Across the retail sector, one category that is on a steep climb is children’s wear, with its growth far exceeding that of ladies and menswear. Fashion trends for 2017 include social media and young celeb influence. Kids wear, fashion Kids wear, Kids wear manufacturer, Kids wear importer Q2 Textilvertrieb. At Germany Frankfurt, doing business all over Europe from past 2 decade.
Charl Cronje, MD of Ackermans believes that the days of children wearing ‘hand-me-downs’ or ill-fitting clothing are gone, with the company’s research revealing that even in a tough economic climate, parents are spending and retailers are soaring, as a result of an increased emphasis on value-buying.
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Technavio, an international market research company, forecasts the sector’s growth to be more than 6% by 2020. This percentage far surpasses the anticipated growth in the women and men’s wear sectors for the same period.
This boom appears to be in stark contrast with the overall clothing sector’s performance, especially locally. South African consumers are cash-strapped, as was evidenced by the retail industry’s results from the last fiscal; with most local retailers reporting tiny or even negative like-for-like growth margins – a cumulative result of a struggling global economy.
“Despite Ackermans being one of the few retailers to report positive like-for-like numbers over the past five years, the slow-down is due to macro-environmental factors. The drop in the rand’s value, climate change, political uncertainty and the rising cost of inflation has impacted consumers across the board.
“There is a greater focus on value. Many of our customers are looking for added value at a good price – for example, a two-pack of good quality school shirts for a few rands more than that of a single. There is an emphasis on getting more for less.”
Social platforms boost global fashion trends
Boosted by the infiltration of fashion into children’s clothing, this category is consistently outperforming other lines.
“The advent of technology and rise of social media have also been huge contributors to this growth, specifically in the pre-teen category. Thanks to social platforms such as Instagram and technology such as smartphones, satellite TV and tablets, children now have immediate access to international trends. This has led to an increasingly discerning and style conscious young customer, with the ‘pester power’ to sway their parents’ purchasing decisions.
“To take advantage of the category growth, retailers need to be customer-centric and adaptable. If a line of kids’ jackets sold well last year, do not assume a similar style will do well this year. Do not repeat a formula simply because it was successful in the past. The macro environment is in a constant state of flux and children’s desires – and the circumstances of their parents or guardians – are dynamic. Make sure your business is attuned to this.
“It is integral to pay attention to and constantly re-assess customers’ needs, innovate and adapt accordingly, and then deliver well – and consistently – on your brand proposition,” Cronje concludes.
Global design executive at Ackermans, Sam Jones, outlines a few of the fashion trends for 217 in children’s’ clothing.
Simplified styling, intricate detail: While kids are veering away from fussy, complex styles, they are focused on detail; embroidery, lace and even holograms are set to be big news in 2017. “Children’s fascination with social platforms that utilise augmented reality – such as Snapchat – will also influence design. I anticipate Snapchat’s quirky filters popping up on T-shirts and hoodies,” predicts Jones.
Mini-me: Kids are drawing style inspiration from celebrities – and closer to home – mom and dad. “We saw this trend a few years ago and it has been making a comeback in 2017. Kids want to wear the same styles as mom and dad and there is a demand for kid-friendly replicas of what they see their parents wearing. An example is a woman wearing a maxi dress, with her daughter emulating her in a three-quarter version, appropriate for her age.”
Twinning: Siblings are increasingly opting to wear matching or complementary outfits. Establishing their identity is important to kids, but in 2017, children are finding comfort in choosing to express themselves with their siblings as a unit.
Active wear: Children love active wear as it is both fashionable and functional, and even more so in 2017 as they see the ‘athleisure’ trend become more popular with adults.
Rise of the young influencer: Greater access to social media means that children’s fashion is inspired by that of social media influencers and celebs. It makes sense that we are starting to see the rise of the young influencer. Willow and Jaden, the offspring of Will and Jada, are just two up-and-coming stylistas that influence the pre-teen market especially.
This has also led to young consumers aspiring to pursue a future career in fashion; something that is encouraged and nurtured through fashion design competitions aimed at children, such as the Ackermans Style Squad.