Luxury fashion for children on the rise

Parents will always spend money on their children, and babywear and kidswear are becoming a prominent business venture for many designers. At the affordable end, Asda this week announced it was launching a dedicated baby micro  site, with clothes and accessories for toddlers and moms - some 450 products - including clothing from its George range and from retailer Mamas & Papas.

At the luxury end, designer brands are launching childrenswear fashion collections with a new focus, catering to high income families who are not afraid to show their social status via their offspring. Companies like Dolce & Gabbana, Stella McCartney, Marni, Marc Jacobs and Gucci all have collections for baby and mommy alike.

In the US department stores such as Nordstrom and Bergdorft Goodman have expanded their childrenswear offer, whereas in the UK Selfridges and Harrods offer collections for the very fashionably young, including high end designers and luxury goods.

Some designer houses like Oscar de la Renta and Marni say their designs are clothes appropriate for kids. But there are plenty of miniature versions of the adult looks that are sophisticated and very expensive.

In the US, American households are expected to spend an average of USD 688 outfitting their children for school, says the National Retail Federation. That does not apply to those seeking to buy luxury goods for their children, when Gucci a backpack can cost USD 795 or a Lanvin toddler's coat for USD 1,090.

Only five years ago, the high-end children's wear business was dominated by just a few major designers like Ralph Lauren, Burberry and Christian Dior. But the recent influx of others is the latest sign that affluent shoppers have gone back to spending since the recession. And as the wealthy feel more comfortable about spending again, they increasingly want their kids to reflect themselves.

Image: Stella McCartney Kids