448 companies took part in Pitti Bimbo, a show dedicated to kidswear, held in Florence between 20 and 22 January. No fewer than 530 collections were presented with 188 labels, 36% of the total originating from abroad. These are numbers that testify to the potential of this segment. Just to give you an idea, the Italian junior clothing market, as at 1 January 2010, was made up of 8.478 million individuals aged between 0 and 14. Moreover, on the basis of the trends survey carried out by Sistema Moda Italia (SMI) with a sample of high sector companies, national and foreign orders in the portfolio for spring-summer should on average recover by +9.5%, compared to spring-summer 2010. This trend was also confirmed by the data provided during Kleine Fabriek, the professional children’s fashion showroom of Amsterdam, a particularly important appointment for the Dutch and Belgian markets attended by 280 labels and 40 footwear brands.
Coming back to Italy, according to the preliminary estimates of SMI, for junior fashion, which includes knitwear and fabrics for kids aged between 0-14 years, including underwear and accessories, 2010 will be a year of “transition”: turnover will be stable compared to 2009, with sales totalling 2.5 billion Euros.
Among the labels, especially in the high sector, which have decided to start up a line for younger kids in recent months, is Gucci (within the orbit of the French group Ppr), which over these last few days in Florence christened the first brand dedicated to children’s fashion with the new collection designed by Frida Giannini and partly produced by Altana S.p.A., a company from the Veneto Region that also produces the children’s collections Moncler, Pinko and Moschno, Dimensione Danza, Jacob Cohën and its own brand Amore. The other brands making their debut recently in this segment also include Fendi (owned by the French luxury colossus Lvmh) and Ermanno Scervino. The list of children’s clothing brands also includes Ice Iceberg, which presented its new clothes at Pitti with a concert parade at the Ronda hall at Fortezza da Basso, Miss Blumarine, Daniele Alessandrini, Harley Davidson, La Perla, Nolita Pocket and Roberto Cavalli, which licensed Simonetta, a company that also produces items for Fay Junior.
Leaving our borders, on the other hand, the new entries of the division include Brooks Brothers which last October launched the line kid Fleece, the British Hackett London and Custo Growing. The Spanish label just launched its first worldwide single brand in Barcelona. The autumn-winter 2011-12 line was presented at Pitti Bimbo, a show that remains an important international showcase dedicated to collections for younger kids. Whereas it is too soon to forecast the position of the Milan show White Kids, whose edition planned for this January (it would have been the third) was cancelled due to the crisis in the division no less. The crisis was averted, instead, by the organisers of the Florentine show who garnered the support of Italian buyers like Pupi Solari, Giò Moretti, and La Rinascente, as well as the British Harrods and Selfridges; the French Bon Marché and Galeries Lafayette; the Germans August Pfueller and Barbara Freres; the Americans Barney's, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks and Neiman Marcus, and the Spanish El Corte Inglés.
As can be seen from the list of buyers in this segment the department stores are very active. According to Sistema Moda Italia for a few seasons now the first middle-man is no longer independent retail (which has decreased further to a share of 26%), but the chain stores, which hold 41% of the consumer market. In terms of performance in the last winter season the chain stores resumed their growth (+2%).
From our correspondent in Milan
Photo: Miss Blumarine, A/W 2011/12