Luxury

Only five years ago, the high-end children’s wear business was dominated by just a few major designers like Ralph Lauren, Burberry and Christian Dior. But the recent influx of others is the latest sign that affluent shoppers have gone back to splurging since the recession. And as the wealthy feel more comfortable about spending again, they increasingly want their kids to reflect themselves.
It’s a “mini-me” phenomenon, says Robert Burke, a New York-based fashion consultant. “It feels good. It’s like one for me and one for you,” he says. The trend isn’t limited to Manhattan or Beverly Hills, but is occurring in other big cities like Boston and Chicago, he says. Sales of designer children’s wear are also strong in resort areas where retirees who tend to dote on their grandkids live, he says.
Luxury children’s sales account for just a fraction, or just over 3%, of the $34 billion market, but it’s growing faster than the rest of the children’s wear and clothing market, according to NPD Group Inc., a research firm. For the past 12 months ended in May, children’s wear sales rose 4%, with the upscale component up 7%, according to NPD’s most recent data. That compares with a 3% rise for the overall clothing market.
Designers, seeking more growth, are now looking at children’s wear as another way to deepen their relationship with their customers as well as reach out to new ones.
The designers are targeting household incomes of at least $350,000, says Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry analyst. That’s about seven times the U.S. median household income of $49,445.
Many of the new designer entries are more expensive than some of the established brands like Ralph Lauren. Ralph Lauren’s cotton shirts for boys are priced about $59. In comparison, Dolce & Gabbana’s plaid shirts for boys run $190. Girl’s dresses are about $500.Nordstrom, whose designer kids clothes were limited to a few names like Burberry and Ralph Lauren, is adding a number of collections for kids from the likes of Marni, Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney.

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New lines

Neiman Marcus Group’s Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan recently expanded its children’s wear department by a third to devote more space to Gucci and the new lines like Oscar de la Renta. For fall, the prices range from $4 for hair bows to $5,200 for an exclusive Christian Dior silk party dress handmade in France.

“We’re definitely growing,” says Andrew Mandell, Bergdorf Goodman’s vice president and divisional merchandise manager of home and children’s wear. “This is a whole new realm. And when you have our customers so fashion forward, they eat this up.”Colleen Sherin, fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue, says both parents and grandparents are willing to spend on “unique, special” fashion items. “They’re just not looking for basics.”The bigger trend, however, is designers creating free-standing shops devoted to kids, says Faith Hope Consolo, who leads retail leasing and marketing at Prudential Douglas Elliman.Following in the footsteps of Gucci, Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani will be opening this fall its first U.S. store devoted to children in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Armani launched its children’s business in the U.S. in 2009.The Armani store, which targets newborns to teenagers, will feature items priced from $50 to $500, says Armani spokesman Christian Langbein.Some parents who are splurging say they also mix in shopping trips to Gap or other less-expensive stores, but see the designer duds as a confidence booster.”I really believe when she dresses like this, she feels better about herself,” added Sandler, who shops for pricey children’s clothes at Barneys New York as well as a New York women’s clothing store called Edit, which now has a designer children’s wear section.Manhattan resident Kelly Mallon, 39, says she’s proud that her 9-year-old daughter Madeleine has developed her own fashion sensibility.”I love seeing my child well-dressed. It makes me happy. It makes her happy,” says Mallon who outfits her daughter in accessories from Italian designer Missoni and tops from designer Milly’s year-old children’s line called Milly Minis. “It’s not a little girl playing dress up. She’s in her own clothes made for her.”

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Dating Site

YanikaBrides.com Dating Site Unveils Site Makeover.

Additional features added to enhance user experience.

YanikaDate today announced that its leading gay dating and personals site, YanikaBrides.com, has received a refreshing makeover that includes a faster and more efficient registration process, updated search pages and an innovative interactive video home page. With more than 8 million registrants since the site’s inception, OutPersonals.com has improved user experience by simplifying the user interface while adding additional features and options to help users find great matches quickly.YanikaBrides.com mission is to connect adult gay singles and couples looking for friendships, relationships and casual encounters which is now even easier thanks to the site’s face-lift.

“YanikaBrides.com continues to offer its unique online dating experience to a diverse group of members domestically and internationally – and each month we strive to make that experience better for our customers,” says Anthony Previte, Chief Executive Officer of YanikaDate.

YanikaBrides.com search and dating tools include interactive video home pages, 1×1 chat, member videos, flirts, bulletins, webcams, polls, advice and more with new features frequently being added. For more information, or to sign up, please visit www.YanikaBrides.com.

YanikaDate is an internet-based social networking and technology company operating several of the most heavily visited websites in the world, including YanikaBrides.com also distributes original pictorial and video content and engages in brand licensing.YanikaDate is listed on the NasdaqGM under the ticker symbol FFN.

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