By  on October 8, 2007

Baby CZ is aging beautifully.

The children's wear collection, based in New York, was founded by women's wear designer Carolina Zapf five years ago. The German-born Zapf was raised in a creative household — her father is renowned furniture designer Otto Zapf, while her mother is an avid collector of haute couture pieces from the Sixties and Seventies.

"I've always had a love for fashion," Zapf said. After designing women's wear for 12 years, Zapf took an interest in the children's market, partly because of her own expanding family, but mainly because she was ready to begin her own business. With regard to children's wear, "I thought it'd be a wonderful way to start. It's definitely a tough business," she admitted. "But this is a happy market, because it's all about the children."

The collection launched with an infant line for girls and boys in 2002. The line includes cotton and cashmere knitwear, as well as sportswear, dresses and accessories, such as blankets and hats. Since then, Zapf has slowly expanded the collection. "We're happy with the slow development of the line," she said. "We started with babies, and now the brand is literally growing with them into bigger sizes."

The line now includes girls' and boys' pieces up to 12 years of age. "It's important to me that kids look like kids," she emphasized. "Sure, their clothing is a representation of what their parents like, but children are young — their clothing should be playful, and they should like what they're wearing."

The brand also features a small assortment of select styles for women, including tunics, hoodies, cashmere V-necks and turtlenecks. "We're looking to do a small presentation for fall 2008, but for now the women's pieces are thought of more as a 'mommy & me' concept."

As for a full women's wear line, "I will branch back into a full line once we're ready to do it," Zapf said. "But it would always be inspired from the children's line."

In addition, the brand currently carries two apparel items for men: turtlenecks and cable-knit sweaters.The company declined to disclose annual revenues. Items in the collection, which range in wholesale price from $15 to $95, are sold at Barneys New York, Best & Co. at Bergdorf Goodman and in specialty boutiques internationally, as well as at babycz.com.

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