Today’s young generation is quite fashion conscious. In this era of technology, fashion touches all over the world. Everybody likes to wear such dress which looks is more suitable, which looks will be accepted, noticed by everyone at a party, or festive. With the change of the season or year, the current fashion is changing. This story covers the changing of fashion running across the world and depicts Bangladesh’s role in contributing to that.
Personality is emerged based on everyone’s taste and needs. From teenager to middle-aged even in aged, the variety of fashion is prevailing. So why will children stay away from this trend? Nowadays parents are very aware of their children’s dress selection. Young parents do not want to sacrifice their own aesthetic choices for the sake of dressing their children. They want them to look cool and keep them fresh. Parents always spend a good portion of the money for their children’s well getup. Therefore, kids wear is becoming a leading business venture for many designers.
Fabric fit and design
The baby wear market is highly fragmented with few brands dominating in the mass market. Although consumers prefer familiar brands, more importantly, they look for high quality and suitable design of sustainable clothes and shoes for their babies and children. Babywear should be simple, comfortable, safe, and easy to put on and take off and comparatively loose. The use of fabrics in different types of children’s wear is largely universal. Knitted fabrics are commonly used for casual wear. In the summer, cotton, gabardine, and sailcloth are often used for daytime wear while double knits, velveteen, and corduroys are good during cold weather. Fleece is increasingly popular for outerwear because it dries quickly and is easy to wash, although wool is still more preferred in some markets.
The diverse weather conditions in different markets- have an impact on the choice of fabrics. For example, in countries where the humidity is high, perspiration absorption garments will be in greater demand. Manufacturers should also be aware that the size and body shapes of babies and children in different countries can be quite different. This will affect their designs and supply of clothes and shoes in different sizes.
Bright colors such as pink, light blue and yellow are the traditional colors for baby wear. In mature markets, parents are usually fashion minded enough to accept the innovative use of colors and fancy patterns such as warm and cool color combinations in apparel for babies and children.
For all types of children’s clothing, materials should be non-flammable and non-irritating without harsh dyes or potentially harmful chemicals. It is also essential to pay attention to the accessories and small parts of the clothing. Dangling strings, tassels, and ribbons should be basically avoided as children may pull, tear and bite their clothes which can pose choking and strangulation hazards.
Kids wear industry overview
There is no doubt about how important the kids wear business is today. The kids wear fashion market is booming with time and is becoming one of the most profitable businesses in the global market. The global kids wear market ranked up sales of € 135.6 billion in 2015, up from € 122.1 billion in 2010, according to Bernadette Kissane, an analyst at Euromonitor International. In 2015, children’s wear sales grew 6%, while the men’s and women’s markets each grew 4%.
Euromonitor says the global market for children’s wear is estimated to reach a value of €162.7 billion by 2018.
Technavio’s market research predicts the global children’s wear market to grow at a CAGR of more than 6% by 2020. Factors such as the rise in high income and working women population and the growing purchasing power of the populace in developing countries will bolster the sale of children’s apparels during the forecast period. This increase in the sale of children’s apparels will lead to the sound growth of this market during the forecast period.
The European market is forecasted to accelerate its growth with an anticipated CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate: a measure of growth over multiple years) of 3.3% between 2013 and 2018, driving the market to a value of € 67 billion by the end of 2018.
On the other hand, in 2015, the Asia Pacific children’s wear market was topped € 44.1 billion and is projected to reach about € 65.1 billion by 2020. Brands such as Uniqlo, Adidas, Nike, Zara, Disney, Mothercare, ID Group, Burberry, Dior, H&M are among the top ten children’s wear brands for market share in the Asia Pacific.
Reasons for market outpacing
Currently, Europe and US are the largest consumers of children’s wear. In addition, the kids wear market in the Asia Pacific is expected to have a higher growth rate than the Europe and USA due to its booming middle classes with increasing disposable income and the rapid expansion of international brands launching their children’s wear lines in the region. Besides growth are quite noticeable for rest of the countries of different continents.
Sawpan Kumar Ghosh, Executive Director of S.M. Knitwears Ltd. (S.M. Group) said, “This sector is comparatively good. Big brands are looking at kids wear as a lucrative market segment. Because of having body growth, parents have to change their kid’s clothes every year. Besides, they prefer to buy their infants clothes before purchasing their own one. So, I think kids wear business will always be good.”
“In the past, children’s garments were purchased from local stores and neighborhood shops based on the convenience factor. Affluent people only bought branded clothing, however, this trend has evolved gradually into a market where branded clothing holds the topmost position. Along with it, shopping and purchasing methods are also going through extensive changes”, he added. S.M. Knitwears Ltd. is one of the Bangladeshi manufacturers producing kids wear for top global brands.
Below are the driving factors of an upward trend in the world kids wear market:
1. Double income nuclear families
The world is showing a rise in the nuclear family system with the mother and the father both earning. Such families display a higher spending power with respect to the household income. Furthermore, in such families, the focus is on meeting the demands of the little ones.
2. Kids involved in buying decisions
A decade back the kids never questioned the outfits bought for them by their parents and they were not trending conscious. The parents just focused on the comfort and functionality of the attires to help the kids enjoy an active life. These days even the younger kids are very vocal about their likes and dislikes and are equally involved in the buying decisions. The older kids are highly brand conscious and peer pressure pushes them towards high-end luxury brands.
3. Brand awareness
Due to the heavy usage of social media, the average county has become more aware of what celebrities and their kids are wearing this season. The constant update from fashion shows also keeps the world abreast of the latest designer creations. This awareness, therefore, affects the buying habit.
4. Recession proof
Research reports suggest that irrespective of a global economic slowdown, the children’s wear market remains strong. This can be attributed to the fact that kids’ birthdays are generally celebratory events for the whole family in the world, where children can expect to receive numerous gifts, some of which will be clothed. The constant need to buy kids wear due to the outgrow aspect may also be the driving force for buoyancy in the kids wear market.
Kids fashion stars
Children’s fashion also has a place on social media. Interestingly, social media and the influence of celebrity offspring have been playing increasingly vital roles in driving global kids wear sales over the last years. BoF reports said that social media influencers like Farouk James, a four-year-old children’s wear model whose Instagram account has totaled around 2,15,000 followers. Not only James if we scroll through Instagram’s ‘Discover’ feed and keep eye on the Coco’s account (@coco_pinkprincess), a seven-year-old from Tokyo, then we see that he is also connected with over 4,73,000 followers on Instagram and is regularly trussed up in wares from the likes of Gucci, Moschino, and Nike. Lil Kid Ivan (@thegoldenfly), son of the designer Natasha Zinko who made his street style debut at Paris Fashion Week earlier last year has also 34,300 fans on Instagram.
To find inspiration, Asian parents follow several fashion blogs on children’s wear. They also visit online forums in order to find out who is wearing what and where to get it. Online giants like Farfetch, Babyshop, Kidology or Childrensalon.com are playing in the massive pool of children’s wear and growing in double digits, both in terms of number of stores worldwide and also in terms of sales. Many are also offering rented clothing or personalized packs on a subscription basis.
Fashion fusion, Bangladeshi and global brands
Famous buyers like Disney, Zara, Pony, Uniqlo, Li & Fung, Mothercare have been working with children’s clothing for several decades. Their R&D and design teams are working on how to make new designs and clothing more comfortable. In addition, international buyers and some fashion houses in Bangladesh are working only on children’s clothing considering their needs since long days. “Vasavi” is such a fashion house in Bangladesh.
There are many types of collections for newborns to 14 years old children’s along with older in almost all types of fashion houses in Bangladesh including Nogordola, Sadakalo, Aarong, Bishwo Rang, Yellow, Sailor, Deshal, Prabartana, Smartex, Anjan’s, O2, KayKraft, Infinity etc. These fashion houses are full of check fotua, t-shirt, frock, shirt, various designed suits, coats, panjabi, lehenga, khadi wear, three-pcs, skirt, kurta, tops, jeans, handicraft etc. with different scale of prices.
Fahim Faisal, Merchandiser of IDKIDS told, “It is a positive sign that Bangladeshi kids wear is taking a vantage position on the world. Usually, the international business partners demand denim, t-shirts, and other wears but in recent times they are showing a keen interest in local baby wear due to its low-cost making as well as rich quality-effectiveness.”
“Besides, factories of the country are not yet rich in the designing sector. Most of the times, we make products according to the buyer’s provided design. However, there are plenty of opportunities for us to do well here. To grab this opportunity and make the efficient designer, there is a need to change the educational systems. We have to give emphasis on fruitful training”, he added.
Aspects of Bangladesh’s kids wear manufacturing
Bangladesh’s position in the direction of kids wear business is much better now than past. In the country, about 40% of children’s wear is being manufactured along with men’s & women’s wear. Buyers are targeting high-quality clothing purchase at a lower price from better factory environment. Seeing from that point of view, after Rana Plaza collapse or Tazreen Garments fire incident, Bangladesh’s working environment is much better than ever before, as well as the production efficiency is growing day by day & labor overhead cost is much lower than other countries. There are many green companies achieved LEED, OEKO-TEX, ACCORD etc certificates & many are in the pipeline. So buyers are feeling more enthusiastic to make children’s clothing from this country.
Uzzal Kumar Mondal, Sr. Merchandiser of Alim Knit BD Ltd (Mondol group) said, “Buyers like Zara, H&M, Okadi, Target, NKD are working on various varieties of kids items in many factories in the country. The amount of work done by each buyer has increased. In this case, only ‘Kaufland’ buyer has increased the work of kids wear items by around 30% compared to other countries. And the export of Bangladeshi products has increased at 12.5% (1.2 $ billion) as globally in 2016. Businesses are slowly turning to here from China, Vietnam or India.”
Sanjida Islam Tulee, Divisional Merchandising Manager of Marks & Spencer (M&S) told, “The global value of baby clothing exports increased by 9.7% in last year. Due to growing sustainability culture in Bangladesh, business is developing here not only baby garments but also men’s & women’s garments. In kids wear item, we have to have special invigilation on product safety. M&S is currently working in almost 30 factories in Bangladesh for making kids wear and the yearly turnover is better as expected than other countries. If global demand will continue to rise and the opportunities in Bangladesh remains good, then the number of these factories may increase further.”
According to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) research data, the export of baby garments marked a significant rise by 25% in the last five months of the previous fiscal year. By estimating we can say that, the kids wear business in Bangladesh will remain undoubtedly good in future.