GUCCI, Burberry, Missoni, our small but perfectly formed progeny are getting increasingly luxurious tastes. Or, more to the point, we are on their behalf. Luxury designer clothing, gadgets and home wears for children are booming as parents – even throughout a recession – lavish increasing amounts on their little darlings.
According to the Datamonitor Group, a consumer research company, children’s wear in Europe is outperforming all other markets.
“We’ve experienced a significant growth in designer children’s wear over the last few years,” says Torly Grimshawe, Children’s merchandise manager at Harrods. It’s a similar story at online designer kid’s retailer Alex and Alexa. “We’ve grown 100 per cent every year since launching in 2007,” says CEO Alex Theophanous. “It’s a lifestyle statement.”
“New parents are very trend aware and dress their offspring as a ‘mini me’, to reflect their own style,” explains Lynn Crook, children’s buyer at Selfridges, where children’s wear and accessories is also being ramped up. “Customers are influenced by how celebrities dress their children. Also, children themselves through media streams such as TV, and magazines are keen to dress like their idols.”
It helps that today, every designer label worth their salt is launching children’s wear. Stella McCartney (following her hip children’s designs for Gap) launched her own kids line this year. Versace is set to launch children’s wear next year; Lanvin, the impossibly chic label designed by Alber Elbaz, is introducing children’s designs. They follow Gucci, Dior, Paul Smith (right) and Marc Jacobs.
Then there’s the accessories. Harrods just introduced a raft of new covetable brands to its children department including a glam £880 limited-edition Missoni Bugaboo pram (complete with matching knit blanket); luxury baby skincare products by Beginning, and hip baby bags from Pink Lining. They’re also stocking the 50th Anniversary limited edition Babybjörn, made with corduroy and floral fabric from its archives.
The trend has also transformed the way luxury children’s products are marketed. Forget cutesy pictures taken in studios, Burberry’s children’s campaigns are shot by Mario Testino. Gucci’s features Jennifer Lopez. Meanwhile, Alex and Alexa’s looks like a sophisticated glossy fashion magazine. What will your child be wearing this season?