The Fashion Statement: Designer Kids Lines Boom
A week ago, I wrote about the hordes of celebrities with baby bumps on the red carpet during awards season. Well, designers must have been some kind of soothsayers, because several spent a good part of last year developing and launching children lines. Soon, they will no doubt see the fruits of their labor (sorry), as more and more of these privileged babies are born.
Jennifer Lopez's twins, Max and Emme, were the stars of Gucci's advertising campaign to publicize its designer munchkin wear (0 to 8 year-olds) which debuted late last year. Lopez said this week she only agreed to let her kids be photographed because it was for a good cause. Gucci pledged $1 million to UNICEF's Schools for Africa initiative.
Also just-launched is Stella McCartney's line for little guys and girls, 0 to 12 years old. McCartney has gone to great lengths to make the line accessible to mere mortals with a price point that hovers within $25 for a T-shirt to about $200 for a coat. That's not exactly bargain basement prices, but a lot more reasonable than many of her contemporaries.
Fendi and Paul Smith have also recently jumped into the fray with bibs and strollers (Fendi) to floral shirts and socks (Smith). So has Tommy Hilfiger and Carolina Herrera. Even indie designer Preen has plans for a "mini-Preen" line.
Designers are also beefing up existing childrenswear lines by adding fun products and activities. A year ago, Ralph Lauren launched the RL Gang, an online storybook that recounts the stories of eight real children and their first day of school. You can click to buy the pieces worn by the children in the story, kinda like a storybook-alogue.
Clearly, there's a big incentive for adult designers to get into the childrenswear business. The rush can be explained because it was one of the few areas that experienced growth during the economic downturn. Apparently, some people feel much less guilty buying designer duds for their kids than for themselves. But don't kids grow out of clothes in a minute? And wouldn't it be smarter to invest in a pair of Prada shoes that you can wear for the rest of your life?
Clearly, there's a more emotional motivation here. You want the best for your kids. It's proved lucrative for Marc Jacobs, Jean Paul Gaultier and Dolce & Gabbana. And, with the latest wave Hollywood baby fever, things will only get better.