'Children now change clothes up to four times a day'

BENGALURU: Children used to wear only one set of clothes during the day at home, but now there are children who change clothes four times a day, says Alok Dubey, CEO of the lifestyle division of Arvind Fashion.

Now there is even the concept of a social wardrobe for children, he says, which essentially means that at each birthday party, for example, you wear a different dress. This is because if the photos of the party are shared on social networks, you will not want to see your children in the same dress twice.

Such trends, combined with the desire to display children in an attractive way on sites like Instagram and the need for children to show off the most popular cartoon or movie character images at any time, be it Avengers, Minions, Mowgli or Motu Patlu, have seen a demand for children. Clothes rise dramatically in recent years.

Children's clothing contributed about 24% of our overall sales five years ago, now it is 27%, says Sundeep Chugh, CEO and CEO for India of Benetton, a fashion brand that offers products for men, women and children .

The growth has been stronger for Arvind, which has four brands for children: The Children's Place, US Polo Kids, Tommy Hilfiger Kids and Gap Kids. These brands together contributed 15% to the top line, or about Rs 550 million, for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018, compared to only 7-8%, or Rs. four years.

Industry executives estimate that the children's clothing segment in India is growing 15-20% annually, compared with 11% for women's clothing and 8% for men's clothing (the men's category is the most evolved). Technopak research firm estimates that children's clothing is now a $ 8.3 billion market, and expects the growth rate to increase to 22% by 2023.

The children's fashion market remains largely disorganized. Children's clothing has been delivered primarily to families or purchased at neighborhood hosiery stores. But that is changing with double income and a higher available salary. Many parents are not willing to compromise the quality of the clothes their children wear. Price sensitivity is lower for children's brand clothing (compared to men's and women's brand clothing). We may not think twice before spending for children, but when shopping for you, it is a price comparison game, says Ankur Pahwa, Ernst's partner Young.

Both parents and children are also increasingly aware of children's fashion, which is also increasing the frequency of shopping. Only a few years ago, children's fashion was limited to some excessive seams on clothing or the addition of some decorative elements on the fabric. Now it is cleaner and cured, with more focus on the settings. Parents are aware of trends, do their own research and want their children to look good, says Dubey.

There are even parents who obsessively photograph their children and upload the photos to sites like Instagram and Pinterest. And every time, it is a different dress. I often fear. A mother, who did not want to be named, says she tries hard to dress her daughter. We have even done many role plays: Little Red Riding Hood and the fierce wolf, with my husky pet playing the role of the wolf, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel. I have to imitate the look of Kate Middleton, with a fascinating and polka dot dress, ”she says.

In social networks, exclusive identifiers for children such as @punjebawali, @Shanayaprasher and @jasvi_thesugarpie abound. Proud parents publish the latest adventures of their fashion pupils. Jasvi has 1,016 followers, with followers who send him a lot of love and joy.

There are those who coordinate with friends so that their children wear the same clothes for informal photo sessions. There are those who buy costumes to make twinning of mother and daughter or father and son. Some brands meet this trend. US Polo Kids has a segment called Mini Me, where the color and design of children's dresses is similar to that of an adult. When a father buys fashion for himself, he or she wants the same for the child, says Chugh de Benetton.

Children too often want to show off the characters that interest them most in a moment. Previously, the focus of children's clothing focused mainly on colors and a limited set of characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. But today, they are Avengers, Superman, Spiderman, Elsa, Frozen, Dora, Chhota Bheem, Mighty Raju, Doraemon, Shin Chan, in fact anything that has become popular in a movie or television show.

Brands are also trying to attract children with different themes. Benetton recently launched an African call, a collection inspired by the beauty of the African jungles. The American theme, a combination of red, white and blue as in the flag of the United States, has been popular.

“Gone are those days of the Happy Boy and Cute Girls logos. We want to be in children's clothing what Zara is for men's and women's fashion, ”says Rahul Anand, a former Harvard Business School student who founded the online children's clothing company based in Mumbai Hopscotch in 2012.

Online, combined with new technological tools, is helping Anand in that goal. Hopscotch's online platform captures tons of data points in both styles and customer preferences. These are incorporated into a machine learning model that helps the brand understand which style will work and which will not. The company actually launches around 500 new styles daily, working with a team of designers from around the world and partnering with some 200 factories around the world. There could be a nautical collection one day and a floral collection the next day. In seven years, Hopscotch's revenues have reached Rs 500 million and 70% of sales come from Tier II cities, another sign of how much the world of children's clothing has changed.

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