By Neha and Dipe Rajani, Founders of Sonality
The babies and childrenswear market is changing fast, with new and young mums more interested in what their children wear, and where it comes from, than ever before. Social Media and awareness of the environment are driving many of these changes. So what are the trends we should be looking out for?
For a while now, personalised clothing has been making its way to the forefront of kid’s fashion. Being able to add a unique touch to your clothes really helps you stand out and express your individuality. High street brands like Gap, Next and Mothercare are now offering personalisation options. They’ve come up with custom woven clothing labels that might seem a little gaudy but do not fail to attract the attention of a curious eye. Alongside these old favourites, new innovative, younger brands are appearing which take personalisation to a new level. For example, Sonality allows total personalisation/customisation for babies and children – from the colour, text, images, print type, etc. You can design your item from scratch or choose from their inspiration page and adapt the design as you wish.
- Non Gender Clothing
Anyone who shops for kids clothing will know what awaits them in many high street stores. Pink and purple clothes with unicorn and fairies for girls and dinosaurs, trucks and spaceships in green and blue for boys. However, times are changing. Girls like dinosaurs and there’s no reason why boys cannot wear pink and this is gradually being reflected in the clothes that are available. A baseball cap manufacturer professes that he gets equal number of requests for baseball caps from all the genders. In 2017, John Lewis became the first retailer to ditch the ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ labels from its children’s clothing range and Clarks announced that’s its 2018 range will be designed with an ‘entirely unisex approach’. There are now also many online retailers such as Little Bird and Mini Rodini who are also offering fun, unisex kids wear.
- Sustainable Fashion
The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world and as a result children’s clothing is seeing a shift towards sustainability. Sustainability is considered as reducing the environmental impact of the production process and ensuring ethical guidelines are in place when it come to safe working practices in factories and fair wages. H&M has vowed that it will use 100% recycled or sustainably sourced materials by 2030, as well as eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from its production process by 2040. Currently its ‘Conscious Kids’ collection is leading the way. This collection is made from sustainable materials including ones that are recycled, organic or certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), so you can feel safe in the knowledge that your little one is wearing something that has been made with the environment in mind.
- Organic Clothing
Closely linked to sustainable fashion is Organic Clothing. New parents, parents-to-be and parents of young children, want their children to wear the safest and softest material to protect delicate newborn and young skin. For this reason, many brands use organic cotton produced without the use of pesticides or chemicals that can irritate skin or aggravate allergies. For example, 90% of Sonality’s range uses sustainable and certified organic clothing manufacturers to minimise the use of non-recyclable waste. All their manufacturers have the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) or Oeko-Tex certifications, which means no chemical pesticides or fertilisers can be used in production and farmers must work under safe conditions with an agreed minimum wage..
As the phrase goes ‘Twinning is Winning’ and this no longer applies to actual twins! Mums want their daughters to dress as ‘mini me’ and dads want coordination with their sons. For example, Next’s ‘Just Like Me’ collection coordinates looks for kids and grown-ups and Matalan’s ‘Mini Me’ range has adorable matching mini me outfits from T-shirts, Dresses, Suits and PJs. Mini-meLondon is an online kids clothing brand that aims to bring fun and style to dressing up, by offering matching outfits for adults and children.
- Moving Away from Fast Fashion
Fast Fashion is inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends. However, with people thinking more and more about sustainable fashion there is starting to be a shift away from fast fashion towards clothes that last and can be kept and used longer. For mums and dads sustainability means quality. It means buying long lasting, robust clothes for kids with the potential to be handed down to future siblings. With this in mind, brands are now incorporating features that allow garments to grow with little ones. For example, roll up hems and adjustable shoulder straps. In addition, MPs are considering a ‘fast fashion’ tax on synthetic materials in an attempt to crack down on the plastic pollution caused by large fashion houses and retailers.
These are just a few of the trends we’re already beginning to see in children’s clothing; and far from being a threat to the industry, these trends indicate just how strong and vibrant children’s clothing is in the UK, with opportunities for parents and their offspring to embrace individuality without costing the earth, and for new, innovative brands to enter the marketplace with unique products that speak to our changing clothing desires.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Neha and Dipe Rajani are the founders of Sonality, a personalised clothing brand for Babies, Kids and Adults. Sonality offers total personalisation allowing you to design items from scratch, or choose an existing design and personalise it as you wish. The concept is simple: top quality, ethically made clothes are combined with your design ideas and bought to life in the Sonality design studio. Every item from Sonality is as unique as you are.