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WWD MAGIC issue 07/16/2008

Children’s fashions for next fall are not as embellished as in recent seasons, although there are still well-placed embroidery or studs, as well as other details, like argyle updated with hearts or ruffled cuffs.

This story first appeared in the July 16, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“I’m still doing a lot of baby-doll styles, but they are more focused on the sleeve now. They are going to be longer, more puffy,” said Cindy Kieng, vice president of design with Cutie Patootie Clothing in Los Angeles.


“We still add cute stitching and embroidery on the back pocket of our denim, but it’s a cleaner look than a few years ago when we’d put rhinestones and studs all over,” Kieng said. She also has designed colored denim in jewel tones with a hint of gold or silver thread, which Cutie Patootie wholesales from $12.50 to $13.50.

Lilly Berelowitz, chief executive officer of Fashion Snoops, a New York forecasting service, said the “ripe” fall palette of jewel tones is expected to include occasional splashes of bold turquoise, yellow and bright pink. Berelowitz also sees colored denim in demand, with skinny silhouettes sharing the stage with wider leg styles. However, “skinny will continue, especially with these long tunic tops,” Berelowitz said.

At Oldsmar, Fla.-based Kangaroo Kids Clothing, leggings are paired with a wrap corduroy skirt with cargo back pockets. Tops have accents like patchwork patterns, unfinished seams, flared bell sleeves and simple embroidery around the necklines. Wholesale prices run from $14 to $18.

With color, Kangaroo Kids is taking the jewel tones down a notch by emphasizing tan, taupe, plum, gray, bone and black — a vintage palette inspired by what company designers have seen among retailers and vendors in London and Paris, according to company president Tony Di Domenico. The color scheme also helps in mixing and matching separates, he added, noting a trend toward retailers ordering kids’ separates instead of sets. However, buyers “still like a lot of coordination,” Di Domenico said.

Also lending itself to mixing and matching is a recast preppy look — a trend spotted in Europe among manufacturers, said Jamie Ross, a creative director at the Doneger Group. “It’s incredible. From the misses’ market all the way down to kids’. It’s very tongue-in-cheek preppy.”

Pleated skirts, jodhpurs, wide rugby stripes on shirts and dresses, piping and banding on blazers, riding jackets with elbow pads and crests that are of animals and characters, are some elements in the upcoming nouveau preppy look, Ross said, and “a lot of camel and brown with pinks and roses, lace insets and ruffles.”

Ross said eco-friendly clothing for kids will continue to grow in popularity, as will all shades of the color green, which are popping up in next fall-winter kids’ clothing color palettes. “Green signifies the whole eco-friendly movement.”

Purity is behind the creation of Los Angeles-based Kicky Pants, a new line of baby-to-toddler dresses, pants, shirts, pajamas and underwear made from bamboo textiles in pale jewel tones of pink, blue, light brown, spring grass and cream. Bamboo is a sustainable crop requiring no fertilizers. “The fabric drapes almost like silk, but it’s similar to cotton,” said designer Erin Cloke, who’s co-owner with her husband, Nick.

The bamboo textiles also allows Cloke to design form-fitting pajamas ($12 wholesale), which means they don’t have to be coated with fire retardant under federal sleepwear safety rules protecting against billowy pajamas from catching ablaze.

One trend that doesn’t seem to slow down is character licensing for apparel, particularly sleepwear. The characters don’t always have to come from Hollywood, either.

Canadian sleepwear company Jelli Fish Kids is marketing its Max and Ruby licensed kids’ sleepwear in the U.S., based on the popular Canadian children’s TV show that’s also seen on American cable programming. “Kids from 2 to 5 love to watch Max and Ruby,” said Henry Piasczyk, U.S. brand manager for Jelli Fish.

For fall, Jelli Fish is also launching its first U.S. kids’ licensed sleepwear line, Frankie and Johnny. For girls, the line is a collaboration with an established women’s sleepwear maker in Hopkins, Minn., by the same name. Jelli Fish’s Frankie and Johnny two-piece coat pajama sets wholesale for $12 to $15 in cow and moon, butterfly, rock ‘n’ roll and peace and love prints.

– Color palettes include warm jewel tones, like deep red, purple, plum and jade; print and stripe combinations, and anything green.
– Licensed character clothing remains popular with kids.
– Layered knit leggings or knit skirt, jacket and top sets trimmed in lace and fur.
– Look for nouveau hip-preppy styles, such as riding jackets with colorful piping and whimsical crests of animals and characters.
– Delicate embroidered accents on pants, necklines, cuffs. Patches on elbows.


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