Fashion Magazine:
Kidswear di ricerca
Edition 92
Experimental Kidswear: five brands, five stories to tell
Kidswear is a terrain for experimentation that is especially fertile for creativity, as well as an accelerator of sustainability and a vehicle of positive messages. Confirmation of this are the stories, different yet similar in their search for a valuable and out-of-the-ordinary kidswear, of five brands for kids under 14 present on the Pitti Connect platform. The range extends from stylists who have made the most of their experience in the adult world to then apply it, with different parameters, to children’s fashion - see Anja Schwerbrock, the duo Marques’Almeida and Fernando Lemoniez -, to the “magical” interpretations of brands like Maria Lito and Luisa Armorim for Andorine, and finally flying on to New Zealand and entering the world of Carbon Soldier.

Anja Schwerbrock: the circus, ballet, nature, and the metropolis 
Anja Schwerbrock is a one-hundred percent creative talent. Born in Germany and with experiences, among others, at Comme des Garçons in Japan and Dries Van Noten in Belgium, she launched her women’s ready-to-wear brand in 2005, when she moved to Antwerp. The baby and kids’ collection, Treehouse by Anja Schwerbrock (see the photos pictured both above and below), was founded in 2012, taking its inspiration from her two children and her ever-present passions for classical dance and the circus. That’s not all: «Just like in fashion for adults - explains Anja to – I like to transpose into the clothes contrasts between nature and urban contexts, and romantic and progressive spirits. In other terms, we blend fantasy, so-called ‘charming magic’, with the highlights that metropolitan life offers». All this with the advantage of sustainability: many recycled or ecological materials are used, while production is entrusted to local European realities, with a preference for those that use green energy and reduce water waste. As to distribution, Italy is one of the main markets of reference, together with the USA and Middle East, for a total of 150 selected stores. The theme of the FW 21/22 collection is “Birds of Passage”: «The clothes flutter about, with a recurring motif of embroidered swallows – explains the stylist -. I imagined a flock of birds flying over the skies of Scotland, conjured up in checked fabrics blended with others». In addition to fashion, Anja Schwerbrock oversees projects that include corporate identity, interior design, and a collection of ceramic objects. 
M’A Kids: the collection-Manifesto inspired by Maria and Alice
Fashion is about attitude, not hemlines: Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida a couple both in life and work, took this phrase of Helmut Lang to heart the moment they decided to establish their own prêt-à-porter brand, after having completed their studies at Central Saint Martins. It was 2011: four years later, Marques’Almeida won the Lvmh Prize and the British Fashion Award for Best Emerging Designer. Simplified to M’A, the brand was featured on the Parisian catwalk and launched different collaborations, including the one with 7 for All Mankind. The only piece missing was a childrenswear line: Marta and Paulo filled this gap with a collection aimed at the age range of two to ten years. «As the parents of Maria, three years old, and Alice, one year old – they declared – we felt there was a gap in the childrenswear market, which we decided to fill with M’A Kids, a sustainable, yet cool, collection produced in Portugal and accompanied by a bona fide Manifesto. For example, we favor materials that are not used in our womenswear line, have banned fibers derived from petroleum, unless they are recycled, and are committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions».  In the FW 21/22 collection, standing out are graffiti prints, colored logos, bright accessories, graphic stripe motifs, comfortable and upbeat knit items, and overalls, where plastic recovered from the oceans discovers new life in clothing. The label will grow together with Maria and Alice, observing their world and taking their experiences to heart: «We hope that M’A Kids allows us to connect with many different families, maybe even creating incredible projects together with them! », confirm Marta and Paulo. Families located above all in Northern Europe, Italy, the United States, and Asia, are the main targets of this mini-sized project. 

Andorine: a colorful dream born in Portugal 
Stylish, cool, and easy: with these adjectives, Maria Lito and Luisa Armorim describe the mood of Andorine, the brand they launched in Porto in 2015 for children aged two to 16 years, who have their eyes wide open and are curious to explore the world. Andorine in Portuguese means swallows, because there is no child who has not dreamed about flying in their imaginations. Every collection, integrated by a Special Edition, represents a new episode of an on-going story. «The FW 21/22 collection - explain Maria and Luisa, the former an artist/stylist and the latter heading a family-owned winery in the Valley of Douro - is entitled Dream in Color, with the character of Dorothy in the Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Lyman Frank Baum serving as the inspiration. Emerald green, blue, burnished orange and blue are the key colors, ranging in terms of materials from sparkling and iridescent fabrics to fringes, and sequin appliqués, without forgetting blends of cashmere, organic cotton jersey, washed denim, and fleece. The result is sophisticated, yet comfortable, clothing of high quality always tailor-made for children». «With this collection we are on Pitti Connect – she adds -. A useful platform for interacting with buyers from around the world (editor’s note: the main markets for Andorine are the USA, Middle East, and China), representing the digital alternative par excellence to physical fairs». Maria and Luisa are on the front line when it comes to sustainability: «Our clothes, all gender-inclusive, are packaged in Northern Portugal laboratories, so that from one end local realities are supported, and from the other end, an ethical production is guaranteed. Ever aware of the fact that the fashion industry is one of those that pollute the most worldwide, we are committed to using raw materials like organic cotton, Tencel, viscose, and recycled polyester. As a brand, we have the responsibility of transmitting our message to future generations, aware that today’s children will be the adults of tomorrow».

Señorita Lemoniez: the couture that conquers girls 
That of Fernando Lemoniez and Soledad Romero is the story of a friendship that blossomed into a fashion and business project. Him, a famous Spanish womenswear stylist, and her, an entrepreneur as well as the mother of two highly demanding “senoritas” in their clothing choices, joined forces to launch the brand Señorita Lemoniez in 2012, with the idea of transposing into the wardrobe of little girls the essentials of Lemoniez’s style: a true understanding of materials, a meticulous study of shapes and attention to detail. All of which is guaranteed by a production of artisanal origins: «The collection - clarifies Soledad – is made in small Spanish laboratories near Madrid. Paul, Flori, Elvira, Beatriz and Mar are just some of our ‘petites mains’». The new proposals for FW 21/22 play off contrasts of white and black, brightened up by shimmers of color and golden flashes, inspired by Picasso’s Pierrot, along with the palette of Turner and Friedrich. Free reign is given over to fabrics including satin, organdy, plumetis, jacquard, crêpe, mikado and sequins on knitwear. Returning is the leitmotif of the arc on ribbons, foulards, ties, and belts. The main end markets are the USA, the Persian Gulf and China, «but thanks to a presence on Farfetch - concludes Soledad – there are no more borders. Pitti Connect? A place with soul, like all the projects of Pitti Immagine».

Carbon Soldier: New Zealand nests become clothing
Arriving from Auckland, New Zealand, is a brand dedicated to kids aged 0-14 years that is well-liked also in this part of the world. With the name Carbon Soldier, the style is classic, but with a touch of extravagance, intrinsic of the atmospheres of a country where nature continues to reign supreme. It’s no coincidence that the FW 21/22 collection is inspired by the “Nests” that can be found in the immense forests of this country, translating them into soft padded velvets, ecological furs, soft pompoms, and all-around comfortable cotton. Although production is in China, it’s undertaken «together with the partners with whom we have constructed a long-term relationship – ensure the heads of the brand – to the extent that we now consider them family». As far as the distribution network is concerned, it is made up by around fifty multibrand stores spread out between the USA, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Recently a Carbon Soldier pop-up store was inaugurated in Auckland, and more will follow in the future.