The first day of June in China is a holiday called Children’s Day. As you may have guessed, on this day, Chinese children get showered with attention and a lighter day of classes at school. For parents, this day is about giving children gifts. Seeing the demand for gift-giving, many brands in China also create promotional campaigns and offer exclusive discounts for parents.
The industry for children’s high-end clothing has been growing very quickly in China, considering that China’s middle class has increasingly more disposable income to spend. The abandonment of the One Child Policy in 2016 has only swelled demand.
The 2013 reality hit TV show “Where Are We Going, Dad?” featured the children of many celebrities who would go on to become brand ambassadors for childrens’ companies. This in turn further fueled interest in designer goods for kids.
In 2016, childrenswear had the best performance within overall apparel in China, according to Euromonior’s report on children’s wear in China published in Feb 2017. The childrenswear industry increased by 7 percent, in current value terms, to reach RMB 145 billion.
“Chinese consumers come to the store knowing exactly what brand they want to buy,” said Eda Pjetrouic, a sales associate in the kids’ clothing and collection department at Bergdorf Goodman. She was commenting on the buying habits of Chinese consumers that she had noticed over the years. “They especially like Moncler jackets, and Gucci shoes,” she said. “It’s common for them to spend thousands of dollars in one purchase.”
Daniel T. Cook, a professor of childhood studies at Rutgers University observed similar trends but thinks the consumer demographic in China is becoming more diverse, and Chinese parents are looking for different types of brands to fulfill their needs.
“While urban mothers in particular may favor international high-end brands,” Cook told Jing Daily, “middle-class and middle-class aspirant urban mothers will be looking for a distinctiveness in style which also emphasizes traditional child-like characteristics of whimsy and fun—bright colors, bold patterns, separates which can mixed and matched.”
In celebration of Children’s Day, Jing Daily has gathered 10 of the top luxury kidswear brands that Chinese mothers love, to give our readers a glimpse of the diverse players in this market. Our survey was created in consultation with daigou shoppers (or personal shoppers) in China.
1. Burberry Children
Burberry was one of the first brands to launch a luxury children’s line. Big brands like Lanvin, Armarni, Gucci and Fendi Kids followed suit, arriving in 2011, and Dolce & Gabbana in 2012. As the biggest player in the market, Burberry’s children’s line accounted for 4 percent of its product line as per its 2015/2016 report. The division has grown 19 percent from 2016 (based on the 2016/2017 preliminary report released on May 18). Eyeing the potential of this industry, in 2015, Burberry resumed control of the production and distribution of the line from Children Worldwide Fashion (CWF), a French firm that specializes in the licensing of children’s lines for high-end brands like Little Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld Kids, Chloe and many top-notch brands.
“The iconic trench coat is always in great demand,” Meimei, a Chinese daigou shopper who has been in the business for several years, told Jing Daily.
Inspired by her family, in 1975, Marie-France Cohen created the first Parisian children’s clothing house. She noticed that children’s clothing often looked too adult-like. So she looked to Bonpoint to deliver an innocent look that better fit the nature of children. Many celebrity families and kids are fans of Bonpoint, such as the Beckhams, Suri Cruise, and the Chinese television host Li Xiang. Another mark of distinction for Bonpoint is its children’s skincare line, which is a hit with Chinese parents.
For Children’s Day, on WeChat, Bonpoint offers the top 20 customers a travel bag if they purchase 1000 RMB of skincare products. In addition, Chinese consumers can make the purchase directly via WeChat pay.
3. Dior Baby
In January 2017, Dior Baby launched its first jewelry line for children. Available in miniature form for the first time and worn on fine gold and silver bracelets and necklaces, the children’s collection mirrors the adult collection and is available in-store. Buying jewelry for children is another popular gifting choice among Chinese. Many brands such as Cartier and BVLGARI also created the mini version of their jewelry lines. To celebrate Children’s Day, Dior created a WeChat campaign to highlight their collaboration with multiple celebrity kids for the 2017 Spring/Summer collection, such as Chinese TV show host Li Xiang’s daughter Angela, who modeled for the classic Nano Lady Dior bag.
4. Gucci Children
Gucci introduced the kids collection in 2010 for kids up to 8 years old. The collection is almost like a miniaturized version of the adult collection, including shoes with the prominent red-green tricolor band and a bag with the classic cross-linked G monogram that costs up to $800. Gucci’s childrenswear posted sustained growth, according to the Kering’s 2016 annual report. Taking note of parents’ concern for safety, Gucci plans to expand the use of organic cotton to all of its children’s products.
5. Moncler Enfant
Founded in 2012, for kids up to 14 years old, the kids collection is made with the same quality as the adult line, and comes with the same attention to detail. “Many parents ask for Moncler down jackets for their kids,” said Chinese daigou shopper Meimei. “The quality of the product stands out.” Their price ranges from $80 for a T-shirt to $600 for a winter coat. Similar to Burberry, and marking the end of a five-year joint venture with childrenswear manufacturer Altana spA, Moncler brought the production and distribution of its children’s line in-house starting with the Spring 2014 season.
6. Fendi Kids
Designed by Silvia Venturini Fendi, Fendi Kids was launched with the Spring/Summer 2011 collection. A joint-venture with Simonetta since 2014, today Fendi Kids is entirely owned by Fendi. Fendi Kids provides products for newborn and teenagers and features creative and refreshing designs like the signature monster icon. The prices range from a shirt thats costs $81 to a dress for $600. Last year, Kourtney Kardashian’s 3-year-old daughter, Penelope Disick, notably carried a $3,450 Fendi bag to Easter services.
7. Repetto Paris
Founded 1947, Repetto is a French ballet shoe company. The designer Rose Reptto first made ballet shoes for her son, the legendary ballet dancer and choreographer Roland Petit. Repetto quickly became a specialty company for ballet clothes and shoes. The Children’s Day campaign on WeChat features the best-selling and elegant Cendrillon ballet flat ($250). Actor Tom Cruise’s child Suri is a loyal fan of Repetto.
8. jnby by JNBY
JNBY was founded in 1994, and quickly became one of the first leading local designers in China. Its pricing ranges from $200 for a coat to roughly $120 for a sweater. At the beginning of May 2013, JNBY’s kids line, jnby, first appeared at a retail store in Hangzhou and was an instant hit. Within half a year, the kids line accounted for 10 percent of JNBY’s sale revenue. It’s said that many of JNBY’s VIP customers have transitioned to being parents, thus there has been a corresponding bump in the kidswear line. jnby by JNBY officially launched on Tmall in May 2013. On Chinese social media, commenters have called its clean-cut minimal style a combination of CELINE, Rick Owens and Yohji Yamamoto and caters to moms with sophisticated taste.
9. Comme Tu ES
Local Chinese designer of parents and childrenswear, Comme Tu ES has attracted a lot of attention from younger Chinese parents. “After thorough research on the industry, we decided to target parents born in the 1980s and 1990s,” Comme Tu Es’s founder Jiabiao Liu said in an interview. “The brand’s unique design fits the demands of those fashion savvy parents.” The main draw of the brand is that it is the only brand in China that designs corresponding lines for parents and children featured for the past eight years at Beijing International Fashion Week and Shanghai International Fashion Week.
10. Mischka Aoki
Priding itself as “haute couture” for children, luxury Australian label Mischka Aoki was launched in 2009 by designer Winnie Aoki. Designed for children from 1-16 years old, prices can reach $5000 for a dress. Within seven short years since its launch, the brand has become a red carpet favorite amongst Hollywood’s mini-elite. The brand also released an exclusive 24-karat gold dress that is further embellished with thousands of Swarovski crystals—a first for the childrenswear industry.