The “week” lasted two days (Tuesday and Wednesday, with Wednesday being open to the public) and included catwalk shows from Paul Smith Junior, Chloé, Little Marc Jacobs, Diesel. A special media event was held on Wednesday, with the proceeds from the show going to helping underprivileged children across the UK through Kids Company.
A Childrenswear Fashion Week was the logical next step in the expansion of the fashion industry; especially since labels like DIOR have been building their children’s line for years. Children’s luxury fashion is said to be the next big coming in the world of fashion. The UK market alone was valued at £6.5 billion in 2011. In London massive retailers such as Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty all have new, dedicated childrenswear departments selling scaled-down collections from a long list of international designers such as Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney, Burberry to name a few.
But not only fashion houses profit from the new development in fashion. Fashion Weeks generate a huge amount of business and profit for hotels, restaurants and taxis but also for their host cities. From a brand perspective, it also makes sense to create a childrenswear line positioning labels as a lifestyle and attracting potential consumers at a young age, ensuring a label’s survival.
But this new development is accessorised with a big chunk of criticism and controversy. Children are already heavily exposed to brands like Disney or McDonald’s and spending more than 25€ on garments that are outgrown every few months seems down right idiotic. But the main issue likes with the medium and the symbolism of the catwalk. The catwalk is a “hot place”: one that is as much about selling garments as selling a fantasy, an alternate reality, a lifestyle, sex as it is about showcasing what will be the next big thing during the coming season. But kids fashion should be non of that, it should be cold. Furthermore, the catwalk, like a film, delivers a complete picture to the viewer; it presents a whole image. Fashion, in particular Kids’ fashion, much like childhood, should be a place for experimentation, freedom and the play with identity and perception and essentially discovering oneself.
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