A day out in South Bombay invariably involves much ooh-ing and aah-ing over kids’ fashions that put most adults to shame. Gone are the times when Weekender Kids seemed like the pinnacle of tiny tot dressing in India. With kidswear brands popping up all over the place, the segment seems to be the current big thing in the apparel business.
A file photo of India Kids Fashion Week
Nirupama Mukherjee, a Mumbai-based designer who previously worked at the popular brand Gini & Jony, says: “It costs less to run a kidswear label. It takes less time and less fabric and the costs are significantly lower because you have to use usually cotton when it comes to daily wear for kids. For womenswear on the other hand, the costs are usually multiplied by 3.5 to get a retail price. Also when you starting out, kidswear is also a great place to begin because there is less competition.”
This certainly holds true for Baccha Party, a brand run by cousins Renuka Jalan and Sohaya Misra. Misra, a freelance stylist who goes by the name Chola, started out by designing clothes and accessories for a cousin’s baby in her at-home workshop. She started with an adult line but the kidswear line is what really took off. The cousins design for one to seven year-olds and create clothes that retail at prices from Rs 800 to Rs 3500, from stores like OKA and Sobo in Mumbai and at exhibitions where their tiny kurtas stand out.
A file photo of India Kids Fashion Week with Tisca Chopra in the limelight
“Kids are so aware of what they want these days so we do a lot of custom orders,” says Misra, “We recently did an exhibition in Dubai where a girl requested a maxi dress, so we did a really colourful maxi dress for her and ended up replicating it for a store there.” Next up, the cousins are looking for a commercial space in Bandra, Mumbai to set up their standalone store.
Aneeth Arora of Péro has had a kidswear line called Chota Péro for which retails from Le Mill and Mal in Mumbai. “I use only natural and pure fabrics - fine khadis and traditional textiles that are very appropriate for kidswear,” says Arora. She uses the same textiles that she develops for her womenswear collection, but is able to play more with contrast and have more fun with the children’s line. Aimed at ages from 6 months to 16 years, the collection also retails from stores in Europe, the United Kingdom, the US and Japan.
“The USP of Aneeth’s collection is the attention to detail. Each piece reflects the thought that goes into it,” says Minoti Sampat, founder of Mal, a Mumbai-based children’s store that has seen much action in the year of its launch. The store also stocks pint-sized jewellery by Riddhika Jesrani. Named “Little Miss Sparkles”, Jesrani’s line is full of fun and colourful bracelets and necklaces that retail at from Rs 1,200 onwards.
“No price is unreasonable when it comes to kidswear,” says Mukherjee. “There are large number of Hollywood and Bollywood celebrity toddlers in the public eye at the moment and in India there’s never any shortage of weddings and social functions for your child to shine at.”
From the brand Kidology
Neha Mittal of Kidology founded the brand with partners Ankur Mittal and Karina Rajpal keeping precisely this in mind. The two Mittals lived in London and were constantly besieged by married friends to bring home cute togs for their little darlings. “We received requests for everything from Burberry and Armani Junior to Baby GAP and H&M, and we realized that there’s a huge gap in the market here. There’s plenty of daily wear but occassionwear still requires a trip to a tailor or local boutique. We really wanted to work with the local talent pool,” says Neha Mittal.
The brand features specially designed collections by designers like Malini Ramani, Gaurav Gupta and Gauri & Nainika, with each designer producing between six to 20 pieces each season. Kidology stocks clothing for ages 0-10, but customization is popular for the pre-teen group, whose parents are often stumped for clothing suggestions.