In Picture: Sneakerness Amsterdam

Amsterdam - Sneakerness is a real Walhalla for all sneaker lovers. Europe's biggest sneaker conference returned to the capital of the Netherlands once more for its seventh edition. Taking place at the Kromhouthal, the event welcomed international brands, independent sneaker retailers, brands, private sellers and collectors from across Europe, marking it largest event to date. In total, nearly 9,000 sneaker heads visited the event, which ran from June 3 to 4, which is 3,000 more than its previous edition.

In Picture: Sneakerness AmsterdamIn Picture: Sneakerness Amsterdam

15 European stores were present at the event with their own dedicated stand, ranging from France, Germany, Switzerland and well as newcomer Poland. In addition to stores, 140 private sellers who represent some of the world's biggest collectors were present with their own stands in Sneakerness Amsterdam.

In Picture: Sneakerness Amsterdam

According to Marketing Manager Matthijs van der Meulen, the event also attracted a broader audience this year. "You still have the sneaker freaks who are waiting outside the shop first thing in the morning to score that one exclusive pair, but this year we also saw visitors who were attending the event for the first time and curious about the sneakers and the event itself."

In addition to scoring a new pair of kicks, visitors could also in listen on a number of panel discussions between designers, collectors, and vloggers or visit the Sneaker Art Gallery.

In Picture: Sneakerness AmsterdamIn Picture: Sneakerness Amsterdam

Unique sneakers from Sunika sneaker shop in Amsterdam.

In Picture: Sneakerness AmsterdamIn Picture: Sneakerness Amsterdam

The most expensive pair of sneakers present at the event were the Nike Air Mag. Also known as the 'self-shrinking sneaker' from the film classic 'Back to the Future', the sneakers drew a big crowd. The price tag: 60,000 euros.

In Picture: Sneakerness Amsterdam

There was also sneaker jewelry for the real die hard fans.

In Picture: Sneakerness AmsterdamIn Picture: Sneakerness Amsterdam

Sneakerness takes place once a year in Amsterdam. The traveling conference already took place in Düsseldorf and Zurich earlier this year and is set to move on to Berlin, Cologne, Warsaw, and Paris.

In Picture: Sneakerness AmsterdamIn Picture: Sneakerness AmsterdamIn Picture: Sneakerness AmsterdamIn Picture: Sneakerness AmsterdamIn Picture: Sneakerness AmsterdamIn Picture: Sneakerness AmsterdamIn Picture: Sneakerness Amsterdam

The first edition of Sneakerness took place in Switzerland back in 2008 and was organized by a small group of sneaker lovers. Since then the consumer fair has grown to become one of the most important events for the European sneaker and footwear industry.

Photos: FashionUnited

Tommy Hilfiger and Paul Smith to show at Pitti Uomo 92

Tommy Hilfiger is returning to Pitti Uomo's 92nd edition, the men's fashion tradeshow destination in Italy. From June 13-16, Florence will welcome back both Tommy Hilfiger, who showed last January at Pitti Uomo '91, as well as Sir Paul Smith.

With the action taking place both inside and outside the walls of Fortezza da Basso, the designers will present their Spring / Summer 2018 Hilfiger Edition and PS collection by Paul Smith at the fair this season.

Tommy Hilfiger will show in the Ottogonal Hall and present a 'Store of the Future', a retail project that aims to digitize the brand stores in the next two years following the 'Digital show-room' introduced in Florence six months ago.

PS by Paul Smith will be showcased in the Pavilion of the Gravel, in addition to the Spring Summer 2018 collection also being shown during a Fortress event.

Photo credit: @TommyHilfiger, Pitti Uomo 91

4 Key Denim Trends Fall/Winter '18 spotted at Kingpins

Amsterdam - What denim trends are set to dominate the market next season? Although it is clear that sustainability and innovation will continue to driven the denim industry forward, some of the leading trends to emerge for Fall/Winter 2018-2019 will be driven by an era not too far gone, according to Amy Leverton, founder of Denim Dudes, denim trend forecaster and consultancy advisor. Rather than simply looking ahead, a number of key denim trends will retain a sense of nostalgia - although these 70s, 80s and 90s influences will be fused with modern flourishes for a contemporary feel and not simply transcribed, stresses Leverton. Think vintage silhouettes paired with custom patches, sportswear stripes and embellished denim with over the top detailing. Presenting her predictions for upcoming denim trends during a trend presentation and installation at Kingpins Amsterdam, FashionUnited caught up with Leverton to learn more about her four main predictions for denim trends fall/winter 2018-2019.

4 Key Denim Trends Fall/Winter '18 spotted at Kingpins

Trend 1: Art-School Indie

This first trend brings is perhaps the most nostalgic of them all, according Leverton. Looking to the 90s for inspiration, this trend is linked to consumers sense of uncertainty in politically unable times. “We are looking back, looking for things that are familiar to feel safe,” says Leverton. This is set to be translated into 1990s silhouettes, sportswear inspired mixes, with a thrifted eccentric touch. “Think of it as a post norm-core trend,” says Leverton, one which is more anti-fashion and ugly than fashion driven. “But it has a strong hand made aspect to it as well.” This handicraft aspect includes do-it-yourself trends, such as customised denim patches and detailing, like side seam inserts for a new denim jean silhouette to give denim items a more hand-done and personal look and feel to everyday basics. The DYI part of this trend also revolves around upcycling, taking something already made and making it into something else.

Hover your mouse over the image below to learn more about the trend Art-School Indie 4 Key Denim Trends Fall/Winter '18 spotted at Kingpins

“This would be an eco-friendly trend, as it is about taking something existing and transforming it into a something new. I see a lot of emerging brands remaking old jeanswear into new jeanswear, which is great,” adds Leverton. “It’s about basics, norm-core but customised to make them unique - think painting on denim, giving piece an art-school makeover so to speak.” Deconstructed denim, such as ripped knees, busted seams and different coloured patches is also a key part of this trend. “This is also where vintage lives. But as far as vintage is concerned, this trend is driven by recent vintage - rather than old vintage from the 30s or 40s.” This includes unusual proportions, exaggerated sleeves or pants lengths as well as wide jeans. “As far as denim goes we have been inspired by old garments for a long time, looking back to the 1930s and 1950s. Expect now we are looking back to the 80s, 90s and 2000s instead. And that’s a big change.”

4 Key Denim Trends Fall/Winter '18 spotted at Kingpins

Trend 2: Blue Collar Basics

“So this trend, Blue Collar Basics, and Art-School are both inspired by similar eras, but this trend is the cleaned up friend of Art-School Indie,” says Leverton. This second trend is said to be driven by society’s disillusion with high fashion and moves on from subcultures and movements like punk, skate and indie to focus on the working class for inspiration. Whereas the previous trend was focused on DYI, this trend looks to clean lines and silhouettes, leaning more towards activewear inspired cuts. “Although some trends previously looked towards technical activewear, this trend looks to nostalgic activewear,” points out Leverton. Think adidas iconic three striped jogging suit bottoms and the Fila logo sweatshirt, items which were very big in the 1990s which have been reemerging in style once more. Blue Collar Basics also looks to skewer proportions, playing with fit and volume while meshing different styles and finishes together. “It includes stone and acid washes, with 80s and 90s vibes.”

Hover your mouse over the image below to learn more about the trend Blue Collar Basics 4 Key Denim Trends Fall/Winter '18 spotted at Kingpins

However, unlike the previous trend which is more rebellious at heart, Blue Collar Basics looks reinvent denim by keeping its styling neat and crisp. “This trend is more about basics and core uniform dressing, keeping things very clean and simple.” But do not think this means boring, as this trend also revolves around the concept of taking something previously unattainable and making it attainable - think Vetements collaborations with Levi’s Champion, Reebok for example says Leverton. It looks to take something, such as a logo or design, which was previously seen as high fashion and subverts into something which is normal, basic and can be used daily. “It’s about poking fun at authority and corporations and high-end fashion as well.” Another key part of this trend focuses on creating something which is almost on the verge of ugly, using different textures, proportions and fit. “I also feel like this trend is pushing in an ugly direction, rather than a fashion driven direction,” adds Leverton. “For me, because I love trends, I always think there is a rule to them. Just as you are starting to think it’s bad, it means it’s about to come back.”

4 Key Denim Trends Fall/Winter '18 spotted at Kingpins

Trend 3: Post-Denim

This trend shares some attributes to the previous trend, as it is also quite clean but in a more minimalistic way, notes Leverton. However unlike Blue Collar Basics, which is anti-fashion, Post-Denim can be seen as a high fashion driven trend, incorporating new textiles and technical details. “It’s very eclectic, but in a runway sense, and more contemporary than the other trends.” This trend looks to elevate denim to a higher end fashion item once more, by playing with proportions and design, to ensure it is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. “It’s about taking workwear and making it clean, returning to basic but not in a uniform way.” The denim overall, or bib and brace, is said to a key part of this trend, but is set to be reinvented to give it a cool, contemporary feel, using pocket play and white topstitching to reinforce the feeling of newness.

Hover your mouse over the image below to learn more about the trend Post-Denim 4 Key Denim Trends Fall/Winter '18 spotted at Kingpins

Skewered seams, monochrome denim and asymmetrical pockets are also all part of this trend, as is feminine flourishes such as ruffles and frills. “Think kimono styled belts to create that nipped in waist” for the perfect hourglass silhouette says Leverton. “This trend also looks to explore what denim is going to look like in the future, so it focuses on the more technical aspects of denim, such as fabric innovations,” adds Leverton. Think denim fabrics which aim to keep you cool or warm, smart denim which responds to touch or non-denim fabrics which look like denim but aren’t. These new denim fabrics will be used to create pieces which may look like classic items, but really are flipped on their heads - think flared jeans which have been cropped at the ankle, with ripped bottoms and a twisted seam line as deconstruction is also key to this trend, or tonal denim dressing.

4 Key Denim Trends Fall/Winter '18 spotted at Kingpins

Trend 4: Beatnik Bohemian

“This is the most eclectic trend of them all. It’s called Beatnik Bohemian as the beatnik aspect is taken from the 50s and 60s, and the boho is very bohemian, opulent, luxurious and embellished,” says Leverton. She describes the trend as ‘retro vintage meets bohemian fashion’, as it bring together numerous cultural influences from around the world. “This trend is also inspired by newer denim markets, such as South America, who are looking to their own history and creating new looks from it.” The trend looks at the history of the classic American denim and merges it with culture influences, such as pairing a kimono sleeve with western stitched detailing to reinvent the denim jacket. “Think of it as a far-east meets west hybrid.” Rodeo inspired looks, such as exaggerated yolks, embroidery patches and bedazzled jackets are also part of this trend, although they have become more stylized and sophisticated and less kitsch, adds Leverton.

Hover your mouse over the image below to learn more about the trend Beatnik Bohemian 4 Key Denim Trends Fall/Winter '18 spotted at Kingpins

This trend also brings together tailoring, with over the top embellishment and embroidery in a dandy meets Spanish matador, mid-century playboy over the top style. “For instance, this outfit is very tailored and sleek on the outside,” says Leverton pointing to the jacket in the photo above. “But then the inside of the jacket is very fun and bohemian, with bright colours, eclectic print and quilting.” Pajama dressing, with decorative trimming or playful embroidery is also a key part to this trend when it comes to styling this trend, say Leverton. “ It’s about combining that sharp tailoring with a 50s vibes, think spread collar, and a bit of dandyism.” Although Beatnik Boho is about mixing up eras, everything does have a bohemian feel to it, which ties it all together. “This is Gucci second generation, looking to take denim out of its normal comfort zone.”

Photos: Kingpins, by FashionUnited

4 Key Denim Trends Fall/Winter '18 spotted at Kingpins During the month of April, which sees Denim trade fair Kingpins and the Amsterdam Denim Days taking place, FashionUnited focuses on Denim. For all our articles on Denim, click here.
White Milano adds a day to September edition

Italian trade show White Milano is adding a day to its calendar for its September edition to “act synergistically with all the other sector’s players” and to help increase Milan’s appeal for international buyers.

White Milano, the trade show dedicated to womenswear collections and contemporary accessories, sponsored by the Municipality of Milan will open on Friday, September 22 and run until Monday, September 25, 2017.

The addition of the new day will mean that the White Milano along with Milano Moda Donna and trade shows like Mipel, The Micam, The One Milano will coincide with almost the entire duration of the fashion shows.

As well as renewing its buyer-orientated format with a four-day show, White Milano is also organising a series of events and “live happenings” to present their international scouting activities to the fashion insiders in what it describes as a “dynamic and interactive way”, as it continues to evolve its trade show format.

“This important synergy among the sector’s insiders will make Milan fashion week more appealing. This is a very strong signal testifying the renaissance the city of Milan, and more broadly what the country is undergoing,” said Massimiliano Bizzi, founder of White. “Despite the indisputable success of the three-day formula of the womenswear and menswear shows, we felt it was appropriate and strategic to offer our companies the chance to be the protagonists of this change, so as to make the most of the ensuing synergies.

Bizzi added: “I believe that this is a unique occasion for the Italian production chain and for Milan, which will increasingly catalyse the interest and favour the permanence of international fashion insiders.”

White Milano attracts more than 500 exhibitors and more than 22,000 visitors each season.

Image: courtesy of White Milano

Swiss watch exports tumble ahead of Basel trade fair

The world's biggest watch fair will open in Switzerland this week, even as slumping exports of luxury Swiss timepieces appear to dash hopes of a market rebound. Global exports of Swiss watches slid 10 percent in February to 1.5 billion Swiss francs (1.5 billion dollars, 1.4 billion euros), the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS) said Tuesday.

The news cast a shadow over the looming Baselworld trade fair, which opens its doors to the media on Wednesday and to the public a day later. The giant gathering in the northern Swiss city of Basel is the highlight of the year for watch and jewellery makers, with hoards of retailers looking to fill their showcases with pricey bling.

Investors had been hoping this year's 45th edition would open on a more positive note amid signs that the market was stabilising and even on the verge o f a rebound after two years of deep crisis. C itigroup analyst Thomas Chauvet described Tuesday's export numbers as a "reality check". He said the figures showed there was "no underlying improvement" in the industry, despite a more "upbeat mood" from senior watch executives, and a more optimistic tone from the FHS in its January release.

Exports to Hong Kong, the biggest market for Swiss watches, slumped 12.1 percent last month. And exports to the United States, the second biggest market, plunged 26.2 percent. Most European markets also fell, and sales to Japan tumbled 17.3 percent. Exports to China, however, rose 6.7 percent year-on-year in February.

That represents some much-needed good news for the industry -- China was the main driver of several years of euphoric growth for Swiss watches, with Chinese consumers' thirst for luxury goods sparking a production boom. But the market suffered a severe hit after Beijing in 2013 began cracking down on corruption by banning extravagant gifts like expensive watches to public officials.

And since then the storm clouds have multiplied, with the pro-democracy Umbrella protests in Hong Kong also chipping away at sales, followed by a range of deadly terrorist attacks in European cities frightening off luxury-seeking Asian tourists. In 2016, Swiss watch exports shrank 9.9 percent, after contracting 3.3 percent a year earlier.

But in recent months, there were some indications the market was stabilising. Exports to China gradually inched back into positive terrain during the second half of 2016, and a number of markets around the world put on a healthy glow during the holiday season at the end of the year.

Watch makers themselves have also been making increasingly soothing sounds about the health of the market and justifying production hikes. Swatch Group chief Nick Hayek told reporters last week that he was now aiming for "healthy growth", driven particularly by China's growing middle class, which he said once again appeared hungry for consumption.

With uncertainty abound, Baselworld, which each year draws around 1,500 exhibitors and some 150,000 visitors, should help gauge the actual state of the luxury watch market. (AFP) group

Photos: Senator Excellence Panorama Date and Senator Excellence Panorama Date Moon Phase, Omega, Swatch Group

London - Jonathan Anderson is set to follow in the footsteps of Tim Coppens, Sir Paul Smith and Raf Simons as the next upcoming guest designer at Italian menswear trade show Pitto Uomo. “I'm honored to have been asked to show at Pitti Uomo,” said Anderson in a statement. "Florence’s aesthetic is beautiful, which will lend itself to be the perfect backdrop for the collection."

Founder and creative director of his own eponymous brand J.W Anderson and creative director at the LVMH-owned Spanish luxury brand Loewe, Anderson announced that he had been selected as a special guest designer for Pitti Uomo 92nd edition via his Instagram account.


A post shared by JW ANDERSON (@jw_anderson) on

"We have been keeping a careful eye on Jonathan Anderson’s career for several seasons," added Lapo Cianchi, Pitti Immagine Director of Communications and Events. "Above all, we are drawn to the creativity and eclecticism he expresses in his collections that are further enhanced by high-quality manufacturing and – in menswear -- by undisputable sartorial skill. The way he reinterprets elements from the contemporary art scene and from the youth culture, alternating emotional impact (such as out-of-scale volumes) and transgression that are projected towards anticipating the future leaving little room for nostalgia, is very interesting. And his shows are always surprising, with great communicative strength."

The young designer, who first launched his own menswear label in 2008, is set present his label's Spring/Summer 2018 collection on the catwalk on June 14, during the celebrated trade fair in Florence. Seen as somewhat of a trail-blazer within the menswear sector, with inspirational sources ranging from Peter and the Wolf to dating apps like Tinder and Grindr, attendees can expect an a one-of-a-kind show, as Cianchi hinted.

Retail in flux: trends observed at the EuroShop 2017 trade show

“Future” was probably the word cited most often during EuroShop, the world’s largest trade show, which ran for five days and ended on 9 March in Düsseldorf. But the look of this retail future is uncertain. The only certainty is that retail will look much differently in the future than it does today.

The borders are becoming blurred – in every respect

The consensus in the fashion industry is that it will be facing major challenges in the coming years. The disruptions associated with digitalisation will fundamentally alter the design and function of conventional stores. The seasons will be reshaped due to climate change and people's passion for traveling and not least, because of the constant demand for new, fresh merchandise to be displayed in store. At the same time, product offerings are becoming increasingly diverse and creative, whereby clothing is designed to evoke emotions in combination with food, repair services, and so on.

Retail in flux: trends observed at the EuroShop 2017 trade show

More than ever before, sales clerks are required to take on the role of advisor and provider of inspiration. ”I believe that conventional sales clerks on the floor will all be replaced by stylists in a few years’ time”, says Raul Sanchez of Interstore, who used to be head of design at Jelmoli. The centre of attention will therefore shift to the changing rooms. Experts point out the importance of making these more appealing in the coming years, as this is where the purchase decision is made. At Schweitzer and Interstore, steps have been taken to the effect that the store of the future will only consist of a changing room. The customer will select the items of interest online in advance and come in to try them on in a comfortable, relaxing setting. The stores of the future will be smaller, because their function of actually fulfilling the whole transaction will diminish as a result of the online presence. Instead, they should focus on the real experience, evoke emotions and showcase the brand. That is to say: the ratio of surface area containing merchandise to convenience areas e.g. dedicated to the changing rooms will change considerably.

Retail in flux: trends observed at the EuroShop 2017 trade show

Flexibility: the store must change constantly

While in the past a store had to be redesigned every seven years according to an unwritten rule, this timeframe has increased drastically today. According to the industry, it is now necessary to redesign a store every three to four years. In order to finance this endeavour, store fitters are feverishly working on the development of modular, flexible store equipment elements, which can regularly be rearranged or expanded as necessary. For example, this means going to such lengths that all merchandise fixtures are mounted on the ceiling in the existing track lighting system at Vizona. As a result, no expensive constructions need to be mounted on the walls or the floor at all. The electricity for powering narrow LED strips that are integrated into the shelves and provide different moods of light is also accessible from the top. The trend toward flexibility continues with the mannequins, whose faces can be modified at lightning speed, using different eyes and lips for example, such as at Window in France.

Retail in flux: trends observed at the EuroShop 2017 trade show

Lighting: it all depends on the target audience

Light is perceived unconsciously, but it is nevertheless one of the key components of the store design. After all, lighting plays a crucial role in whether or not a customer feels comfortable in a shop. Only if he feels comfortable, is he then willing to linger for a while and only then will he make a purchase and return to the store. So far, so good. However, according to a recent study conducted by lighting specialist Zumtobel, different target groups have different expectations with regard to lighting. The focus of lighting on certain types of target groups, known as human centric lighting, was one of the innovations in the area of lighting. When designing the lighting concept for a store, it is therefore increasingly important to be cognizant of one’s target audience.

Retail in flux: trends observed at the EuroShop 2017 trade show

Digitalisation: from electronics to Big Data

Digitalisation in retail was among the main topics at the EuroShop. In the future, customers will increasingly expect all channels to be interconnected, irrespective of how the processes behind it are organised. Comprehensive IT solutions are required to achieve this. The digital dimension is not an “add-on”, but an integral component in the planning of the respective retail strategy and the store outfit. For example, it includes the supply of electricity to merchandise fixtures such as shelves, so that tablets or screens can be mounted on them. By now, store design specialist Vitra equips all merchandise fixtures with electronic connectors. ”We are not developing any more systems without electric connectors”, says Sebastian Nisi von Vitra.

Big Data has also arrived in the fixed stores. In the past, it was the privilege of online players to generate data regarding their target group in a way that enabled them to obtain valuable insights with regard to marketing and the merchandise portfolio. In contrast, the fixed store was considered a black box by many. With the help of thermal imaging cameras and so-called heat maps, store operators are now also able to generate data in their shops and to measure for instance the customer frequency in different places of the store at different times of day and to find out which marketing strategies are most effective in which target group. Nowadays, these cameras are even capable of establishing people's gender. In addition, the aim is to identify logos and determine clothing styles in order to obtain information that is as accurate as possible about their target group.

Retail in flux: trends observed at the EuroShop 2017 trade show

Visual merchandising: uniqueness is compulsory

The visual merchandising halls featuring the store display models and new merchandise presentation ideas are always a optical highlight of the EuroShop. Metallic sheen was the favourite among the new designs, followed by graphic elements in the trendy colours of the 1980s. While Dutch mannequin producer Hans Boodt drew his inspiration from the elegance of the 1920s, Window Mannequin in France developed a brand-new method for creating customised lifelike mannequins. It is based on a technology that is used in animated movies, where a human body is captured three-dimensionally in seconds with a multitude of cameras and reconstructed within several days by means of robots. This method enables a brand to commission unique, lifelike mannequins. Ralph Hutchings, art director at Window elaborates: ”brands spend large amounts of money for the right model and for their own store design – particularly in the luxury segment. So when it comes to mannequins, why should they resort to cookie-cutter solutions?"

High demand for information

EuroShop, which takes place only once every three years, has evolved from a conventional trade show to an innovation platform and a forum for discussion for new trade ideas. This is also demonstrated by the extensive program of presentations. For the first time, 2,367 exhibitors from 61 countries presented their merchandise on nearly 128,000 square meters in 18 instead of 16 halls, making it the biggest version of the EuroShop in its 50-year history.

Photos: by Regina Henkel, FashionUnited

Denim Days branches out from Amsterdam to New York

London - Three years after Amsterdam Denim Days was launched in the capital of the Netherlands - an annual showcase which sees thousands of denim lovers and enthusiasts flock to the city to engage in a number of events - comes the debut of its American counterpart: New York Denim Days.

Set to take place from September 30 to October 1 at the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 West 18th Street, New York Denim Days aims to bring together the world's leading denim insiders, designers and brands with denim consumers under one roof. "The energy and inspiration we all get from the successful and influential Amsterdam Denim Days is immense. We can’t wait to launch an all-American version for style-setting, indigo-devoted New Yorkers," said Lucel van den Hoeven, founder of Amsterdam Denim Days.

A series of events is scheduled to take place during the two day denim festival, including interactive displays and workshops from brands, designers and denim-mill sharing their work alongside in-store events, a vintage denim marker as well as panels and parties, which all aim to offer consumers direct access to their favourite denim brands and influencers. The full schedule for the debut New York Denim Days is set to be announced shortly.

Amsterdam Denim Days was first launched in Amsterdam three years ago by the House of Denim, Jean School and HTNK, an recruitment and consultancy firm together with denim supply chain trade fair the Kingpins show, "As a collaborator in Amsterdam Denim Days, I have had the great pleasure to see an incredible concept resonate with an audience and grow each season," commented Andrew Olah, founder of the Kingpins Show, and co-founder of New York Denim Days.

"We believe that denim lovers stateside are ready for a denim festival of their own. There is so much passion for denim here, so many great resources, personalities and craftsmen that will help us make New York Denim Days a must-attend event for the denim community." Amsterdam Denim Days upcoming edition is set to take place from April 17 to 23.

It’s Playtime New York: Childrenswear Trends Fall 2017

The three-day childrenswear trade show welcomed designers from the U.S., Spain, Italy, the U.K. among other countries, to present their new apparel, shoes and accessories collections. According to data provided by euromonitor.com, childrenswear accounts for 12 percent of the apparel market but, in the last five years, its growth has outpaced both men’s and womenswear. In 2016 it grew by 6 percent to be worth 31.6 million dollars compared to 4 percent in 2014, and this pattern is predicted to steadily continue until 2020. This can be attributed to a number of factors: rising birth rates, parents in developing markets having more disposable income than ever before, parents choosing to have children later in life, the rise in popularity of junior influencers like Prince George and Blue Ivy, and Instagram sensations such as four-year-old Farouk James.

It’s Playtime New York: Childrenswear Trends Fall 2017

So the 200 brands exhibiting at Playtime have reason to be optimistic. The athleisure trend in adult apparel wasn’t in great evidence at the fair, despite the qualities of comfort and practicality being prerequisites of kids’ clothing. There was however a noticeable prioritizing of well-crafted timeless basics (like variants of Prince George’s famous navy v-neck sweater) and an almost universal appreciation of organic, fair trade fabrics and practices.

It’s Playtime New York: Childrenswear Trends Fall 2017

Nami, who now lives in Belgrade, Serbia, and Miriam who lives in Melbourne, Australia, met over twenty years ago while studying at Rhode Island School of Design and, after an international career working in womenswear, launched their childrenswear line, Kin––“There are a lot of Skype sessions!” They make all their pieces in India and are happy to explain why: “Our fabrics are all sustainable wool and cotton; we use block printing which is a craft there that’s unfortunately dying out but which creates no waste, unlike screen printing. The printer carves the wooden block and then uses it as a stamp; perfectly efficient. Our dyes are non-toxic so none of them will end up coloring the rivers which is what happens with the traditional harsh chemical dyeing processes. The Indian factories can do embellishment like no other. Those skills are just undeniable to their culture so there’s a harmony to that.”

It’s Playtime New York: Childrenswear Trends Fall 2017

“We also work with a Bolivian woman who hand-knits our alpaca pieces as part of a cooperative,” says Miriam. “It’s good to know that women, many of them mothers, can work from home and be independent.” Kin make styles for both mother and child, but the designers don’t identify with the “mini me” idea of dressing one’s children in fussy adult styles. “We are selective. Our shapes are geometric and we avoid standardization of pattern making,” says Nami. “But at the end of the day, we design for people, and some of them just happen to be small.” Meanwhile Miriam proudly lifts the hem of a dress to display the care label printed with the words Be kind to your kin.

It’s Playtime New York: Childrenswear Trends Fall 2017

Kindness in kidswear seems to be the overriding trend. New label Viverano, showing at Playtime for the first time, partners with CHETNA, an organization which establishes infrastructure and ensures ethical standards in some of India’s most impoverished areas where a mere decade ago families had been left starving and the environment decimated after aggressive GMO cotton farming killed the soil and contaminated the water. Now the organization has created a robust community of smallholder organic cotton farmers. Fledgeling knitwear label Mouse In The House has similar motivations and describe their wares as “ethical heirlooms,” boasting “All sales are reinvested in makers’ communities.”

It’s Playtime New York: Childrenswear Trends Fall 2017

This promise of essential at-oneness with the various levels of the manufacturing chain seems to have organically led to a large-scale rejection of extraneous detailing: the clichéd frills, sparkly embellishments and tutu shapes for girls seem to be on the wane in favor of a cleaner aesthetic exemplified by Amsterdam-based Gray Label, which sells itself as “Organic apparel for the little minimalist.” A rustic homespun feeling pervaded many collections and dominant color palettes were earthy and vegetable-hued, with classic notes of navy and bottle green.

It’s Playtime New York: Childrenswear Trends Fall 2017

The back-to-basics approach even extended to children’s toys, specifically the range of paper dolls by NYC-based company Of Unusual Kind, whose Austrian founder Anja Kroencke draws each doll by hand and sells them with a selection of outfits and accessories. They provide what she calls, “a beautiful handcrafted respite from technology.”

Now that’s what I call Playtime.

By contributing guest editor Jackie Mallon, who is on the teaching faculty of several NYC fashion programmes and is the author of Silk for the Feed Dogs, a novel set in the international fashion industry.

Title image from MITH.com; Farouk James from his Facebook; all other photographs by Jackie Mallon for FashionUnited

A Virtual Look inside Modefabriek 42nd Edition

Amsterdam - Modefabriek, the largest fashion trade fair in the Netherlands, enjoyed one of its busiest and most positive events to date this week. Running from January 22 to 23 at the convention centre Rai in Amsterdam, Modefabriek 42nd edition welcomed over 600 exhibitors from across the globe to present their Fall/Winter 2017-2018 collections. “This Modefabriek is more than just fashion - it is about inspiration, creativity, business and pleasure. It all comes together here. I think it’s a beautiful edition,” said Joke van der Wijngaart, Chief Operational Officer of Modefabriek to FashionUnited NL. “The atmosphere is good and there is a positive vibe all around.”

The optimistic atmosphere felt at the event was contagious, as was the feeling of newness exhumed by the collections shown, which enhanced by the event’s new layout and decorative stands which aimed to offer visitors a full rounded experience. Fashion shows, stores, restaurants and a relaxation area offered visitors the chance to relaxed while seeing the latest trends in action and the new learning programme, which featured MF talks from the likes of trend forecaster David Shah, in-depth Master classes for upcoming professionals and expert one on one sessions offered, visitors valuable insights into the fashion industry.

Where you unable to attend ModeFabriek, or interested in learning more about the trade fair? FashionUnited attended Modefabriek and offers you an exclusive virtual look into the event through a 360 degree video and photos. Scroll down to see our 360 degree video of the MF fashion show.

Instructions: This is a 360 degree video, made with a camera which is able to capture all angles simultaneously of any given location or space. If you watch the video via a laptop or desktop, then use your mouse to ‘look’ around the space. Watch the video fullscreen, with sound, for the full experience.

FashionUnited also made 360 degree photos of Modefabriek different Districts, to showcase the trade fair’s new layout and offerings. The 360 degree photos include interactive ‘tags’ in the form of a circle, click on the tags with your mouse to learn more about Modefabriek’s new sections and offerings. Don’t forget to make sure your sound in on! A view from District A - D

Instructions: These are 360 degree photographs, taken with a camera which is able to capture all angles of any given location or space at the same time. You can ‘look around’ by using your mouse to scroll via laptop, or use your finger to ‘look around’ via your smartphone or tablet

Carnaval of all in District A

Interest in beauty is on the rise, as Modefabriek also tapped into the growing beauty and wellness segment this edition just like trade fairs Premium in Berlin and Pitti Uomo in Florence. Visitors at Modefabriek were able to drop by the ‘Carnaval of all’ at District A and enjoy a courtesy massage, have a mini-make over, or get their nails done for a bargain price. Visitors were also able to make a fun purchase, or two, at Tos Gallery, the two month old label launched by the former designer from Ilja Visser, which features hand painted silk scarves.

Wild West at District B

The food corner in District B certainly stood out from the crowd as it was decorated in honour of the Wild West, including cacti, a tipi, horse and a saloon for parched travellers. In the tipi, visitors were able to enjoy the designs from the men behind the Amsterdam-based label Atelierreserve.

A Virtual Look inside Modefabriek 42nd Edition

Men’s wear celebrates Sunday Best in District C

Men’s wear was the central focus in District C. Sunday Best was put together by Spike Spijker and is the follow up to the Dutch exposition from last summer, which looked back at key moments in fashion history. This time Spijker focused on the emergence of dandyisme for the display, and surrounding the mannequins were several men’s wear exhibitors.

Fashion show Happy Valley in the connecting hallway

Visitors were treated to a complementary trend-led fashion show, inspired by equine sports every hour in the connecting hallway between District A and C. Split into four central themes: Aristo-Stripes, Candy Jockeys, Show Ponies and Gamblers, models took to the ‘races’ to strut their stuff to the tune of Mister Ed, from the hit tv show (1958–1966) featuring the beloved talking horse. Designs from the likes of Marina van Dieren, Zyana Keizer, Lisa Konno and Bonne Suits were shown amongst others.

Shop and Eat in District D

Visitors were treated to more shopping opportunities than ever before at this edition of Modefabriek. In District D, the More Department Store was bigger than ever before, as it took over the space left by the former sustainable MINT section, which was integrated into the rest of the trade fair this season. Shop-in-shops from the likes of Mayke and Coming Soon were found surrounding the CJ platform and Hussein Suleiman from Daily Paper also decorated a store featuring products from Amsterdam ‘urban’ labels.

Curated Store by HTNK

Upcoming brands such as Newd Studios, Blouson Noir, AnoukxVera, Aesthetic Stories, Majem, Wildthings, DOYOU Studio, The Dutch Hatter and Afra Amba were featured in the curated store by HTNK in District B.

Blurred Lines in District C

Grietje Schepers (concept & design) and Floor Knaapen (curator) developed a curated collection of limited edition items which were available for sale via tablets once more. During Modefabriek 41st edition the duo went for nude-coloured items, but season saw the designers select items in wit, steel, silver or marble.

Modefabriek predicts its welcomed over 19.000 visitors on average this season. The next edition of Modefabriek is set to take place on July 9 to 10, 2017.

360 degree photos and videos: Inge Beekmans for FashionUnited

Photos en videos: FashionUnited