Fashion, pint size

From Armani and Marc Jacobs to Masaba Gupta and Nachiket Barve, designers are trying their hand at kids fashion. It’s a big market for the small people

October 14, 2016 06:37 pm | Updated December 01, 2016 05:52 pm IST - Chennai

Masaba Gupta’s collection.

Masaba Gupta’s collection.

They might be little, but they still have big personalities and personal styles to express. So, what will it be for your little one this fashion season? Bespoke red sole flats by Christian Louboutin, Little Marc Jacobs, sailor stripes by Jean Paul Gaultier, Burberry trenchcoats or Fendi and Gucci exclusives?

When it comes to dressing kids in designer outfits, high flyers don’t exactly shy away from loosening purse strings. And, taking cue from the trend are Indian designers who are vying to plug the gap that’s often felt when it comes to kids fashion.

From several independent designers stepping in with exclusive kids collections to even A-list designers like Masaba Gupta, who has an exclusive line for children, and Nachiket Barve, who creates bespoke outfits for the little ones, there’s plenty to choose from in kids fashion.

Masaba launched her kids collection earlier this year in association with Magic Fairy from Kolkata. Her line features jumpsuits, crop tops, shorts and frocks, playsuits, and rompers in some of her signature prints. With her bright-coloured garments, Masaba’s got most occasions covered. One of the primary reasons for venturing into kids clothing, says Masaba, is the fact that there aren’t too many designers tapping the field. In soft cottons and muls, some with lace trimmings, the outfits are perfect for a casual birthday party or a weekend play date. “We’ve used easy-to-wear fabrics and the collection is very travel-friendly. The prints {the signature camera and candy prints} are also something that children can easily connect with. The price point too is economical, with the line starting at Rs. 950.”

Designer Nishita Toprani of Little Pixie likes to focus on both comfort and style when it comes to designing children’s clothing. “Comfort is incredibly crucial when designing for little ones. No matter how beautiful a dress is, if kids are not comfortable, they are not going to be happy. Striking a balance between comfort and design is often challenging, but that makes our work fun and interesting and has us constantly innovating and evolving,” she says.

In terms of trends this season, Nishita says unique colour and print combinations are ruling the roost. “Pastels with brights, prints with prints and bold with soft are trending. We love to use such combinations when designing clothes and give a refreshing twist to classic designs.” Little Pixie’s festive collection has a strong Western influence in terms of design, trimming, detail and colour, she adds.

“So, it is an East-meets-West fusion of designs. We have enjoyed using pretty candy colours, such as mint, lemon yellow, peachy pink and baby blue, among others.”

E-commerce websites that retail kids clothing too make it a point to ensure that they have not just the trendiest designs but also fabrics that are easy on the skin.

“It’s got to be conscious clothing as well. We cater to kids in the zero-to-eight years bracket and have several kids wear designers such as Frangipani, Love the World Today, Diya Mehta and Popsicle on board. We curate kids wear, which is unique in design and comfortable for children to carry off. In terms of trends, for casual wear, we are seeing more prints being used, as it delights children. For occasional or festive wear, the focus is on cut and colour,” says Vishakha Singh, founder and CEO of Red Polka.

Micro fashion does seem to figure on the A-listers scheme of things as well. For instance, some of designer Nachiket Barve’s youngest clients are aged two, and his designs could be anything from cute frocks to festive lehengas for them.

Internationally too, designers take children’s clothing rather seriously, with several top labels having dedicated lines for them. Take, for instance, Oscar de la Renta. Its signature aesthetic with vivid colours and sophistication has been downsized to child-appropriate materials and designs. The label chooses fabrics that are comfortable and breathe easily when designing for children between the ages of one and 14 years.

Often, these designers also create kids collections that are inspired from their adult lines. So, if you are looking to twin with your mini me, you have plenty of options to choose from. Like Mackage Mini. The collection boasts coats and jackets with removable fur that is inspired from its adult line. And then, there’s also Armani Junior, with its stylish line that has all the Armani signatures — from minimal colours to timeless designs.

But given that children outgrow or ruin clothes rather quickly, does it make sense to be investing heavily in kids clothing?

According to Nishita, designers like to ensure that there’s plenty of margin in their garments to ensure easy alterations. “We have a lot of mothers coming back to us a year (or even two years) later, telling us that the dress they once bought is now being worn as a top or tunic over a pair of leggings.”

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