The apple never falls far from the tree

The combination of social media, celebrity and a growing demand for childrenswear is fuelling the rise of mini-me kids’ fashion. Luxury brands are introducing kidswear collections that echo the latest designs for grown-ups, and creating a new growth opportunity for designer and streetwear brands in Asia and beyond.

Mini-me fashion for kids has been growing since 2017 in China, with celebrities like Du Jiang and Huo Siyan dressing their child Du Yuqi in Baby Dior pieces that are miniature versions of catwalk designs, or Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé dressing their eldest daughters in scaled-down versions of their Vetements and Gucci outfits.

Many luxury brands have offered childrenswear lines for years, but more recently, those collections have been less about creating refined childlike designs and more focused on reflecting the style of adults. Kidswear is even getting elevated to the catwalk, with Jean Paul Gaultier and Dolce & Gabanna including adult and child models wearing maxi and mini versions of the same look.

For millennial parents in particular, high-quality kids’ products are key, helping to make luxury for little ones more appealing. But that’s not the only factor driving the mini-me trend. Indeed, as with many trends now, social media has a role to play, encouraging parents to dress their kids in miniature versions of designer clothing and thereby create the perfect image of a cute family. Add to this the influence of WeChat groups and “mommy bloggers”, and there’s the perfect combination of trend drivers.

An industry worth over US$6bn

Childrenswear is growing at a faster rate than men’s and women’s clothing. According to Euromonitor, the global market for luxury childrenswear hit US$6.6 billion in 2018. Asia-Pacific accounts for about 18% of the luxury childrenswear market (US$1.2bn), with growth doubling between 2017 and 2018. Edited reports that the market share of luxury kidswear has grown from 4% in 2016 to 11% in 2018. It’s becoming a more significant part of luxury brands’ offering, with Burberry reporting that childrenswear contributed £120m in sales in 2018.

Mini-me works well for brands with a bright and colourful aesthetic – like Dolce & Gabanna and Gucci – and the pieces tend to be classic, easy to wear pieces like sportswear and sundresses. Brands with a feminine aesthetic, such as Chloe, are also proving popular with pretty dresses for mother and daughter.

Mini versions of heavily branded pieces and iconic items like those from Burberry, Balenciaga and Givenchy transform little ones into status symbols. Meanwhile, edgy brands like Acne Studios, BAPE and Comme Des Garcons Play are proving popular with kids and parents alike.

What it means for the luxury industry

Childrenswear is becoming a sales driver for multi-brand retailers, both in-store and online. When London department store Fenwick opened its Mini Edit pop-up shop, footfall to the floor increased by +15%. Farfetch has increased its slate of kids brands from 40 to over 200 designer and streetwear labels, while the introduction of kids’ lines to one I.T Hong Kong store was such a hit that the retailer is rolling out more childrenswear across its portfolio.

As the trend has spread quickly across global social media channels, it could easily reach saturation soon. But retailers can draw in mini-me families via creative merchandising in store, and cute parent-and-child styling on social media. And while the trend for mini-me childrenswear may not last forever, data confirms that the market for luxury childrenswear, especially in China, is only set to grow, making it a more important part of the product mix for retailers and brands.


Image source: Autumn/winter 2017 runway show by Elisabetta Franchi