Children’s Wear Makers Favor Wholesome Messages

Designers showing at WWD Magic focus on positive influences.

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Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD MAGIC issue 08/11/2008

The bohemian look is evolving, and a year from now in girls’ and toddlers’ fashions, the trend takes a multiethnic turn inspired by patterns and adornments seen in Africa, the Middle East, India, Mexico and elsewhere that are beaded, patched, embroidered, painted and sequined.

This story first appeared in the August 11, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.


“We’ve gone through trends that follow individual countries like India and Morocco. For spring and summer next year it’s all about having just an ethnic vibe,” said Lily Berelovich, president and chief executive officer of trend forecaster Fashion Snoops. “It’s rich paisleys and mosaics; bright flowers that work against browns, taupes and neutrals, and very rich applications of embroideries and beading. We call it eclectic ethnic.”


The ethnic look will be seen in longer smock tops, tunics, denim vests and jackets, lighter vintage denim washes and ripped and torn jeans. This boho look also uses “unusual fabric combinations with knits and wovens,” said Jamie Ross, a creative director and trend forecaster with The Doneger Group, noting the creative use of tie-dye as well. “A dress might have a knit body with some woven printed fabric trim, or a woven body and knit sleeves.”


At the same time, a more traditional feminine trend for the season adds crinoline and tulle petticoats to lilac, coral, seafoam green, lemon and aqua dresses and skirts, or ruffles on sleeves, yokes or hemlines, Ross said. In addition,
ruffled plackets and flounces are part of a girly French-country look using sheer blue and white fabric. “You’ll see things like a toile-print pant and white painter’s smock top,” Ross said.


Classic sailor-girl silhouettes are also getting a twist for next spring and summer, with designers using bright green, yellow orange and blue, combined with star, dot and stripe prints, Ross said. Likewise, a British colonial safari theme with epaulets and pockets is being tricked out with bright-colored accents like cobalt blue and orange zippers.


Wholesomeness is another overriding theme for girls’ fashions for next spring-summer, Berelovich said. It’s a broad trend that’s tied to consumer interest in preserving the environment and focusing on positive influences for children. Wholesomeness in kids’ fashion can be as simple as animal, leaf and tree prints or the liberal use of the color green, or in vintage-inspired sheer fabrics in dusty blue, mint green and gray. In licensed fashion, wholesomeness translates to characters that resemble real-life kids instead of pixies or aggressive action figures. “The trend is about connecting with what’s important to consumers,” Berelovich said.


Dresses for girls are also slated to continue to be dear to consumer hearts at New York vendor Simon International. “For the third year in a row we’re expecting a very strong dress year in 2009. It’s been a monster area for us,” said sales manager Shelly Willer.


Willer said dress styles for next spring-summer run the gamut from button-down shirtdresses to funky embellished and ruffled gypsy looks. “The styles cover really every conceivable look for the season, running from sweet to the funky,” Willer said, adding how “customers are buying styles across the board.” In addition, he said the styles of dresses being ordered are the same in urban and rural markets.

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