Happening for the first time in conjunction with Pitti Uomo, the Pitti Bimbo children’s wear trade show is making a comeback from June 30 to July 2 with a revisited physical format. Instead of the usual 500-plus exhibitors, the fair will showcase the collections of 113 brands, 42 of them available exclusively online at this season’s Pitti Connect.
“This is going to be a kind of peculiar season, but we definitely wanted to be there. I think it was important to show the resilience of the sector and collaborate all together,” said Massimiliano Ferrari, cofounder and creative director of leading Italian swimwear company MC2 Saint Barth, which will showcase at the fair the collections of both its adult and children’s lines. “Since the beginning of our adventure, Pitti has helped us so much. It has been such a great supporter of emerging brands that we are so happy to contribute to its restart after the pandemic.”
MC2 Saint Barth operates 40 stores around the world, located in prestigious holiday destinations, spanning from the Caribbean island of St. Barth, which inspired the launch of the brand, Miami and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic to Mykonos, Ibiza and Capri, among others.
“For our company, the children’s wear division is the one that was less impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” Ferrari said. “First of all, kids grow fast and they constantly need new garments. Second thing, schools have been closed for long and many children spent more time at the beach with their families.”
In addition, Ferrari highlighted that children’s wear stores didn’t have to face the lockdown imposed on other retail categories.
However, according to data provided by Confindustria Moda, the association that groups more than 65,000 companies operating in the fashion sector, in 2020 sales of Italian children’s wear were down 14.7 percent to 2.6 billion euros, compared to the previous year. If exports dropped 13.7 percent, the domestic sell-out registered a 18.1 percent decrease. As happened across the whole industry, the online sales of the segment spiked 33.1 percent, a growth led by the newborn compartment, where online sales were up 97.3 percent compared to the previous year.
The newborn segment of the children’s wear industry is also driving the sector’s relaunch. In the first three months of 2021, exports of newborn garments and accessories returned to growth. The most encouraging signals come from the United Arab Emirates, where Italian exports of baby clothes increased 115.7 percent compared to the same period last year. Positive results were also registered in France, where exports grew almost 50 percent, as well as in Switzerland and German, where the growth rate was around 10 percent.
Fashion-wise, the collections presented at Pitti Bimbo will put the focus on a renewed desire for freedom, joy and a mix of style and practicality.
As Ferrari highlighted, vibrant colors will take center stage in the collections. “I think neon tones are making a strong comeback,” he said, adding that the “mini me” trend continues to rule the children’s wear industry.
As well as MC2 Saint Barth, Herno and Invicta will also present their kid’s wear collections, along with the adults’ range.
Bright tones will steal the spotlight in the Herno Kids range, which will present a reedition of its signature Igloo lightweight bomber jacket in a selection of neon colors, including lime green, hot pink and orange.
While MC2 Saint Barth will continue to propose its signature sweaters featuring intarsia of the name of the most popular holiday destinations, both Herno and Invicta will showcase sweatshirts, T-shirts and polo shirts embellished with logos in bright tones.
For those buyers who won’t be able to physically attend the trade show, Pitti Bimbo will host a series of digital initiatives. For example, live guided virtual tours of the fairs will be offered for both Korean and Japanese retailers, while the Pitti Bimbo social media accounts will offer an exclusive showcase of some of the key items included in the collections available at the fair. In fact, fashion designer and multifaceted creative Alessandro Enriquez will dress some of the most popular cartoons, including Barbie and Ken, but also Popeye, with the creations of the brands at the trade show. The digital content will be released throughout Pitti Bimbo.