"Dressing is a Way of Life: YSL"


With the above quote in mind, we have trendy fashion and fashionable clothes available for both for Men and Women, then why should the Kids be far behind? Life is to be enjoyed and it definitely is too short to dress up in boring, and uninteresting clothes. For kids even more, because they outgrow their sizes in leaps and bounds. In the eighteenth century, children's clothing underwent a gradual evolution from constricting garments patterned after those worn by adults to apparel designed specifically for them.


In the present times, the kids have all clothing options like that of adults, and even much more. They are much more aware than the previous generations, and like to make their shopping decisions for styling by themselves. Excessive exposure to the plethora of brands and the latest fashion trends, kids of today have become brand conscious. And expectedly the trend first started in Hollywood for example the fashionable Suri Cruise.


Today's parents are happy to overindulge in keeping their kids stylish, and chic. This flaw has been well realized by the fashion retailers. They are well aware of this metamorphosis of children; their near magnetic attraction to wards prominent brands. Today's kids are consumers who guarantee a purchase and are mostly independent buyers. With nuclear family where both the parents are working, there is enough of disposable income, to splurge on branded merchandise which might be over priced irrespective of the quality that it is offering.


It is estimated by market studies that this segment of kids wear is going to be the fastest growing segment and till 2016 it will maintain an average of 13 percent growth. Increasing media awareness, growing amount of disposable income due to double income families, and growing brand consciousness among kids are the major accelerators in the market for kidswear.


Earlier, children's garments were purchased from local stores, and neighborhood shops based on the convenience factor. Branded clothing was only bought by affluent people. This trend is evolving gradually into a market where branded clothing holds the top most position. Along with it, shopping and purchasing methods are also going through extensive changes. The initiation of e-commerce in India has created an outburst of online shopping websites bringing trendy clothes even more accessible to everyone.


 On the basis of Utility, Kidswear can be classified as:

  •         Dressy or Practical
  •         Upscale (Expensive) / Price Conscious.

Based on the Age, Kids wear can be classified as:

  •         Infants


Generally Size ranges are in terms of months like, 3M, 6M, 9M, 12 M 24 M .Clothing for infants should be warm. It should be comfortable. Clothing should be easy to clean .Garments should be able to evaporate moisture, hence proper ventilation. Clothing has to be roomy for diapers and not too bulky. Should be soft Babies do not like clothes pulled over their heads-hence best to use are zippers, snap fasteners or buttoned neck opening. Blue for boys and pink for girls are traditional colors, although these are becoming less important.


Generally Pastels are most salable. They could have delicate embroideries and appliqu work; Smocking is also an interesting option. The patterns and prints are mostly delicate and small. Fit is important so that the garment does not discomfort the baby. A layette is what primarily every retailer dealing in infant wear would keep as part of his merchandise. It is a collection of articles needed by each individual baby. It includes clothing and non clothing items for an infant's wardrobe, nursery, bathing, feeding and bedding needs. The contents of an infant wear category consist of Jumpsuits/ Coveralls/ Bodysuits, co-ordinate sets, Frocks, Buntings or Snow suits, Booties, Mittens, Caps, Separates, Bibs etc.

  •         Toddlers


This segment consists of a size of clothing for children between the ages of about one and three years. The garment size usually does not conform to the age of the child. Color is very important at this stage; Children are attracted to bright colors especially RED. Buttons should be large enough to be grasped by little fingers Pull on pants and elasticized waist with adjusters is preferred. Zipper pullers must be large enough for the kids to handle properly.


Clothes will last longer if they are re-enforced at points of highest wear. For example, pants can be reinforced with knee patches, shirts with elbow patches, double stitch at crotch, pockets; will make the garment more durable. The merchandise varies according to the gender of the kid, but basically consists of Overalls or dungarees; Pull up pants with reinforced knees, T shirts/ shirts/ tops/ Sweatshirts and sweaters, Dresses, winter wear/ outerwear, Active Sportswear etc.

  •         Young Children


A segment of apparels consisting of 3years to 6 years of kids. Practical clothes should be sturdy for the active child. Easy wearability is something that most parents and kids look out for. Large hems for alterations as the kids are rapidly growing. Shirts should be long to allow for torso growth. Bright Colors, Favorite cartoon characters are a sure shot favorite among the kids of this age group. Character merchandise is again a desired by many. Both boys and Girls attire starts to reflect the trends as seen in general menswear and women's wear categories. The clothing more or less starts emulating the adult clothes based on the prevalent trends.

  •         Teens


7 years to 14 years of kids comprise the segment for Teens. Active wear is the athletic look popular with children warm-up and exercise suits. Comfort and practicality still remains important at this stage. It is a great business opportunity for Uniform sellers since most of the schools have uniforms not only for their classes but for various extracurricular activities as well.


Whatever the age of the kid is, the most important fact undoubtedly is that the garment should be comfortable and have a good fit. Here comfort can be checked on the basis that the child should be able to sit, stoop, bend, and stretch easily. Some generalized criteria for a good fit in Kids wear are:


}      Collar: low enough in the front to be comfortable and close enough in the back so that it neither slip
up nor slip down.

}      Shoulders: roomy and wide for free arm movement

}     Sleeves: roomy sleeves will allow for unrestricted movement and pull out with strain, cuffs should be slightly loose.

}   Waist line: slight looseness will allow for growth and longer wear in terms of size. Can have adjustable waist as well.

}     Elastic: it should help the garment to adjust to growth according to the stretch and never be tight enough to cause rash or red mark.

}     Length: For Tops/ Shirts it should be long enough to be able to tuck in the waist and remain tucked with movements. For Bottoms Like Trousers/ jeans it should not be so long that the kid is at a
 danger of tripping and falling. Also should not be short enough to make the kid appear a matter of
joke. Appropriate margins or hem allowances should be maintained for further lengthening.

Some of the common brands available in India for the Kids segment are Lilliput, Catmoss, Gini & Jony, Mothercare, Mom & Me, GAP kids, UCB kids etc. In the Luxury and Designer segment we have luxury labels like Chloe( Kids), Little Marc Jacobs, Armani Junior, Burberry, Boss Kids, Timberland, Diesel Kids, Kenneth Cole, Dior Kids, Gucci Kids, Stella Mc Cartney etc. In the online retailing sector we have sites like Firstcry.com, Babyoye.com, Hopscotch. in etc.


Since 2012 we are also having an India Kids Fashion Week held in Mumbai which again is a boost to the kids wear designers and the industry at large. India Kids Fashion Week is a signature affair to position India on the map of fashion industry for "Kids". It is a foremost project to give India's forthcoming and highly potential fashion society for kids a platform to showcase their talent and make a mark in the international fashion industry.

Sources:


1.      Fashionunited.in

2.      Dailymail.co.uk

3.      Ikfw.in


Subhashree Sarkar is a Senior Faculty in FDDI, Noida