When most people hear the word fashion, they likely think of runway models and high-end designers. However, if like me you have an elementary aged child, when you hear that word fashion, you’re probably more prone to think along the lines of “What will my child walk out the door wearing today?” or “What will they talk me into buying them at the store?”
It turns out that kids’ fashion is a rapidly growing industry. According to data from the website Fashionbi.com, the children’s wear market is one of the most lucrative segments in the global apparel industry, estimated to hit a value of $173.6 billion by 2017. The business, according to the site, “remains virtually unaffected by the meltdown on the global economy.”
Local parents have plenty of options when it comes to places that specialize in kids’ clothing, from Lime Lollies to Honor Darling to Rolly’s (profiled on pg. 18), as well as the biannual Children’s Boutique Resale. While I love that my 9-year old daughter has developed her own sense of style, I figured it couldn’t hurt to get some feedback from folks in the know. So, in honor of this month’s fashion theme, we decided to interview a few local experts to learn what’s trending with the next generation. From whimsical buttons to bow ties, here are eight trends to take note of this spring.
1. For preschool age: Bright and breezy. For pre-elementary aged kids, Kari Foster Allison, founder of Winston-Salem’s Children’s Boutique Resale, has noticed that brightly colored preppy style clothes remain as popular as ever. One bright colored brand she recommends checking out is Lilly Pulitzer.
2. Mixing up the Denim. Building off the bright-toned trend, Aubrey Draughn, owner of Honor Darling, says she often sees colorful clothes mixed and matched with denim. “Light and dark wash denim ruffle pants and capris are going to be a huge hit going into spring,” she says. Another recent trend is colored jeans, which allows kids to wear denim in their own unique way.
3. Shifting to Neutral. While bright colors will always be trendy for kids in the spring, Heather Vlachos, owner of Lime Lollies, says a growing trend is neutral colors such as rich earth tones with metallic accents like bronze silver, gold, and platinum. “Color is important in kids’ fashion,” she says, “and gray is actually one of the most important neutral tones.”
4. For boys: Keep it Classic. “Boys’ fashion will be more focused on blues, greens, and even apricot colors this spring,” Vlachos states. “But nautical colors will also trend, too.” Other boys’ trends will include staples such as polos, button-downs, and the ever-so-trendy bow tie. And when it comes to prints, Vlachos states that “cars are always in style!”
5. For girls: Go bold. When it comes to girls’ dresses this spring, funky and vibrant patterns are in. Draughn adds that “another trend with dresses, and even basic tees, will be girls adding on interchangeable girls’ ties on the collars.” Vlachos also shares that maxi dresses in soft colors will be very popular this season. In addition, many girls are opting for bold leggings with printed or embellished designs as opposed to solids.
6. For tweens: Comfort is king. Kids age 10 to 12 have their own unique trends according to Allison, often subscribing to the ‘comfort is king’ theory. Allison has found that tweens tend to be more into wearing higher-end athletic wear (aka Athleisure). “Running shorts are very popular for girls,” she notes. “They even have them monogrammed!” And while socks might seem like a small detail in fashion, she’s finding that sock brands such as Under Armor and Nike Elite are becoming wardrobe staples for tweens.
7. Swimwear Trends. Vlachos says a big hit among girls this swim season will be metallic-toned bathing suits. Boys meanwhile will lean toward classic shades such as blue and navy. Vlachos also notes that rash guards have become a big deal with both boys and girls. Often seen on surfers, rash guards are a type of swim shirt made of spandex, nylon, or polyester. Not only do they look cool, they’re said to block 99 percent of the sun’s rays.
8. The Bohemian boom. According to Allison, there’s been a recent shift toward whimsical, bohemian styles for kids. Some popular brands defining this trend are Persnickety and Matilda Jane. “These brands are brightly colored, very layered, and textural with use of multiple patterns on each item and a high attention to detail, even down to the whimsical buttons.” There are even brands of shoes made to match the unique colors of Matilda Jane clothes, such as the brand Asters.
About the Experts
Kari Foster Allison, Children’s Boutique Resale founder
Kari Foster Allison founded the Children’s Boutique Resale in 2007, giving the Triad its first (and only) boutique and designer children’s clothing consignment sale. The event happens twice a year—once during the spring (March) and once during the fall (October)—and was recently named a 2016 Choice Award Winner by Triad Moms on Main. You can find details on upcoming sales at childrensboutiqueresale.com.
Aubrey Draughn, Honor Darling owner
Honor Darling owner Aubrey Draughn says she’s always loved creating unique outfits and researching fashion trends. “It’s how I express myself, and it’s really my art form.” This eventually led her to launch Honor Darling, which offers trendy, savvy clothing for both women and children. She started Honor Darling as an online business in 2014 before opening in a storefront in downtown Mocksville (135 N. Main St.) in July 2015. shophonordarling.com.
Heather Vlachos, Lime Lollies owner
A mother of four kids, Heather Vlachos originally opened Lime Lollies in Clemmons in 2010 to satisfy a growing need for children’s formalwear in the area. The boutique would eventually outgrow the small space, coaxing Vlachos to relocate to a larger storefront in Winston-Salem last year. Now stationed at 130 Stratford Court across from Thruway Center, the specialty boutique offers the Triad’s largest selection of fine children’s clothing and gifts “from newborn to tween.” limelollieskids.com.
The ever popular American Girl Fashion Show returns to Winston-Salem for its fourth year this month, serving as a fashion show for young girls and their favorite dolls. Sponsored by the Children’s Museum, the event features a runway presentation of historical and contemporary fashion, emphasizing the changes in culture and fashion throughout time. Elizabeth Dampier, executive director of the Children’s Museum, is excited about some changes to this year’s show, starting with its new location in the Benton Convention Center. “The changes will make it feel more like a runway show,” she says. The museum runs model searches locally so all the girls in the show will actually be from Winston-Salem and the surrounding areas. Ticket holders will also find an expanded vendor area and an American Girl Bistro-inspired buffet this year.
Shows will take place April 16 at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. Organizers expect nearly 1,000 combined attendees. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.agfshow.org.
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