While it’s true kids can’t wait to grow up, it’s also true that adults can’t wait for kids to look like grown-ups. Trends in kidswear have trickled down from adult apparel so that they bear more than a passing resemblance. “Children’s styles are following adult fashions, which is where the main influences in trends originate,” says Gina Watson, CEO of L.A. T. Sportswear (asi/65948), which carries its Rabbit Skins line of clothing for kids. “Products that capture that ‘mini-me’ characteristic are very popular for children right now. Not only do children like to dress like their adult counterparts, but adults also like to see their little ones dress like them.”
So it’s no surprise that just like with adults, the casual style of T-shirts is a big-time seller in the kidswear category. In the Precious Cargo line at SanMar (asi/84863), infant tees, toddler tees and infant 1x1 rib one-pieces are considered their most popular children’s items. The supplier recently updated the line to focus on coordination and fit.
“Everything in the Precious Cargo line is color coordinated. That means the colors in our tees match the colors in our fleece that also matches the colors in our bibs and so on,” says Stacie DuBois, merchandiser at SanMar. “We wanted to help our customers put together a truly matching set with these coordinating pieces.”
For The Greene Company (asi/58227), their Kiddy Kats line is all about imprintables. In addition to imprintables being a major market for infant and toddlers, 90% of their knit business comes from selling T-shirts. Infant zip hoodies also sell well, but “infant pullover hoods do not sell at all – probably because mothers do not want to struggle with pulling the hood over a baby’s head,” says Eydie Greene, president and owner at The Greene Company. “Toddler fleece pullover hoods do outsell toddler zip hoodies, as the imprintable space is larger.”
The slim and skinny fit styles that have become popular in recent years are also translating to children’s clothing. Dickies (asi/49675) is adding new slim and skinny styles in 2015 for their kids’ twill, denim, cargo and carpenter shorts. The clothing is made with lightweight and flexible fabrics with added cotton.
“Our kids’ line is also very versatile and can easily be worn to school and on the weekend. Kids are rough with their clothes, so parents are looking for quality fabrics that are also in style,” says Marie Johnson, kidswear general manager at Dickies.
For customer preference, softness matters, too. The Greene Company, for example, uses ringspun yarn in its children’s products. Top markets for kidswear include summer camps, back-to-school items, day care centers, hospitals and charity events. Plus, also think about the expanding health- care market as a growing sector – health insurance companies are trying to appeal to consumers of all ages as they ramp-up their marketing programs. As in many purchase decisions, kids can influence parents in the buying choices they make.