#CNILux: Generation Bambini – Why Now Is The Time To Invest In Childrenswear
It’s no secret that the childrenswear and mini-me momentum is picking up pace (hello Beyoncé and Blue Ivy), but the statistics that the sector grew in value from €122 billion in 2010 to €135 billion in 2015 and is currently worth 12 per cent of the global fashion market confirm it.
Delivering the figures today at the CNI Luxury Conference was Raffaello Napoleone, CEO of Pitti Immagine and chairman of the Yoox Net-A-Porter Group, who said that the sector was marching ahead at a steady pace (and also cheerfully admitted he had never given a seminar speech on childrenswear before).
“For years, childrenswear seemed to ignore every change and created the same thing… it was a crowded market with an eye for quality but not for fashion,” he explained. “Today, the market is made up of two kinds of camp: the first is childrenswear driven; then you have brands that make menswear and womenswear and distribute the childrenswear through their channels, so they usually mix up the distribution in their boutiques.”
That’s the way it works, but, according to Napoleone, to carry on in the same vein would be missing a big trick, as “all these vibrant markets are also where the new generation is looking for novelty and accessible prices, especially in e-commerce where it accounts for 16 per cent of global sales”.
So, what has changed? Napoleone believes that it’s because the child’s needs are no longer separate from what is happening in the family – instead the family’s choices are influenced by the child; the growing trend for parents and children wanting to wear the same is increasing; and due, in part, to the rise of the mummy and daddy bloggers. But it must – as is the theme of the conference – be mindful, said Napoleone.
“We have to teach the children ways of dealing with fashion in the right way – there is a need for guidance with children,” he advised. “They see many images and suggestions and it’s important to let them have a playful and ironic sense of fashion as now it’s very early in their lives that they start deciding what they want to buy.”
Napoleone already has a piece of the pie through e-Pitti, the digital arm of Pitti Immagine which provides a platform for many luxury childrenswear brands, and sees growth in accessories, beauty, travel (specifically Duty-Free), design, furnishings, tableware and bed linen, childcare, ecology and sustainability, toys and digital. His advice for others?
“With childrenswear you have a high turnover with basic goods – I suggest if you want to invest in fashion, don’t forget childrenswear as it is a huge opportunity.”