Today the value of the luxury goods market is nearing almost $300 billion, and it looks like the sudden rise of childrenswear is about to make up a significant portion of that revenue. Designer lines for kids and babes have long been available, but in recent years the attention to celebrity children and the growth of social media has created an unprecedented demand for these adorable garments. This new popularity of childrenswear collections has drawn the attention of the industry, leading them to explore this untapped luxury market and launch a new sub-market aimed at these pint-sized shoppers.
A majority of major brands now have lines for kids, teens and tots, and while most of these lines are small in terms of impact and revenue, they become an important marketing tool as way to capture brand loyalty from potential customers at an early age. Buying clothing for a special occasion has a lasting memory on both parent and child. Kids express themselves through their clothing, wanting to dress themselves in bold colors, mismatched ensembles or pieces they’ve found in their parents closets. “So many little girls aspire to dress like their mothers, sisters and role models,” Michelle Smith, founder and head designer of Milly, toldGlossy. “This collection allows them to do that.” Do you remember your favorite outfit when you were a kid? Brands are betting big that these memories and coming-of-age moments will translate into sales in the long term.
Kids are now appearing on the runway next to models, starring in campaigns with major celebs and making up a significant amount of content on social media, but this isn’t translating into big numbers—yet. Burberry’s childrens line made up only three percent of their total offering, translating into £78 million (about USD $112.6 million) of the company’s £2.5 billion (about USD $4.2 billion) revenue. But for brands it’s not just about selling tiny shoes and baby-sized caps, they’re hoping to create heirloom pieces that become a part of the family.
The popularity of childrenswear also gives brands insights into future generations of shoppers. With the growing participation of children at fashion shows and family-friendly events, kids are growing up within the industry, giving brands a snapshot of the future of fashion while also adding a unique and adorable angle that brings in new customers.