Millennial parents are dressing the next generation of shoppers—and these four trends in kids’ clothing say a lot about what Gen Z’s fashion expectations might be…
We once referred to Gen Z as “The Best Dressed Generation,” thanks to the proliferation of high-end kids’ clothing lines that have sprouted up during their childhood—oh, and their Millennial parents’ proclivity for posting their kids’ fashion shots to social media. (In fact, 65% of Millennial parents say they feel better about themselves when people like photos of their kids on social.) But most Millennial parents aren’t buying their kids Gucci and Louis Vuitton—so what trends are happening in kids’ clothes beyond those high-end lines? We’ve got four that say a lot about how Millennials are raising the next generation of shoppers, and what Gen Z might expect from fashion as they grow up:
Streetwear for kids is booming business, with boutique brands like Hypekids and retail giants like Nike and Uniqlo taking on the trend. According to Glossy, kids’ clothes are getting “far more edgy” and “moving away from traditional, gender-specific” items, instead gravitating towards detailed bombers or customizable mini-Yeezy sneakers to “mirror adult trends.” Established brands jumping into the emerging market have encouraged smaller labels to make moves, as well as “the prevalence of stylish parents posting photos of their well-dressed children on platforms like Instagram and Facebook.” In fact, the rulers of social media Kim and Kanye recently launched their own kids’ clothing line—The Kids Supply—which is full of too-cool-for-school pint-sized streetwear.
When we asked Millennial parents where they get toys and clothes for their children, 57% said Amazon—making it the top retailer for the group. With online shopping winning out among stressed and busy Millennial parents, it only makes sense that some brands start to take their fashions into online-only territory. Recode reports that Carter’s, one of the largest children’s clothing companies in the U.S., has unveiled an Amazon-exclusive brand, betting an all-digital line can compete with brick-and-mortar. Carter’s already has similar deals with Walmart and Target, but this is the first time they’re debuting a line that is “100 percent focused on the digital experience” to reach “digitally savvy” and “affluent” Millennial parents. Though we often see Amazon taking up more and more space in e-commerce, now they’re stepping into the territory of big box retailers as well.
According to YPulse’s research, 73% of Millennial parents agree with the statement, “I want to raise my child without being influenced by traditional gender norms.” That’s why so many brands are appealing to the next generation of parents by going gender neutral in their products. A Kidscreen study that scored 40 entertainment properties based on popularity, and children’s awareness and love for the brand, found that gender-neutral brands like Minions (which had the top score), LEGO, and SpongeBob SquarePants ranked highest on the final list. Last year, Target removed gender signage in their toy aisles, and toy brands have been making efforts to create more gender-neutral, and gender-equal toys. Now, app store favorite Toca Boca is breaking out of digital with a gender-neutral line of curated kids’ clothing and accessories for Target. The company’s collection of apps (or “digital toys”) takes a 23% market share of the Apple Store’s paid children’s apps, and their move into physical retail is part of a greater shift towards becoming a “category-independent brand.” Their first consumer products will feature popular characters and bright designs from their 38 “open play” games.
4. KIDS’ FASHION SUBSCRIPTIONS
How do Millennials sell to Millennials? Subscriptions is one major tactic. Millennials have fueled the wildly successful subscription e-commerce trend, and now they can get everything from weed to toys to vinyl via subscription. Since subscriptions services have become the norm for the generation when shopping for themselves, of course they’re starting to shop for their kids the same way. Kids’ fashion subscription brand Rockets of Awesome recently raised $12.5 million in funding to deliver cool clothes to savvy shopping parents who want to avoid dragging their little ones to the store. The service sends a box of personalized clothing (based on subscribers’ tastes) to shoppers at the beginning of each season, giving them 12 new items to try. All the fashions are designed in-house, and parents only pay for the items that they decide to keep.