10 September, 2010
Kiddylicious! Casual is cool
Cool and casual! Like parents, even kids want to look their best on various occasions. And they have ample of options because these days many brands have come out with an array of styles specially designed for kids. Kidswear manufacturers are offering a range of colourful and fun clothing for children from the age group of 2-14 years. Trendy casual apparel is being designed to suit each age group’s needs like spaghetti tops, crystal studded denims with Italian cuts, capris etc; kids fashion is a diminutive version of adult wear. Tiny Baby offers a wide range of skirts, leggings and tops specially designed for girls which makes them known brand in the western or casual wear segment. Similarly, other brands like Lilliput, Li’l Tomatoes, Catmoss, Kids’have launched various designs for both boys and girls.
Children have become independent buyers and with the increase of dispodable income of their parents and influence of retail blitz and media glitz, casual kids wear has created a huge market for itself in the recent times. “Parents want to provide the best quality and good brands for their children. They do not want to compromise on anything, especially clothes. This is because most parents believe that good clothes reflect good personality,” observes Dheeraj Chhadva from Tiny Baby. According to a survey the average annual expenditure on kidswear is approximately Rs. 3, 857.
Media exposure and product promotions influence the fashion choices in the kids apparel section. With the kidswear segment of readymade apparel increasing and growing significantly each year, garment makers are ensuring that they are ready with a choice of practical and trendy kidswear to suit each season. Usually demand for casual wear rises in summers. Highest sales figures are usually recorded during the months of July – September. Kids have a lot of time to play around in their vacations during summers. They travel more with their families, are not in their uniforms the major part of the day and tend to change dresses often to beat the heat and humidity. So, invariably they need more causal wear to look hip and happening around that time.
A kids casual wear will ususally be in fabrics like cotton, denim or hosiery so that it is comfortable and flexible. For children’s wear, cotton is the most preferred material due to its non-allergic, comfortable, and easy caring virtues. But it faces competition with other synthetic ones like Lycra and stretchable light denim which are preferred for its washability, and non-creasing abilities. Children prefer exclusive designs and prefer to wear fashionable but comfortable clothing. Dhiraj Chhadva of Tiny baby states, “We source our fabric from Mumbai-based traders and produce around 700-800 garment pieces every day. Our working module is largely manual as it is easier to apply computerized/digitized methods to mass production rather than to exclusive designs that we make.”
The on-going trends in the casual wear for guys are sports theme based t-shirts, IPL team specific merchandise, FIFA team specific merchandise along with shorts, long baggy shorts or Bermudas, T-shirts in various styles. Girls have a wide range of options including dresses, skirts, shorts, tops, t-shirts, pants, leggings, jeans and capris with a range of styles. Catmoss offers bell shaped dresses and t-shirts in various sleeve length and different neck styles. Spark offers balloon skirts and hosiery leggings. It has also created a range that enables children to mix and match clothes so that with a little bit of creativity several combinations of skirts and tops or t-shirts and shorts can be created to achieve a different look each time.
Use of cartoon characters in kid’s casual garments or ‘Character inspired merchandising’ is one of the hottest market trends. Mickey Mouse, Barbie, Powerpuff girls, Spiderman, Superman etc. have all found their way into the casual kidswear market and are currently selling like hot cakes. Style statement for most of the girls includes dressing up with matching accessories, where everything from dress, bag, and hair clip is color, and design is coordinated. Some retailers and department stores have taken the lead in creating an in-store arrangement of kids oriented promotions like ‘Back to School’ promotion by Lifestyle. A few have pooled in famous child stars to promote their brand, like OYO by Spykar has made‘Darsheel Safari’ from ‘Tare Zameen par’ fame the face for their brand. Kids want to emulate these child stars and tend to buy merchandise promoted by them.
Many manufactures of kid’s casual apparel came up with their own brands like ‘Tiny baby’ while others entered into business through joint ventures like Pantaloons which entered into a joint venture with the brands Giny & Jony, Liliput, Zapp by Raymonds, United Colors from Beneton and Ruff Kids by DS Corporation to promote casual kids wear in India and are among the pioneers in the kid’s fashions in India. ‘Lifestyle’ joint ventured with ‘Barbie’ to promote their merchandise. Many Large Format Stores (LFS) like Shoppers stop, Pantaloons and Lifestyle have contributed towards building a market for kids wear by stocking a wider range of merchandise. Generally stores that offer a wide range of selection at discounts and low prices attract more customers. The kids casual wear is priced anywhere between Rs 400 to Rs 1400. (by diffrent brands).
International branded kids apparel market is in nascent stage in India with a handful of international brands like Zara , M&S etc who have barged into the market not so long ago. But they are not much popular because of their pricing structure. International brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Freelook Junior, Lee Kids, Adams kids, Benetton and Pepe are making efforts to capture a slice of the market in India but customers are not too convinced with these brands as they are getting the same quality of kids casual wear at a lower price from the Indian brands. Indian brands are giving them tough competion in lie of to styling and pricing. Lilliput, Li’l Tomatoes, Catmoss, Kids’ Studio, Tiny baby, Little Kangaroo and Mother’s Touch are a few other brands being retailed by Large Format Stores like Shoppers’ Stop, Big Bazaar, Westside, Ebony and Globus which are in the lead. According to industry estimates, the organised kidswear market in India is around Rs 4,000 crore and it is growing at 20-30%. According to the India Apparel Report, 2008 (Images Year Book, Vol IV), the size of kidswear market is estimated to be at Rs. 30, 510 crore which will further grow to reach Rs. 45, 000 crore by 2013. Casual kids apparel market comprises about 60% of the total kidswear market.
The future of the casual kids apparel in India looks very promising. According to report analyzing the trends in the kids wear sector, the markets all over the world are growing at 6-7% annually and is expected to reach US$131.5bn by 2012. There are key Indian manufacturers like Lilliput, Koutons etc who have already estabalished themselves in the International market. When the over all growth, profitability and recognition of the kids wear apparel industry in India is on a rise, we are bound to receive our share in the kids casual wear by means of quality and consistency and that too at a competitive price.