Children are no strangers to luxury fashion. Parents today are increasingly giving in to the Suri Cruise phenomenon following in the footsteps of former Hollywood couple Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes who reported splurged close to $3 million on their daughter’s wardrobe. While they are not exactly shelling out millions on their tiny tots’ clothes, they are willing to stretch their budget like you can ever imagine…
Catch Them Young
According to a 2015 report by ASSOCHAM, the Indian kids wear is pegged at a whopping Rs 80,000 crore. The research group, Euromonitor International, says that by 2020, sales are expected to jump to Rs 1.6 trillion. What is fuelling the high demand? It’s not just tier-I cities that are driving the sales. Parents in tier-II and III cities like Indore, Chandigarh, Pune, Nashik, Varanasi and Dehradun are also willing to spend big bucks on branded kids wear. Top reasons range from more media exposure, double income households and more fashion-conscious children. Add to this the fact that 30% of India’s 1.2 billion population is under 15 years and together they make the country a lucrative market for high-end brands.
Baby Steps No More
Since the indulgence goes all year round, international brands have started taking notice too. From Armani Junior to Burberry kids, Gucci and Gap — a number of foreign brands have set up shop here. They are already seeing great returns. Armani Junior for example, reported an increase in sales of over 15-19% in 2015. Other brands like US Polo and French Connection Kids too have seen sales skyrocket to 1000% in the same time.
Les Petits—a multi-brand store that stocks Paul Smith Junior, Fendi Kids, Mayoral and Young Versace has three stores (one in Delhi, two in Mumbai) to keep up with the demand for luxury apparel for children ranging from newborns to 12-years-old. Malaysian retailer Poney Enfant too is on track to bring international standards in their designs; it has its clothes made in Spain.
Among major metros, Delhi seems to claim the lion’s share of luxury labels— there are brands like Little Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld Kids, Carrément Beau and Timberland kids available at French chain ‘Kids Around’, where an average price for a T-shirt is around Rs 4,000. New Zealand’s Pumpkin Patch and FOX kids at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj are a little more affordable with toddler dresses starting from Rs 1,200 onward.
A Homegrown Affair
Leading Indian designers have also entered the kids wear market. Monisha Jaising has ‘MJ Kids’; Gauri and Nainika design exclusive girl gowns for Kidology; Masaba Gupta makes crop tops and jumpers for two to nine-year-old girls and sells it on Hopscotch, Flipkart, and FirstCry; Jattinn Kochhar designs identical sets for mother-daughter and father-son duo. Other well-known names like Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Namrata Joshipura, Siddartha Tytler and Archana Kochhar too have a presence in the market.
With a plethora of online stores, shopping for kids wear is more convenient than ever. It has also allowed new brands and designers to penetrate tier-II and III cities along with major metros. Apart from big names likes FirstCry and Mom & Me, there are many start-up sites like Giggle Glory, Pat Pat, StyleMylo, Lil Angels and Little Couture for easy kiddie shopping. If you don’t the regular synthetic fabric, start-ups like Moriko Organic and The Baby Label ensure you buy chemical-free, organic clothes for your little ones.
Gone are the days when parents were thrifty and chose to recycle an older kid’s clothes for the younger one. Today’s parents have their finger on the pulse of the latest trends and like dressing up their kids accordingly. There is also a huge convergence with global trends with gender-specific colours and patterns.
Another big trend that designers are seeing today is a ‘mini-me’ version. Parents like to deck up their kids in matching dresses when stepping out for an occasion. From theme-based garments such as cupcakes ethnic salwar kameez and matching suits with pocket squares, nothing is off limits when it comes to kids’ fashion.