt for one of his catwalk shows. The demand became so high, with adult’s rushing to try on kid’s size 16y, that the brand started a proper line for grown ups. This allowed Petit Bateau to bury the image of being merely an underwear label and to become a global brand. Personally, I would never have thought that I would still happily wear Petit Bateau in my adult life, having worn their “petites culottes” during my entire childhood. But some things you never outgrow!
Which takes us back to the beginning of our post. Young women who wore the delicious Caramel Baby&Child when they were 4 years old can look forward to still wearing the brand at 22. Pretty cool!
We have teamed up with Smokks for a giveaway. The lucky winner will get a pink or black crinkle Pennie Smokk dress !
To enter simply:
1) FOLLOW @Pirouetteblog & @Smokks
2) LIKE this post
3) TAG a lovely friend in the comments who you think deserves to win something beautiful for Christmas
Winner will be chosen randomly
winner will be announced by 19/12/2016
Giveaway runs until Fri16th December at midnight.
This giveaway is not sponsored or endorsed by instagram.
GOOD LUCK !!