More often than not, children grow up playing in their parents’ closet, trying on clothing and yearning for “big people clothes.” Perhaps this thought was what compelled luxury fashion houses like Fendi, Gucci and Stella McCartney to tailor to a smaller clientele; both have added children’s lines to their usual clothing offerings.
Stella McCartney will release a clothing line for kids on November 3. “As a brand with many working parents in the team, I wanted to create a desirable, fun, wearable kids collection that was affordable,” she said to Vogue UK. It doesn’t hurt that McCartney has experience in what children want – she has two of her own. Fendi’s Silvia Fendi felt compelled to design her own collection after learning that she was becoming a grandmother.
In September, Gucci launched its line in collaboration with UNICEF designed for infants and children up to age 8. Of the profits obtained, $1 million will be donated to UNICEF to further youth education.
High-end designers like these have only begun skewing younger within the past ten years — Dolce & Gabbana launched a “juniors” line in 2001 and Chloe, John Galliano, and Phillip Lim presented children’s collections in 2007.
So what led designers like McCartney to go “child” now, when the retail market is so weak?
It turns out that the reason, surprisingly enough, may be the recession. In tough times, parents are more likely to splurge on their kids than themselves. Research by Kantar Worldpanel Fashion showed that consumers are spending more on childrenswear these days, and luxury retailers have already gained $4.05 billion in overall sales (including children’s goods) in 2010, increasing 14% since 2008. Helen Job, director of youth culture for Stylesight, described the trend as such: “I think spending on your children is a guilt-free purchase.”
Though it isn’t like Fendi needs the money – in 2009, the label made an estimated $388 million in overall sales.