What the little emperor wants, the little emperor gets
9 January 2017
Author: Anton Dell
Although a risky business for luxury brands in the past, children’s apparel has surpassed its previous front-runners - menswear and womenswear - for the top spot.
Used to describe Chinese households who spend heavily on their children, ‘ Little Emperor syndrome’ is incredibly relative to todays spending habits. Parents are actively spending more and more on garments for their little darlings.There are a number of reasons for this sudden change in spending habits, what with online stores and shopping apps for your smartphone, things are far more accessible to the consumer. Not only are the kids of today tech savvy, but also inherit a heightened awareness of fashion and trends, shaping parental buying decisions.
Popular social media apps, such as Instagram also weigh a heavy influence in millennial children. With children joining social media at an earlier ageand parents creating Instagram accounts for their kiddiewinks, the trend in children’ s apparel is quickly expanding. Kids today, more than ever before, are exposed to the media from early age; they demand a say in their styling, as well as may desire to dress like their favourite celebrity. Today, children are more interested in dressing like their favourite stars and new-age childrenswear reflects this. High-profile kids in covetable trends are prominently splurged on the covers of magazines and increasing engagement for target markets. Burberry in particular saw a surge in engagement when it posted a campaign image including a youngBeckham. Amazon UK also saw a roaring uptake in sales when toddler Prince George was spotted wearing blue Crocs’.
No stranger to children’s apparel, Dior released its first kids line in 1967 and was unaccompanied in the market as childrenswear, at the time, was solely distributed by licensed kids brands like Disney. Now, with changing consumer behaviours, luxury brands are following suit and releasing their own versions of childrenswear. Burberry played into the ‘ mini-me’ desire and released children’s versions of its trench coats, checked scarves and lace dresses from its main collections. Diversifying their portfolio from simply licensed apparel to a direct operation, Burberry generated £91 million at the close of 2015. High-end brands Tom Ford and Balmain also sought the opportunity to create expand into kidswear and designed garments for the more ‘brand-conscious’ generation.
Successfully launching its childrenswear sector in early 2016, popular e-commerce site Farfetch has since seen growing numbers in kids apparel as ‘add-on’ items. Candice Fragis, Buying & Merchandising Director, Farfetch says, “We’ve seen that kidswear has been an add-on to a lot of the purchasing that’s done by both men and women”. She continues, “What we see trending is less about practicality and more about replicas of what is being sold for adults — the little Moncler jackets, the D&G swimsuits.” Much like the socks market, more and more parents are purchasing children’s clothes in addition to their own purchases. As a result, brands are now producing mini versions of adult-wear, allowing parents to dress their kids like mini versions of themselves; in the hopes of gaging interest from a younger age and creating long-lasting relationships.
The new and keen interest in children’ s apparel is an opportune moment for menswear and womenswear brands to diversify their portfolios and make the transition into children apparel. Join the ‘mini-me’ cult.