It's the first time after the closure of Market by Kleine Fabriek in 2017, that the Modefabriek fashion fair has returned to children's fashion. This year, the shift happened in collaboration with Drive Inn Junior, a company that has been around since 2018 and is operated by M-Agency and Hop Agenturen. Twenty children's fashion brands were displayed in a special hall, alongside a food truck and popcorn. FashionUnited was present at the event and spoke to various brand representatives about their expectations.
The fact that Modefabriek once again added children's fashion to the fair this year had not gone unnoticed. On entering the event, behind a curtain of coloured ribbons that visitors can cut to create their own colour palette for autumn/winter 2023, large white signs pointed to the Drive Inn Junior hall. It was about 11 o'clock when a number of good-natured brand representatives shared their expectations with each other over coffee and tea. One expected quite a bit of interest - especially from the curious who don't sell children's clothing - while the other expected to write orders for existing customers.
The fair's mature appearance creates an enthusiastic buzz
It didn’t take long for the first buyers to trickle in. Rellix Jeans became one of the first to write orders. Paul van Poppel, brand representative of the teenage fashion brand, said he was happy to be at Modefabriek. “It has a mature look and that fits exactly where the brand is now. A few weeks ago we took the first step towards menswear.” The stand mainly shows sweaters, hoodies and jeans in dark green, blue and bordeaux red tones. “Teenagers have their own will and don't like too much fuss, so it shouldn't be more than a small print on a sweater or hoodie,” said Van Poppel. The brand representative also noticed that retailers were making a 'safe choice'. “Retailers are particularly interested in items that they know will sell well. These are often items without large prints.” In addition, Van Poppel noticed that retailers were focusing on a high stock instead of broadening their range. “People don't act that crazy anymore. And don't blame them. It's a challenging time.”
Another fashion brand that also focused on the growing-teenager is Frankie & Liberty. The teen fashion brand for girls used to be at SundaySchool, but chose Modefabriek this year. “The mature identity of Modefabriek is in line with the brand. We also have a size 18 these days – a size for growing girls who have little curves but are shooting up,” said Marcus Rueb, marketing manager at Frankie & Liberty. Because Modefabriek mainly attracts retailers who buy women's and men's fashion, Rueb thought it would attract the attention of buyers who focus on young adults. He doubted whether orders would also be written. “I think we will mainly meet buyers with appointments, but who knows.”
Modefabriek reintroduces children's fashion: new and old brands
A new children's fashion brand that was exhibiting at a fair for the first time is Like Charlie: the sibling brand of Like Flo and Street Called Madison. “We couldn't manage to combine Like Flo and Street Called Madison. That's why a little brother had to come and that became Like Charlie," said Maarten Kokkeler of M-agency, which represents the brand. Like Charlie looks tougher due to various varsity jackets and chequered jackets in combination with sweaters and hoodies that are presented on the stand.
In the children's fashion domain you can also find fashion brands that have been at Modefabriek for years with their womenswear fashion brand, such as AI&KO (from women's fashion brand AAIKO) and Sofie Schnoor. Both brands mainly expected to attract the curious. And they did. Enthusiastic buzz could be heard throughout the corridors throughout the day from buyers who are not familiar with children's fashion.
This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.NL. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.