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18: THE ART OF ETHICAL FASHION Susan Correa, founder of organic kidswear brand Art & Eden, on her vision of using the power of business as a force for good

30: A NEW GENERATION OF AGENT Childrenswear agent Gary Kirkland returns to the business with the launch of Gary Kirkland Agencies

20: TOP DRAWER A/W18 Preview of PLAY, the new dedicated kids’ s ection launching at September’s show


06: NEWS 08: NCWA 10: LEGAL ADVICE 12: RETAIL THERAPY Store profiles and retail news 14: BRANDS TO WATCH Editor’s pick of brands 16: LAURA LOVES The coolest products for kids 42: TALKING POINT Q&A with new NCWA chairman Mark Barnett

22: SHOW STOPPERS CWB’s brand picks from the s/s 19 editions of Dot to Dot, Playtime Paris and INDX Kidswear 26: MAKING WAVES IN KIDS’ SWIMWEAR CWB learns more about Noma, the new sun protection swimwear brand for children sustainably made from ghost fishing nets

34: NEWS 37: SCHOOLWEAR ASSOCIATION AWARDS 2018 Everything you need to know about this year’s Schoolwear Association Awards, an initiative introduced last year to recognise the hard work carried out by those in the schoolwear industry

28: TALKING SHOP CWB takes a look at three childrenswear brands’ new stores



COMMENT “Success in business requires training, discipline and hard work. But if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were.” David Rockefeller As you may or may not know, there have been a few changes at CWB since our last issue, namely that we are now wholly-owned by the National Childrenswear Association (NCWA). So, what does this mean for CWB? It means new opportunities; a chance to make positive changes and breathe new life into the work we do. Together with NCWA, our aim is to help unite the childrenswear industry, to champion and support your businesses and share your news and views. Any of you that know me will be aware how much CWB means to me. I have met so many wonderful people and businesses over the last 14 years and I am hugely grateful to remain part of this industry. Therefore, as we embark on this new, exciting chapter, I would like to take the opportunity to personally thank NCWA for enabling CWB to continue. Without the Association’s support and backing we would not be here. I would also like to thank all of those who have supported this edition; for your faith in the title and your words of encouragement. Now, to the matter of this issue, as we’ve got lots of great content for you. Just some of what’s in store includes s/s 19 trade show coverage with our brand picks from Dot to Dot, Playtime Paris and INDX Kidswear. We also have a preview of Top Drawer A/W18, which takes place in September and includes the launch of PLAY, a new dedicated section for all things kids including toys, gifts, accessories, clothing and home décor. Eco-friendly ethics are a running theme this month, with profiles on Noma Swimwear, the new kids’ sun protection brand made from regenerated ghost fishing nets, and organic and ethical kidswear label Art & Eden, which has taken the US by storm and is now expanding to the UK. We also have the latest from childrenswear agent Gary Kirkland, who recently returned to the business with the launch of Gary Kirkland Agencies. Our next issue is September/October - the dedicated schoolwear edition - which includes a comprehensive preview of the Schoolwear Show as well as an exclusive reveal of the shortlisted entrants for this year’s Schoolwear Association Awards. Please note that going forward we are reducing our print issues from bi-monthly to quarterly but will be supplementing this with additional online content at If you would like to get in touch please feel free to email me on my new address You can also reach us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Laura Turner, Editor

EDITOR LAURA TURNER SALES MANAGER MICHELE ALI DESIGNER MICHAEL PODGER REPROGRAPHICS/PRINTING IMAGE DATA GROUP LTD 01482 652323 CWB is published 4 times per year by NCWA, 3 Queen Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AR +44 (0) 20 7843 9488 | | Copyright© 2018 CWB Magazine Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any written material or illustration in any form for any purpose, other than short extracts for review purposes, is strictly forbidden. Neither NCWA nor its agents accept liability for loss or damage to transparencies and any other material submitted for publication.

CWB is a fashion business publication owned and produced by the National Childrenwear Association.

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NEW LICENSED COLLECTIONS BY CHILDRENSALON Childrensalon has launched two officially licensed collections: Peter Rabbit™ by Childrensalon and Flower Fairies™ by Childrensalon. Both premium loungewear lines, the collections cater for 0 to 12 years and are available exclusively online at Offering 100 pieces combined, items include babygros, pyjamas, bathrobes and blankets. “We are incredibly excited about these wonderful brand collaborations,” says Michele Harriman-Smith, Childrensalon’s CEO. “Both Peter Rabbit and Flower Fairies have become synonymous with every childhood. In keeping with the original artwork and Childrensalon’s traditional aesthetic, the collections pay homage to the iconic British illustrations from The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Flower Fairies books.”

The British Footwear Association (BFA) has announced the launch of a new, nationally accredited apprenticeship standard for the British footwear industry. Launching in autumn, the scheme is designed by employers to be flexible and accessible to both small makers and large manufacturers whilst providing entrants with hands-on training and experience. Firms involved are Loake Brothers, New Balance, Hotter, Church’s, Dr Martens, Bill Bird Shoes, Crockett & Jones, Trickers, International Dance Shoes, Gaziano & Girling and Cheaney. Robert Perkins, BFA board member and chief operating officer at Hotter, the UK’s largest footwear manufacturer, says: “We want to offer a high-quality entry point to new recruits in a role that opens the door to a career in production and shoe making. There is great appetite to grow UK production and developing our skill base is crucial to our future.” The footwear industry is working with training providers where firms are hoping to


recruit in order to support the specialist training required. Northamptonshire manufacturers have supported Northampton College to develop a ‘working shoe room’ to provide off-site machine and equipment experience. Eurafoam, Loake, Fitflop London, Church’s and Kevin Bann have also donated equipment, materials and transport support. The ‘technical academy’ will continue to be built upon over the next few years.


CONTINUED GROWTH FOR TEXTILE FORUM Building on the success of its largest spring show in March, Textile Forum will return to One Marylebone, London for its autumn edition on 10-11 October 2018. Amongst the autumn show’s exhibitors will be those specialising in fabric for childrenswear, including Anbo Textiles, which has increased its range of prints to include designs on corduroy, cottons and cotton mixes. Commenting on Textile Forum’s growth, event director Amy Packham, says: “We expect to have well over 120 collections presented in autumn, with considerable interest from top-end continental companies looking to build more bridges with UK designers and brands. The fact Textile Forum exhibitors can service small minimum orders for sampling or bespoke creations is a proposition that has come into its own over the past year, particularly as the market has got tougher.”

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Start-Rite Shoes has appointed Jonathan Hudson as head of marketing. Prior to Start-Rite, Hudson was head of marketing at Hoseasons, where he was responsible for the brand’s digital and traditional marketing mix. He also has experience working with Homebase, Shop Direct and Time Group. “It’s a great time to be joining such an iconic brand,” says Hudson. “A new identity, new creative campaigns and an amazing product portfolio. I’m excited to show consumers what the brand really has to offer and help grow our marketing presence across digital and retail.” Start-Rite Shoes’ CEO Ian Watson adds: “Jonathan will be instrumental in executing our key consumer messages in line with our strategic direction.”



Children’s outerwear brand Grass & Air is being stocked at iconic department store Liberty London from July 2018. The brand is represented in Little Liberty by its colour-change wellies available in a choice of navy or coral in infant sizes 4–12. “For a growing brand, securing Liberty London as a stockist is the stuff dreams are made of,” says Grass & Air MD, Kathryn Shuttleworth. “We view this as a milestone moment and cannot wait to see our colourchange wellies on display in Little Liberty.” New a/w 18 launches, meanwhile, include a colour-change umbrella. Featuring the brand’s cloud design motif, the umbrella’s colour transformation is both instant and impactful on contact with water.

Natural Baby Shower, the eco-friendly baby shop, has opened a new in-store destination called The Hub. Located at Natural Baby Shower’s existing bricks-and-mortar retail site in Bagshot, Surrey, The Hub hosts regular talks for new and existing parents. It also provides a variety of classes to enhance children’s social awareness and confidence, plus exclusive talks from leading brands. The Consultancy is another new addition to the business. The complimentary, appointmentbased service offers insight and demos to guide first-time parents through their initial purchases. Aligned with the in-store product offering, The Consultancy enables Natural Baby Shower to provide a complete solution of both shopping and support.

The s/s 19 collection from Icelandic childrenswear brand Iglo + Indi is called Reach for the Stars and draws inspiration from the bright, Icelandic summer nights. Collection highlights include playful embroideries and prints of stars, lightning, animals, flowers and fruit on soft organic cotton. Focus is also placed on faux fur and exquisite fabrics. The Iglo + Indi s/s 19 collection is designed in Iceland and made in Portugal. The main collection is entirely organic, produced using certified organic cotton.

The s/s 19 collection from children’s footwear brand Froddo includes innovative designs, new leather finishes and on-trend colours. Sandals are key, available with both open and closed toe fronts and heel backs. The Soft Sole range, alongside stitched down classics, Mary Janes and Chelsea Boots, all continue with new twists and colours. Other highlights include mosaic textured leather, vintage gold and silver tones and a new coral and soft pink colourway. Three-dimensional detailing can be found in flowers, hearts, butterflies and bows alongside contrasting colours and textures.

MARMAR COPENHAGEN LAUNCHES TECHNICAL RAINWEAR This season MarMar Copenhagen is introducing technical rainwear to its offer. The Danish childrenswear brand, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, has created a high-end line of rainwear to keep children dry and comfortable while still looking stylish. Other developments for s/s 19 include MarMar Copenhagen moving away from its signature dusty tones, opting instead for a more fashion-forward colour palette of caramel hues alongside burnt orange. Designs reflect favourites from previous seasons alongside classic pieces from the never-out-of-stock range of popular basics.

FROM BABIES WITH LOVE SUPPORTS YOUNG REFUGEES From Babies with Love is supporting refugee children with a new project in collaboration with UK charity, Street Child. The initiative will help some of the estimated 486,000 SouthSudanese refugee children living in Uganda who are unable to attend school due to lack of spaces and teachers. By funding Street Child to train South Sudanese teachers in English, the language of the Ugandan curriculum, the babywear brand will help more refugee children resume their educations. From Babies with Love launched its partnership with Street Child in December 2017. The latest project follows previous work in North East Nigeria, where three Child Friendly Spaces were established to help protect children affected by the on-going conflict in the area.

JOHN LEWIS TRIALS CLOTHING BUY-BACK SERVICE John Lewis is piloting a buy-back service for unwanted clothing bought from its stores and website to help reduce the tonnes of clothing sent to UK landfills each year.  Developed with social enterprise Stuffstr, the app-based service links to a customer’s John Lewis account and purchase history to value items. The customer selects the products they want to sell – regardless of condition – and is given a value. A courier collects the items once a customer has a minimum of £50 worth of clothing to sell. In return, the customer receives a John Lewis e-gift card for the value of the items sold.

NEWS IN BRIEF UK manufactured childrenswear brand Wildchild London has added four new tank tops and a dress to its collection. The tank tops are made from 100 per cent cotton in sizes 2 to 9 years. Four styles are available with colour options being yellow, grey, pink and a limited edition black. The new 100 per cent cotton A-Line jersey dress with cap sleeves is available in sizes 2 to 7 years.

Sock Academy has launched Cucamelon, a new brand of gift-led baby socks for 0 to 2 years. Joining the company’s successful United Oddsocks and Cockney Spaniel brands, Cucamelon is the latest addition to Sock Academy’s gifting ranges and comprises 10 different gift boxes. “We wanted to create a range of beautiful baby socks to complement our existing brands and provide more choice in baby gifting,” says assistant director, Claire Catlin.

Danish childrenswear label Soft Gallery has launched a line of sunglasses in collaboration with Copenhagen eyewear expert Twenty/Twenty. Three styles are available – Wave, Cherry and Lucky – all featuring signature prints from Soft Gallery’s s/s 19 collection. The glasses are handmade from acetate, a plant-based plastic, which makes them hypoallergenic, strong, lightweight and flexible. They are also equipped with light and shock resistant nylon lenses. JULY/AUGUST 2018 - 07



NCWA NEWS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S COMMENT Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee has announced that it is to “investigate the social and environmental impact of disposable ‘fast fashion’ and the wider clothing industry”. It will examine the “carbon, resource use and water footprint of clothing throughout its lifecycle” and will look at “how clothes can be recycled, and waste and pollution reduced”. I hope the Committee has set aside plenty of time to do this, for as we all know there are enormous differences between fabrics, whether of natural fibres or manmade, and great variations in garment usage and disposal. Childrenswear is the one area where clothes are “recycled” in the sense of being passed to younger members of the family, as children grow out of them. I wonder whether this is less the case than before, because of lower prices, quality or fashion, but I am sure it still happens both in families and through charity shops. I am also sure that school uniform is regularly handed down. It is said that young people are some of the worst at recycling, with some garments being thrown away after one outing, it being easier to buy something new than to wash them. In contrast some countries are placing obligations on manufacturers and retailers to try to prevent garments and textile products in general going to landfill. How have UK childrenswear purchasing habits changed in recent years? Why has “fast fashion” grown? How could clothing be made more sustainable? How could the reuse and recycling of clothing be increased? One question we may find more difficult is, “How could consumers be persuaded to buy fewer clothes, reuse clothes and think about how best to dispose of clothes when they are no longer wanted?”. The Committee is asking for views by the beginning of September, so please do let me know what you think. We have a great advantage as the childrenswear industry, in that children grow and new clothes are a necessity and we must ensure that MPs understand this. At the same time, environmental concerns and calls for sustainability are also growing – just look at how the attitude towards single use plastic has changed over recent months. Finally, as you will know, it did not prove possible for NCWA to organise a new spring/ summer childrenswear exhibition in the short time we had available. We are, however, looking at what the industry wants and what we can do for January 2019, when the new designs for autumn/winter will need to be showcased. Please do let us know your thoughts and wishes as to venue, dateline and type of show that you would like to exhibit at or visit. If you would like to talk to me about any of the issues above or indeed anything else, please do not hesitate to contact me at NCWA, 3 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, tel: 020 7843 9488; Elizabeth P Fox Executive Director

NCWA COUNCIL: Chairman: MARK BARNETT, Barnett Agencies Imm. Past Chairman: SHARON BEARDSWORTH, RSB Associates Treasurer: DAVID BURGESS, David Luke Ltd — COUNCIL MEMBERS: NUALA MCKENNA Nuala McKenna Agencies Agent, DIANE SHAW Agent SARAH TAYLOR Agent, DANIELE SISMONDI Brand Stable Agent RACHEL RILEY Rachel Riley Manufacturer, EMMA-JANE ADAM Love My Smalls Ltd Manufacturer DAVID PARKER Baby Melanie Retailer President: KEN SCATES Marketing consultant Vice Presidents: LESLEY FALLON Retail consultant JACKIE COOK Retail consultant Executive Director: ELIZABETH FOX

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KISSY KISSY X SOPHIE LA GIRAFE Babywear brand Kissy Kissy has teamed up with Sophie La Girafe to create a new collaborative collection. Sophie La Girafe by Kissy Kissy includes printed items in blue, pink and ecru, which are all made in high quality pima cotton. The new range is part of the year-round collection, which is all in stock for immediate delivery. Kissy Kissy is represented in the UK by Finest for Baby Agencies.



Childrenswear brand Frugi has announced its charity partners for 2018-2019 as part of its Little Clothes BIG Change initiative. Firstly, Chance for Childhood, which works to ensure the world’s most vulnerable children are not forgotten. Frugi’s donations will help fund the charity’s Kinbu nursery, which supports street children in Ghana’s capital, Accra. Also, Little Life Savers, a national charity that teaches CPR skills and management of choking to children aged nine years plus. Frugi will help the charity set up new groups and provide essential kit and information. Finally, the brand is continuing its support of The Cornwall Wildlife Trust, a charity it has donated £135,000 to over the past 12 years.

This season childrenswear brand FUB has made the move to add wool into a selection of its summer styles. The decision was based on the fact that wool wicks sweat and heat away from the skin, thus keeping children cool and dry during the warmer months. Other s/s 19 highlights include a selection of FUB classics updated with new details, including colour blocks and contrasting trims. Feminine details such as ruffle collars have been introduced to classic styles for girls, as have pom-poms to selected baby bottoms. Key colours include the popular bright yellow shade used in the brand’s s/s 18 collection, which makes a welcome return for s/s 19.

British childrenswear brand Little Lord & Lady has appointed a network of agents following a strong opening season in the USA for a/w 18 and growing demand in Ireland, Australia and Europe. In terms of the s/s 19 collection the brand has three stories for girls and two for boys, all influenced by British sights and culture. For boys, highlights include tweeds, corduroy and fine cottons. For girls, jacquards, bouclés and lace are key. Bespoke prints, contrasting seams, coordinated linings and new silhouettes and separates complete the look. Further advances for the brand include extending the age range up to 14 years with a collection called Young Lord & Lady.

LILLY + SID DAY TRIP COLLECTION The new s/s 19 collection from British childrenswear brand Lilly + Sid is inspired by a sunny road trip on land and sea. A nautical theme sees sea friends and underwater finds combined with Breton stripes, while reversible checks offer two looks in one. Fairs provide another source of inspiration, with prehistoric characters enjoying foodie treats and fairground fun across different garment types. Characters are central, appearing in garment styling, applique trims and unexpected placements. Lace trims and embroidery provide a vintage twist, while cheesecloth and seersucker fabrics add a touch of nostalgia.

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THE NATIONAL CHILDRENSWEAR ASSOCIATION OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND Membership is open to everyone involved in the British childrenswear industry. Associate membership, open to non-British organisations, is now available. Membership costs from £100.


SMALLS EXTENDS ESSENTIALS RANGE British clothing brand Smalls, which offers fully traceable merino essentials for children age 0 to 14 years, is unveiling new additions to its range for a/w 18/19. The brand is launching two new shades Berry Marl and Forrest Green - in a microspun 100 per cent merino, which has proven benefits for eczema-prone skin in children. The new colours will be available across the range, from baby up to 13/14 years for both boys and girls. Additionally, a new Aroha Baby Onesie for 0 to 2 years is being introduced, featuring foldable cuffs that double up as scratch mitts and feet.

NEWS IN BRIEF For s/s 19, the team behind sustainable trainer brand Veja has developed some new designs perfectly suited to small, developing feet. Styles are soft, light, flexible and of course, sustainable. Veja is involved with multiple projects, from fair trade to developing new ways of using recycled or surplus products to produce its shoes. Kids’ entertainment character and brand Zuma the Dog, which includes childrenswear, books and an animated series, has undergone a creative rebrand. With a new animated series currently in development tackling issues such as bullying and teaching children about healthy communication, conflict resolution, acceptance of diversity and breaking traditional gender stereotypes, brand owner Samantha Morgan-Bertish felt it was the right time to create a new look character. Are you up to date with the safety of childrenswear? NCWA is organising a further seminar on cords and drawstrings and mechanical safety in the early autumn. Look out for details at

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Stephen Sidkin is a partner at Fox Williams LLP


“EASY IN BUT NOT EASILY OUT, AS THE LOBSTER SAID IN THE LOBSTER POT” C S Lewis’s proverb demonstrates well the difficulties that each of the supplier and distributor can find themselves in by entering into a distributorship agreement without giving thought as to what is to happen on termination. In one case, a distributorship agreement made clear that: “any disputes arising under this agreement will be resolved amicably by negotiation but any matter that [sic] cannot be resolved by mutual agreement shall be referred to Rules of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce and consideration will be given to the laws of England”. As it turned out arbitration using ICC Rules did not suit the wronged party. Nor did the vague reference to English law.

Big responsibility for your feet.

In another case, the distributorship agreement provided for: “the formation, existence, construction, performance... validity and all aspects whatsoever of this Agreement or any term of this Agreement shall be governed by the general principles of law as restated in Unidroit Principles of International Commercial Contracts, and by the 1980 Vienna Convention on sales of goods.” It further provided that: “the parties irrevocably agree that, the competent body to settle all disputes between them arising out of or in connection with this Agreement will be an arbitral tribunal in Stockholm composed by three arbitrators, one nominated by each party and the third by the two arbitrators so designated…the arbitration proceedings shall be governed by Arbitration Rules of the The Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce...” But neither party had any connection with Sweden and the lack of a clear statement of the substantive law of the agreement left the outcome at best a lottery. As such these issues matter because if the distributorship agreement proves to be of significant value to either supplier or distributor, there can be value to be gained - or lost - in disputing its termination. This can be so even where the law

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governing the terms of the agreement does not expressly provide for compensation to be paid when the agreement is ended in accordance with its terms. It can also be so when monies are owing by distributor to supplier and the distributor seeks to set off the monies owed against the “loss” that it has suffered as a result of the distributorship agreement coming to an end. By claiming rights when arguably they do not exist, the claimant is taking advantage of the failure of the other party to consider at the start of the relationship whether the governing law and disputes resolution provisions of the agreement will be, at worst, neutral. However, it is also the case that if it was necessary to accept such provisions in the first place in order that the distributorship agreement could be made, perhaps the benefit gained during the agreement’s lifetime will have made it worthwhile in any event. But don’t ask the lobster for its view! © 2018 Fox Williams LLP


Kids can only have fun in sturdy shoes that can keep up with all of their adventures. That’s why, as one of the most successful manufacturers of children’s shoes, Superfit pays so much attention to perfect workmanship and the highest quality materials. We take quality very seriously. Because after all, we take big responsibility for your feet.




Terry McIntosh Tel +44 (0) 7957 834 348 •

IRELAND Trish Healy Tel 00353 85 254 80 70 •


* The result is based on the analysis of 342 returned evaluation forms with the stipulated rating scale: good, average and bad.



RETAIL THERAPY We reveal our favourite independent boutiques, as well as news from the world of childrenswear retail.

Taking inspiration from the many independent shops she’d encountered on her travels, Ellie McManaman opened her own boutique, Bare, in November 2015. Situated in the historic city of York, the store’s initial focus was on organic childrenswear. Over the last three years, however, this has evolved to encompass a wider range of products including organic babywear and homewares. The result is an eclectic collection, primarily fair trade, that includes brands such as Organic Zoo, Olli Ella, Doing Goods, Sleepy Doe, Donsje Amsterdam, Iglo + Indi, Kidscase, Ian Snow, Fiona Walker England, Petit Pher, Design Letters and Sense Organics. Bare is an active participant within the community, being part of Indie York, a community of independents, and also a member of Bishopthorpe Road Traders’ Association, which regularly hosts street parties. Plans to grow the business include bringing in new suppliers and introducing a wider range of homewares.


BARE 45 Bishopthorpe Road, York YO23 1NX

PIXIE CHILDRENSWEAR 108-110 George Street, Altrincham WA14 1RF On 19 May, Gillian Franks, owner of Pixie Childrenswear, hosted a day of in-store activities to celebrate the opening of her second shop. The new 2,000 sq ft store in Altrincham marks the retailer’s second location in Cheshire, with the first opening eight years ago in Hale. Franks has high hopes for Altrincham, a town recently voted by the Sunday Times as the best place to live in the North West. “Altrincham has a strong business community,” says Franks. “There’s a local team that helps develop a programme of events such as Halloween trails and a Christmas lights switch-on. We’re working closely with them to help create a vibrant retail community.”  Both stores carry the same labels, with the product offering split between 70 per cent clothing and 30 per cent toys and gifts. Top brands continue to be Scotch Shrunk, Scotch R’Belle, Sometime Soon, Molo, Top Model, Levi’s and Petit Bateau. New additions for 2018 include Moccstars, Papo Figurines, Glammrags and 3 Pommes. While the shops have much in common, there is one difference. To help create a “destination of discovery” for children and families, the Altrincham store includes a flexible space for interactive events, workshops and pop-up shops. Next for the business is reviewing and upgrading the website, but could we also see more stores in the future? “Absolutely,” says Franks. “We believe there’s high demand for the Pixie brand and it would be an exciting addition to a number of villages throughout Cheshire. We may even consider franchising the business.”

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Online family lifestyle store Beyond the Stork was founded by husband and wife team Claire and Ben Turner in September 2016. The couple share a love of travel and the outdoors, but once they became parents they found that most of their adventures started closer to home. From stylish outdoor clothing through to imaginative homewares, they began to seek out inspiring products for their young family. The result is Beyond the Stork, a destination to shop design-led outdoor and interior products for grown-ups and children. The store’s mix of independent brands spans outerwear, sleepwear, interiors, baby essentials, toys and gifts. Brand favourites include Cam Cam Copenhagen, Jem + Bea, Stutterheim, Banwood, Sleepy Doe, VITA Copenhagen and Konges Sløjd. The duo’s plans for the business include expanding the baby, child, grown-ups, interiors and outdoor ranges and also developing their blog.

NEWS IN BRIEF JOHN LEWIS CHELTENHAM RECRUITS John Lewis is welcoming applications to fill around 300 new full and parttime positions at its shop in Cheltenham, which opens this autumn. The recruitment drive demonstrates John Lewis’ long-term commitment to Cheltenham. The 115,000 sq ft shop represents a £23m investment in Cheltenham by the retailer and will open on the high street in the old Beechwood shopping centre on 18 October 2018.

WILL THE UK BE CASHLESS IN 10 YEARS? New research from Equifax shows a third of Brits believe the UK will be a cashless society in the next 10 years. In the survey conducted by Gorkana, over half of 16-34 year olds think we will be entirely reliant on digital and card payments by 2028. However, while digital payments are growing rapidly, over a quarter of respondents still lack confidence in the security of payments made via websites or contactless cards.

CHILDRENSALON WINS LIVING WAGE CHAMPION AWARD Childrensalon, the online retailer for children’s designer fashion, has won the 2018 Living Wage Champion Employees’ Choice Award. The awards celebrate individuals and organisations who make outstanding contributions to the Living Wage movement. Specifically, the Employees’ Choice Award honours employers who are reducing in-work poverty and improving employees’ well-being. An accredited Living Wage employer since 2015, Childrensalon pays all staff, including contract and temporary staff, the Living Wage. It also provides a wide range of employee benefits.

COTTAGE TOYS LAUNCHES NEW ONLINE STORE Online toys and interiors boutique Cottage Toys has relaunched with a brand new online store. As part of the revamp, the retailer has also changed its name to Cottage Toys & Interiors. The children’s boutique offers a carefully curated collection of nursery and bedroom furniture and décor. It also provides traditional wooden and design-led toys. Brands on offer include Incy Interiors, Sebra, Oeuf NYC, Olli Ella, Le Toy Van and Plan Toys.

M&S APPOINTS NEW HEAD OF KIDSWEAR BUYING Michelle Ojulah has joined Marks & Spencer (M&S) as head of kidswear buying. Ojulah brings extensive experience to the position, having most recently been head of kids at Cath Kidston. There, she was responsible for complete product development, design and buying of the entire kids’ global range. Prior to that, Ojulah worked as a senior buyer at Boden and as a buyer at Monsoon. She started her career with George at ASDA. JULY/AUGUST 2018 - 13









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05: ZINC

Laurie Delaney launched her childrenswear label Laney Clothing in November 2017 after a fruitless search to buy something for her niece’s first birthday. What she wanted was something individual, affordable and fun, which wasn’t from the high street. When she couldn’t find what she was looking for, she created it herself. The result is a collection of bold streetwear with a 90s twist. Signature pieces include the Mash Up bomber jacket with matching camo pants. Simpler pieces are also available including shorts, T-shirts and gilets.

UK childrenswear agency Little Icons has recently begun working with Japanese childrenswear label Arch & Line. Father of three Naoto Koike is the creative mind behind the brand, launching his first collection back in 2002. Available for ages 1 to 12 years – along with small adult sizes – the brand focuses on a minimal colour scheme and simple, stylish shapes, with fine materials used to increase texture. Clothes are created without an age target to ensure the whole family can enjoy the timeless design of the brand.

Childrenswear specialist Mayoral Group is building on its capacity and experience in the business with the launch of new brand, Abel & Lula. Debuting for s/s 19 with its own team of designers, Abel & Lula is targeting the premium market with refined, special occasionwear that merges the traditional with the contemporary. Offering a chic, colourful look, the collection focuses on dresses, with each style coming complete with its own range of accessories. The debut collection is for girls only, with boyswear being introduced for a/w 19.

Last summer, handmade British accessories brand Konoc introduced Kids Konoc, a capsule collection of children’s bags. Three styles are available; the Little Auk leather tote bag, the Jay Bird leather satchel and the suede Mandarin drawstring bag, which can be worn on the shoulder or across the body. Produced in a choice of fun, contemporary colours, bags come with a personalised, embossed leather name tag with a chosen name, nickname, short phrase or special date. Leather and suede coin purses, which can also be personalised with a child’s name, complete the offer.

Launched last year, Zinc is a new Bulgarian childrenswear brand for ages 6 months to 12 years. It offers engaging, asymmetrical designs that can easily be dressed up or down, allowing children to creatively mix and match their own outfits. Key pieces include jackets, cardigans, sweatshirts, T-shirts, shorts, skorts, skirts, dresses, pants, leggings and jumpsuits. Designed with comfort in mind, Zinc works in close collaboration with a panel of parents and kids, who help shape its collections with their feedback.

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Dinky Dinos Gift in a Tin – contains 12 plastic dinosaur models, a play mat and a dinosaur fact sheet.

Eco-friendly, chewable fruit and veggie baby toys made from 100 per cent natural rubber

Mr Sun & Friends – eight handmade wooden toys




Gold star cushion

Ice cream sequin purse

Filippa the Van adult and child matching socks

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THE ART OF ETHICAL FASHION Art & Eden is a new organic childrenswear brand taking the US by storm, but this New York business is about much more than just clothing, it’s a conduit for action. Laura Turner speaks to company founder Susan Correa to learn more about her vision of using the power of business as a force for good.

bringing the latest trends to market as quickly and cheaply as possible. I wasn’t looking to start another business, but I was searching for a deeper meaning to the work I did. After years of driving global firms with profit as my only purpose, I craved to leave a legacy and do something that really mattered. LT: What set the wheels in motion? SC: In August 2014, in an effort to make business better, I visited the Hope Foundation School in Bangalore, India, to support a midday meal programme for the children. For every garment I made in one of my businesses, I’d committed to support one nutritious meal for a child in the school - for most kids that was the only hot meal of the day. I entered the school that morning, really fired up to make a difference, and left transformed. The kids changed my life. It felt awesome to use business as a force for good where profit could also be purposeful. From that day onward, my attention shifted.

Laura Turner: What’s the story behind Art & Eden? Susan Correa: Art & Eden was born in January 2017 and there are two sides to its tale. Firstly, it’s a story about a start-up built in response to an urgent social and environmental crisis. It’s about revolutionizing the world of fashion and bringing change to an unchanged industry, one that has earnt the dubious title of being the second most polluting on the planet. It’s a story about an underdog, a woman of colour and an Indian in America who founded and pioneered new ways 18 - JULY/AUGUST 2018

to do work that matters. It’s also a story about radical internal change. It’s about a deeply personal transformation that could not be contained to the personal. Before Art & Eden, I ran two multimilliondollar companies. I spent two decades in the fashion world building and leading businesses across India, Europe, Canada and the US. I’ve worked across the spectrum, from top tier retailers down to discount stores, as well as across gender and size segments. I was blinkered, my attention focused solely on the bottom line and

LT: Where did you start in terms of setting up Art & Eden? SC: For the next two years I spent every free moment studying how my ‘best for the world’ vision could translate from a dream to reality. Up until that point, I’d only focused on unrestricted growth without concern for conservation, efficiency or diversity. I questioned, learnt and listened to data and material on the impact of fashion from seed to shelf. I couldn’t go back to ‘business as usual’ knowing the damaging impact of the linear take-make–waste model I’d been engaged in. It was time to reimagine a new way forward. LT: How does Art & Eden’s model differ to those you’ve previously worked with? SC: We pursue positive aspirations at every level of commerce, which allows us to embed intelligent, sustainable thinking deep within our corporate DNA. Art & Eden is created in a sustainable manner that embraces triple top line

accountability to ensure we build a product that’s best for the world. Our values reflect our culture and shape our actions to build products that parents want to buy, children love to wear and a place where the team delights in doing work that matters. Registered as a Public Benefit Corporation from inception, our approach focusses on ensuring prosperity while celebrating our planet and our people. The results are far more positive as they can be economically, ecologically and equitably enjoyed. We’ll continue to build our code of ethics and human rights policies and I’m working on mapping, certifying and auditing our supply chain to validate choices that will consistently promote sustainability as our core DNA. My dream for the brand is a model that embraces a circular approach to production.

much about them wearing it. Kids may not ‘digest’ clothes like they do food, but skin is our largest organ and it’s porous. This is why we’re committed to using organic materials and processes; if we say something is organic, we mean it. LT: How do your ethics extend to the day-today running of the business? SC: We realise that making a change extends beyond numbers, certifications and using the right materials. It requires we change internally, too. We’ve started with the low-hanging fruit; using green appliances, reduced printing and removing paper and plastic cutlery from the office kitchen. All of the plastic bags we use for shipping are biodegradable and our boxes and tags are made from recycled paper. We’re also

though. Over the school year we sponsor the students to visit NYC to participate in hands-on learning experiences in fashion and social entrepreneurship. Overseas, we’ve partnered with Hope Worldwide to provide vital nutrients to children in need. We also ensure our customers get to feel the impact of their decision to shop better with our Clothes for Cure programme. For every garment they buy, a portion of the cost goes directly to support one of our children in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Tijuana in Mexico. The initiative has already delivered one million multivitamins and 7,000 doses of medication, improving 4,498 children’s lives. LK: What’s next for Art & Eden? SC: We’re in talks with multiple US majors on

LT: Can you tell me about the collection? SC: Art & Eden is a thoughtfully built lifestyle brand for ages 3 months to 10 years, one which is made to last and to be handed down to siblings or friends. It’s a whimsical collection that harmonizes style and sustainability, using comfortable organic cotton, low impact dyes and Oeko-Tex approved trims. We noted a lot of children’s clothes had thoughtful details stripped away to reduce price, so as a tribute to a child’s imagination and creativity, we’ve added those back in. LT: What’s the distribution? SC: Art & Eden was anchored by Nordstrom in the US and El Palacio De Hierro in Mexico from launch. It’s also currently sold in 356 specialty stores in America. We have five national distributors in the US and two international distributors, with stockists in America, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Kuwait, India and Central America. We’re very excited to have partnered with Gary Kirkland Agencies to launch Art & Eden to the UK, too. LT: What are your standards in terms of production? SC: Art & Eden is produced in India and China in carefully chosen factories that share our core values. All of the factories are Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), which means they’re environmentally and socially responsible in all aspects of processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, trading and distribution. Today’s clothing industry - a seven trillion-dollar industry - uses over 8,000 synthetic chemicals. Conventional cotton alone accounts for 24 per cent of global insecticides, more than any other single crop. These insecticides harm the health of consumers, agricultural workers and the environment. The industry’s rampant use of them to treat clothing results in thousands of pesticide-borne illnesses and has a devastating impact on our environment and our bodies. Many people are focused on little ones eating organic, but not so

working on implementing a formal green office purchasing policy for all our supplies. LT: Can you tell me more about your community work? SC: Kids are at the root of all we do, so we have two give-back programmes that directly benefit children and our team is also engaged in two volunteer programmes. In the US, we have a partnership with the Camden Street School in Newark, NJ, where 95 per cent of the students live below the poverty line. We work with a group of 15 to 20 middle school students using a curriculum centered on building skills in communication, entrepreneurship, teamwork and of course, the creative arts. We’ve also developed a scheme in which our staff regularly volunteer to provide literacy support, creative engagement and mentoring. It’s not all bound to the classroom,

exclusive projects launching in-store from February 2019. We’ve signed a global licensing deal for home and towels with the Welspun Group, one of the largest exporters of home goods from India, which will launch in autumn 2019. Disney India and American Greetings have both sent us licensing deals that we’ll consider for 2020 collaborations. Azadea group, which has franchised 50 of the top global brands across 13 countries in the Middle East, has reached out to us to explore building our retail presence in the Middle East. We’re also in talks with a billion-dollar US group for a sustainable licensing deal for Art & Eden nightwear. Finally, we’ve signed a really exciting and rather major licensing agreement with a top US company that will launch in-stores for spring 2019. It’s under wraps at the moment, but watch this space. JULY/AUGUST 2018 - 19



TOP DRAWER A/W18 Curated lifestyle show Top Drawer is returning to Olympia, London on 9-11 September for its A/W18 edit with the addition of PLAY, a new dedicated kids’ section.







Making its debut at the September show, PLAY is a new comprehensive, design-led edit of all things kids – accessories, fashion, toys and home decor. With a fresh, fun new look and an expanded selection of the very best kids’ brands, PLAY is designed to help retailers tune in to the latest trends in retailing. “We are so excited to present this new concept, PLAY,” says Top Drawer event director, Alejandra Campos. “It really builds on our strengths, providing a dynamic focal point where an expert mix of the best brands in the sector will meet the best mix of retailers. Buyers love Top Drawer precisely because of the variety of design-led products it presents across a range of complementary categories: one destination, multiple buying opportunities. PLAY will showcase the UK’s largest collection of design-led kids’ toys, gifts, clothing, home decoration and accessories.”



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1 Two Kids • Aarya London limited • Abeille Limited • aden + anais • Areaware • Belle and Boo • Billy Loves Audrey • Blade & Rose • Bloom & Grow (Europe) Ltd • Bob & Blossom Ltd • Chunki Chilli • Clockwork Soldier • Diddywear Ltd • Easy Peasy • Elodie Details AB • First Wonder Box • Hannah & Tiff Ltd. • Hanssop • Inch Blue • Jane Carroll Design • Jim Jamz • Jomanda • Lara & Ollie Ltd • LAZY BABY • Le Toy Van Limited • Lello • Little Bird Told Me Ltd • Little Concepts Distribution Ltd • Little Icons • Londji • Merry Berries • Mini Safari Bed • Mini Wallers • Nelly’s Treasures • Petit Jour Paris • Rockahula Kids Limited • S-c Brands • Selfie Clothing • The Little Tailor • The Puppet Company Ltd • Tinyppl Ltd • ToucanToucan • Vekemans Bvba – Bertoy • Wee Gallery from Five Minutes • What On Earth Publishing





DOT TO DOT CWB’s brand picks from Dot to Dot, which was held on 24-25 June 2018 at The Vinyl Factory, London. ARCAS BEAR q



Targeting children aged 1 to 12 years, Lil’ Boo is a new Danish clothing brand that mixes Scandinavian aesthetics with streetwear to create a timeless, urban look. The Copenhagen-based brand started out with caps for young children before venturing into clothing, introducing cool and simplistic streetwear for boys and girls made from organic cotton and sustainably produced in Portugal.

Kids’ footwear brand Arcas Bear is driven by an environmental mindset, using its products to raise awareness and share knowledge about sustainable solutions. Investing in renewable resources and materials, the Californian brand works with recycled cotton and rubber, as well as textiles made from plastic bottles, to create colourful, sustainable children’s shoes.



TWINKLEDUST p New children’s brand Twinkledust offers a clothing range comprising leggings, T-shirts, dresses, vests, sleepsuits, hats, headbands and pyjamas, with bedding and cushions to match. The brand uses 100 per cent Okeo-Tex cotton for its clothing and designs its own bespoke prints, adding a new one each season. Gift boxes, including a maternity bag gift set, are also available. 22 - JULY/AUGUST 2018


Inspired by her Swedish childhood in the 80s, Kristin Enstrom created childrenswear brand Lillan Gorillan. The debut collection for 0 to 6 years features colourful and fun gender-free prints alongside classic denim and an original pinstripe. Key pieces include organic cotton jersey baby bodies, pants, long sleeve T-shirts and denim trousers. To extend wear, the brand uses clever ankle cuff designs, turn-ups, stretch waists and drawstrings. JULY/AUGUST 2018 - 23





CWB’s brand picks from Playtime Paris, which was held on 30 June - 2 July 2018 at Parc Floral de Paris.

CWB’s brand picks from INDX Kidswear, which was held on 1-2 July 2018 at Cranmore Park, Solihull.



The New Society is a conscious and timeless clothing brand for children and teens aged 3 to 14 years. Based in Madrid and made in Europe using natural and organic fabrics, collections are designed to create beauty and offer a clean aesthetic. The New Society is committed to the ideal of a new generation, a mindful society that encourages dialogue and urges us all to come together and look after each other.

Launching to trade at INDX Kidswear for s/s 19, Jammie Doodles is a new UK brand of contemporary babywear and children’s pyjamas. The collection features simple prints suitable for both boys and girls along with the softest organic cotton for comfort. Jammie Doodles makes a donation to children’s charities from every item purchased.




Spanish childrenswear label Annice offers a clean, minimalist look. Architecture is its main source of inspiration, influencing the clothing’s lines, proportions, volumes and details. Designs are conceived or ‘built’ - to allow the fabric to take volume and provide shape, while cuts, seams, folds and buttons provide focus and personality. Annice, which is produced in Barcelona, promotes slow fashion and is an avid supporter of local and sustainable production.

A MONDAY IN COPENHAGEN p A MONDAY in Copenhagen is the new Danish childrenswear brand by Anne Katrine Montag who, after 13 years designing the successful children’s clothing brand Mini A Ture, is starting the next chapter of her design career. Targeting 2 to 14 years, the collection uses 100 per cent organic or Oeko-Tex certified materials and offers a simple, exclusive look shaped by Montag’s love for aesthetics and graphic expression via hand-drawn prints. t


Timirim is a new Brazilian childrenswear brand with social and environmental responsibility at its core. Bringing its collections to life are the prints of famous artist J. Borges, whose colourful, unisex designs adorn the organic pima cotton clothing. Made entirely in Brazil to support the local economy, Timirim’s aim is to connect customers with the people and stories behind its brand. 24 - JULY/AUGUST 2018

Amongst the show’s new exhibitors this season was Müsli by Green Cotton. This environmentallyfriendly brand focuses on harmonious colours to create a sense of calm along with quality that ensures its products can be used again and again. By Green Cotton is part of the Green Cotton Group, which has almost 30 years’ experience in organic and sustainable textiles.



New to the show for s/s 19, Toucan Blue is a thoughtfully designed childrenswear brand for girls and boys. Designed and carefully manufactured in Britain, it offers ethically-produced, premium quality pieces featuring exclusive in-house prints. Striving for an ethos of empowerment for the next generation, the brand’s hard-wearing, comfortable and fun clothing offers children the belief that they can wear, play at or be anything they want – regardless of gender.

Enhancing INDX Kidswear’s fashion line-up this season was toy and gift distributor, Little Concepts. Exclusive distributors for the PlanToys, MOLUK, Makii, Makedo and Scribble Down brands, Little Concepts made an impressive show debut with its extensive range of sustainable wooden toys, arts and crafts and open-ended play children’s product. JULY/AUGUST 2018 - 25



ocean,” continues Stafford. “Extracting them from the ocean and giving that fibre a new, useful life as sun protection swimwear is great, but I don’t want those swimsuits to then end up in landfill or back polluting the oceans. To avoid being part of a future problem, the solution lies in making the swimwear’s life cycle circular.” The factory Noma Swimwear uses to create the regenerated polyamide is already working with a well-known global swimwear brand to regenerate its factory offcuts. However, technology is moving quickly in this area and Stafford is hopeful that by the time she has stockpiled enough Noma swimsuits for waste regeneration, the technology will exist to recycle them efficiently.

MAKING WAVES IN KIDS’ SWIMWEAR CWB learns more about Noma, a new sun protection swimwear brand for children sustainably produced using regenerated fabric made from ghost fishing nets.

It is common knowledge that the health of our oceans is suffering. Millions of tonnes of plastic end up in the world’s oceans every year, much of which is single-use plastic such as bottles, bags and food containers. However, did you know that over half of the plastic pollution in our oceans is actually made up of discarded and abandoned fishing gear? This lost fishing equipment – or ‘ghost gear’ as it is commonly known – is where the story of Noma starts. Noma Swimwear is a new, environmentallyconscious sun protection swimwear brand for babies and children. It boasts a UPF50+ sun protection rating, which is a measure of how much of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays penetrate the fabric. A 50+ rating is the highest possible grade and means that less than 2 per cent of 26 - JULY/AUGUST 2018

those rays penetrate through to the skin. Top-grade sun protection isn’t Noma’s only unique selling point. What makes this swimwear brand really distinct is its fabric, which is made from regenerated polyamide produced from ghost fishing nets. So, not only is Noma Swimwear great for protecting young skin in the sun, it is also great for cleansing the oceans. “I came across the fabric quite easily online,” says Noma’s founder, Sarah Stafford. “Once I found it, using it was a no-brainer; it has given my brand an instant differentiator and it is also an engaging focus for sales and PR pitches. I can’t understand why all swimwear and sportswear manufacturers aren’t using it since there is no compromise in terms of quality, durability, chlorine-resistance, sun-cream stain

WIDENING THE NET OF SUSTAINABILITY In line with its sustainable ethos, Noma ensures every part of its business leaves as little trace as possible. So, contrary to the usual practice in garment production where each item is given its own plastic bag when manufactured, Noma’s manufacturers put garments together in larger, reusable bags to reduce unnecessary waste. For retail orders, garments are packaged into eco-friendly biodegradable bags or simply posted out in tissue paper and cardboard boxes. The customer still gets a beautiful package, but there is no plastic waste. THE NOMA SWIMWEAR COLLECTION Noma currently caters for children aged 6 months up to 11 years, although for 2019 the age range will be extended to 14 years plus to accommodate demand for rash vests in teenage sizes. Key pieces include swim leggings, swim shorts and long and short sleeve all-in-ones and rash tops, all of which are made in the UK and Portugal. A range of sun hats is also available, including a baseball cap, a Legionnaire’s hat and a bucket style hat. All of the swimwear is designed to reflect the brand’s focus on sun protection, with styles deliberately cut high and

long in all the right places in order to best protect young skin. “Skin cancer is the fastest rising type of cancer in the UK and research has shown a link between sunburn episodes in children and increased melanoma risk in later life,” says Stafford. “I suspect that as the dangers of skin cancer rise in the public consciousness, the popularity of sun protection swimwear will grow. It is already the norm in Australia and the USA, but Europe is far behind.” For the launch collection, which was showcased to trade for the first time at this month’s INDX Kidswear Show, Stafford deliberately chose a small palette of four, bright and gender-neutral colours - white, turquoise, dark blue and orange - which can easily be mixed and matched. The gender-neutral element is in direct response to the high street offering, which tends to be very gender-specific. And, while a magenta shade will be added to the colour options for 2019, Stafford draws the line at stereotypical gender motifs and cartoons. In terms of market level, Noma is at the

higher-end, but pricing is an honest reflection of the brand’s costs and small-scale manufacturing. The most expensive item in the collection is the toddler all-in-one suit, which has an RRP of £43. PIONEERING PLANS With regard to the brand’s growth, Stafford feels hugely ambitious. Ideally she wants to scale the business up quickly, establishing Noma as a pioneer in its field. “I think that regenerated synthetic fibres will become more mainstream in the next few years, so I need to get my brand out there before the competition catches up,” she says. “I already have a contract to supply in the Middle East, but I am also looking for stockists in Asia, Europe and the USA to reduce the impact of the seasonality of the UK market. Longer term, I would love to offer other related eco-friendly products, so that Noma Swimwear becomes known as the leading sustainable swimwear brand - I’m already working on sunglasses from Bio Acetate and shorts from rPET.”


resistance or shape retention compared to regular swimwear fabric.” A CIRCULAR LIFE CYCLE APPROACH Noma’s eco-credentials don’t stop at regenerated synthetic fabric, the ultimate aim is to make the life cycle of Noma Swimwear fully circular. For this reason, the brand is piloting a ‘re-recycling’ initiative encouraging its customers to return their Noma swimwear after use for re-regeneration into new swimwear. In exchange, customers get a discount code against future purchases. “Synthetic fibres do not biodegrade – that’s the reason why they are so dangerous and polluting in the form of fishing nets in the JULY/AUGUST 2018 - 27



TALKING SHOP CWB takes a look at three childrenswear brands’ new stores.

ORGANIC ZOO 81 ST GEORGES ROAD, BRIGHTON Organic Zoo, the British brand known for organic, sustainably made and gender neutral babywear, has opened its first boutique. Building on its success as an etailer, the brand opened its physical home in Brighton in May, presenting a specially conceived retail space that acts both as a store and a showroom. It also provides a click and collect service for orders placed online. From the family-friendly area of Kemptown Village, just moments from the beach, the boutique showcases Organic Zoo’s signature designs and gifts for newborns. A handpicked selection of fellow brands complements the offering. In line with the store opening, Organic Zoo has redesigned its branding. A playful yet timeless new logo reflects how the label has evolved and portrays its love of simple, high quality design. New swing tags made from luxury, certified sustainable paper, which the brand has produced locally, were introduced last month. The branding refresh also coincides with a new, relaunched website, which offers an enhanced shopping experience. Founded in 2010, Organic Zoo is a spirited British brand that marries covetable design with a commitment to fair trade and the

environment. The brand prides itself on manufacturing its collections in Europe using only 100 per cent organic cotton and toxic-free, Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified dyes. The label’s signature minimalist style is non-seasonal, ideal for dressing newborn boys and girls alike, as well as for handing down. Organic Zoo’s ethical conscience also extends to its packaging, favouring plain mailing bags made from recycled sources over unnecessary tissue, card and paper to wrap its goods.





In May, handmade childrenswear label What Mother Made opened its first flagship shop in Hackney, East London. As well as stocking the brand’s seasonal collection, the store also features footwear, books, toys and lifestyle items from other labels including Olli Ella and A Folk Tale. A dedicated parents’ section meanwhile, offers Honest Skincare and Frank Green among other carefully selected brands.

As well as providing a retail space, the new flagship doubles as a studio where customers’ orders can be tailor-made and ready to collect in two hours, fresh from the cutting table. The shop marks a new chapter in the brand’s life and as a result, a commitment is being made to start new chapters for those in the community. Partnering with Quest, a charity that has been providing positive support through creative development projects to young people and families from Hackney since 1988, What Mother Made will be offering basic and advanced sewing classes for children aged 12 to 18 years. The aim being to help upscale a new generation of designers in the area. Owned by Charlotte Denn, London label What Mother Made offers childrenswear crafted for babies and toddlers aged 0 to 8 years, with each item carefully cut, sewn and pieced together. Collections are vintage-inspired, blending classic, traditional shapes with locally sourced fabrics and contrast prints. What Mother Made is an eco-friendly brand with a zero-wastage policy that sees it use every part of the fabric it buys.

Il Gufo, Italy’s leading childrenswear label created in 1980, has opened its first boutique in London at 313 Brompton Road, South Kensington. Inspiration for the London store, which opened in June, comes from Scandinavia, where oak and hornbeam wood dominate. The objective is to streamline the dimensions in store to create a warm ambiance and an almost homely environment. Wide windows let the spaces inside express themselves through entirely natural materials, the origins of which are regulated. Finishes in the store are all free of glue and synthetic substances reflecting the brand’s philosophy of placing nature and children at the focus of its attention. Il Gufo is headquartered in Asolo, a tiny village in the heart of the Venetian region in Italy, but it has a worldwide presence thanks to 12 flagship stores in Paris, Dubai, New York, Kiev, Moscow, Milan, Rome and Treviso as well as three outlets. The brand also has 10 global concessions in Beijing (Sin Kong Place), Tokyo (Isetan Shinjuku), Oaska (Hankyu), London (Harrods), Vienna (Steffl), Milan (La Rinascente), Beirut (ABC Dbayeh), Baku (Liberi Store), Doha (51 East) and Dubai (Level Kids), with more to follow.

Image: Gavriil Papadiotis (

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A NEW GENERATION OF AGENT Following a career break, childrenswear agent Gary Kirkland is returning to the business with the launch of Gary Kirkland Agencies (GKA). Armed with an exciting brand portfolio, a new showroom and a digital-led approach to business, Kirkland is all set for his comeback. Laura Turner learns more.

Laura Turner: Gary Kirkland Agencies (GKA) is a new venture, but you’re not new to childrenswear. What’s your story? Gary Kirkland: I started out in the business as a retailer. Things changed when I was given the opportunity to represent Pretty Originals, which at that stage was an up-and-coming brand in its infancy. Working closely with the proprietors I contributed to its development and prosperity. I thrive on building new brands from conception to success and I soon realised I wanted to represent more, which is when I sourced the Spanish brand Mayoral. It clearly stood out to me as a progressive, structured and dynamic company, which not only had success in Europe, but in other parts of the world too. I went on to introduce Mayoral to the UK and the North of England with great success. After that I continued to work as a childrenswear agent for over 10 years before deciding to do something different when my personal circumstances changed. I pursued a career working for the NHS helping people with mental health issues and that’s where I’ve been for the last 10 years. LT: What triggered your return to childrenswear and the launch of GKA? GK: Dinner with my good friend and fellow childrenswear agent Diane Shaw sparked my interest in returning. I realised I missed the challenges and vibrancy of the childrenswear market and building close relationships with clients. Plus, I still have a lot of friends in the industry. Visiting the INDX Kidswear show in February finally confirmed my commitment to returning and here I am. LT: What are GKA’s key strengths as an agency? GK: I have a great line-up of new brands that offer something unique to the UK market in 30 - JULY/AUGUST 2018

terms of style, quality and competitive price points. They all have excellent track records and many of them are designed and produced in their own country. I also have an excellent team working with me in Sharon Beardsworth, a great asset who I am delighted to have on board. Sharon has vast experience in the industry and is supported by her daughter Emily Beardsworth, founder of May Creative Marketing, who is handling GKA’s email campaigns and digital marketing.

LT: Can you tell me about your new showroom? GK: It’s located in Piece Mill in the historic quarter of Halifax, West Yorkshire, just a five-minute walk from the railway station. Piece Mill is an 18th Century textile mill that’s been sympathetically restored to retain all of its unique character, including wooden floors and exposed brickwork. It’s situated by the south gate of the 18th Century Piece Hall, which was recently renovated at a cost of £20m and now offers a great mix of independent shops, bars and

restaurants. Piece Mill works in collaboration with Leeds University, so I’m looking forward to welcoming fashion and textile students into the showroom to offer them some knowledge and experience of the industry. LT: Which brands do you currently represent? GK: I have Aigner, which is a German designer brand with more than 60 monobrand shops worldwide, including a prominent image in Asia. It’s for 0-14 years and wholesales from £10 to £30. Also Balloon Chic, a Greek brand designed and manufactured in Athens, which specialises in exclusive prints and luxurious fabrics. Sizes are 0-14 years and it wholesales at £15 to £35. The Kyly Group is significant as it’s among the largest companies in the children’s clothing market, producing over 15 million garments per year. I represent its five brands - Kyly, Milon, Amora, Lemon and Nanai – which cater for 0-16 years and wholesale from £5 to £20. Flying the flag for Yorkshire is Little Lord & Lady, a new children’s clothing brand inspired by traditional British style and culture. It offers seasonal collections featuring exclusive prints and excellent quality of fabrics for children aged six months to 14 years. Wholesale prices range from £10 to £25. For the ‘wow factor’ I have TwirlyGirl, a brand that boasts celebrity clients such as Suri Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s daughters. Designed and made in the USA, all of the dresses and outfits are made in limited runs and stretch and grow with the owner. It’s available for immediate delivery to approved UK retail accounts and wholesales from $11 to $50 plus delivery and duty. Chua is an established Portuguese brand I represent that specialises in beautifully designed children’s clothing. It offers amazing fabrics and prints and wholesales from £15 to £40. I also have Art & Eden, a pioneering New York based childrenswear label that has high visibility throughout the USA and is now expanding into Europe. It’s an organic brand, sustainably made using low impact dyes and recycled packaging. The collection will be fully launched for a/w 19, but clients can view the s/s 19 lookbooks at the showroom with UK prices to be confirmed. LT: Your track record proves you have a great eye for commercial brands. What is it you look for? GK: Quality of fabric and manufacture, but most importantly hanger appeal to draw a buyer or consumer to the garment. It doesn’t have to be a large brand, but do I look for companies who are stable, forward thinking and innovative. The brand also needs to have the customer at the

“I’VE ALWAYS HAD A PASSION FOR DISCOVERING NEW BRANDS AND LAUNCHING THEM TO THE UK MARKET.” — heart of everything it does; flexibility and good delivery for instance. LT: How do you plan to support retailers? GK: By working closely with them. I like to understand a retailer’s demographic and climatic as well as their style needs. This enables me to advise them on which brands to stock for the best return. A synchronisation of social media between the retailer, manufacture and GKA will then ensure the successful promotion and visibility of the brands the retailer invests in. Sensible allocation of exclusivity is also very important – I’m loyal to both my customers and my principles. LT: How has the role of an agent changed in the last decade? GK: I think the fundamentals are the same, but the overriding change is the arrival of B2C websites and social media. I really believe embracing digital marketing is imperative to the success of a collection in the current climate. The role, and challenge, for an agent nowadays is to be fair with exclusivity. It’s essential to liaise with manufacturers and retailers to agree on price points to prevent diluting a brand or creating price wars. LT: What are your views on the current UK childrenswear market? GK: The independent childrenswear market is still as vibrant and exciting as I remembered it. There are new challenges, but I’m confident

independent retailers will rise to these challenges and the difficult trading conditions. Independents have a key role to play in shaping the high street, particularly in city suburbs and provincial towns. Many of the retailers I’ve worked with in the past have an overwhelming passion for the business and a great role to play in providing a niche product with excellent service and price. I think retailers need to have confidence with their buying decisions and be open to new and upcoming brands arriving in the UK. Every shop needs to reflect and re-evaluate what they’re selling. They need to explore the great independent labels that are out in the world’s markets in order to grow their business further and give their customers a variety of choice. LT: What are the plans for GKA? GK: The next few months will be about establishing and consolidating GKA and building positive and fruitful relationships with my clients. I’m keen to elicit their feedback and see how we can support each other to deliver a mutually successful partnership. I have exciting plans to support my customers, particularly within the social media arena, to create strong brand presence and enhance brand awareness. I also have an excellent team around me who will be responsible for generating new business, both in the UK and abroad. All in all, I’m feeling very enthusiastic about the future. JULY/AUGUST 2018 - 31

for Schoolwear Specialists


14-16 October 2018 Register now to experience a new look and feel at a bigger & better show.

The Schoolwear Show is the biggest event in the schoolwear industry calendar, and this year’s show is bigger than EVER! Join us in October to meet new and existing suppliers and see new products and innovations during three days of great networking opportunities. Follow us: @SchoolwearShow TheSchoolwearShow

34: NEWS



SCHOOLWEAR NEWS The latest news from the schoolwear industry.

BACK TO SCHOOL WITH CHIPMUNKS Children’s footwear brand Chipmunks is set for the Back to School season with its wide range of school shoes, all of which adhere to uniform regulations. Made using durable, genuine leather, the shoes feature soft textile lining and non-marking, extra grip soles. They are also designed to be flexible and roomy to accommodate young feet, allowing them to grow naturally without restriction or pressure. The Back to School collection is available in two size ranges: Infant 4-12 UK (21-30 EU) and Junior 13-2 (32- 34 EU), with the Junior range shaped to suit and appeal to the older child.

ROWLINSON SHORTLISTED FOR NATIONAL AWARD Rowlinson Knitwear recently made the shortlist for the 2018 Responsible Business Champion Award. The schoolwear supplier was one of 18 UK firms shortlisted for the national accolade. Companies were selected for their support of the local community; investing in healthy workplaces; offering apprenticeships and training; working to reduce their environmental impact; and working with suppliers and SMEs to support responsible business practice. Nicola Ryan, head of people services at Rowlinson, who attended the Responsible Business Champions reception on 4 July at the House of Commons, says: “Being shortlisted acknowledges we are a socially responsible business that acts with care in all we do.”


PROMOTING THE BENEFITS OF SCHOOL UNIFORM The Schoolwear Association (SA) is urging school leaders to support its new initiative highlighting the benefits of school uniform. Launching its Every Child Is Worth It campaign, the SA wants to show that wearing an official uniform helps promote social equality, reduces bullying and alleviates stress in schools. “Every Child Is Worth It underlines the importance of a school-specific uniform to create a level playing field,” says David Burgess, chair of the SA. “In a world obsessed by appearances, it’s not surprising young people feel under pressure to wear a different outfit every day. We firmly believe that a school uniform fosters a powerful sense of community. It allows pupils to follow their interests, work together, and succeed academically. “Our suppliers run independent businesses and are often at the heart of a community,” Burgess continues. “They go to great lengths to ensure their uniforms can withstand the rigours of school life.”

Banner has announced the acquisition of F.R. Monkhouse, a leading independent schoolwear retailer based in the North West. Completed on 6 June 2018 and funded by growth capital investors MML Capital Partners, the acquisition represents a key step in Banner’s strategy to be the market leader in the supply of both uniform and sportswear to the schoolwear industry. The acquisition also reinforces Banner’s commitment to supporting the role strong independent retailers play in offering flexible and convenient ways for schools and parents to purchase school uniform and sportswear in a rapidly changing market. “Banner is committed to providing outstanding service to all of its retailers and this acquisition will give us valuable insights into how we can further improve our offer,” says Glenn Leech, Banner’s CEO. “We remain dedicated to raising standards across the industry and building even closer relationships with our retail partners.” F.R. Monkhouse’s MD, Peter Monkhouse, adds: “We are of course delighted to join the Banner Group and the future opportunities this acquisition will bring to enable us to meet our customers’ everchanging needs, while continuing to deliver outstanding service year-round and helping to drive the industry forward.” Following the acquisition, F.R. Monkhouse will continue to operate as normal with the same structure and team in place. There are also no changes to Banner’s operations.

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NEWS IN BRIEF The Schoolwear Show has launched a new website and branding. The annual trade event, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, is dedicated solely to the independent retailer. The three-day show enables visitors to meet existing and new suppliers faceto-face, view the industry’s latest product innovations and plan their Back to School campaigns. The next edition of the Schoolwear Show takes place on 14-16 October 2018 at Cranmore Park, Solihull.


Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Hove has partnered with non-profit organisation Smarter Uniforms on a recycling scheme that gives used schoolwear items a new lease of life. Via collection boxes located at the secondary school, pupils can donate their old school uniform items. Smarter Uniform then collects and repairs the garments in order for them to be resold to parents at a reduced cost.

Established independent school uniform supplier, Identity, has relocated to a new store. Previously situated on Cavendish Street in Barrow town centre, the business recently moved to Furness Business Park in Peter Green Way, Barrow in Furness. Identity is a member of the Schoolwear Association and works closely with the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the National Governors’ Association.

Call: 0161 477 7791 E-mail:



SCHOOLWEAR ASSOCIATION AWARDS 2018 CWB brings you everything you need to know about this year’s Schoolwear Association Awards, an initiative introduced last year to recognise the hard work carried out by those in the schoolwear industry.

WHAT ARE THE SCHOOLWEAR ASSOCIATION AWARDS? The annual Schoolwear Association Awards are a platform to celebrate the schoolwear sector, held by the representative body of the industry, the Schoolwear Association. The awards are designed to recognise the hard work carried out by members of the Association and to also highlight their achievements throughout the year. 

A LOOK BACK AT THE SCHOOLWEAR ASSOCIATION AWARDS 2017 Last year marked the launch of the Schoolwear Association Awards, which culminated in a grand finale presentation ceremony following the first day of the Schoolwear Show. Representatives, and those that strive to push the industry forwards, were welcomed to the Strictly Come Dancing themed evening to celebrate the awards and mark the end of the year.  Some of the winners from last year included Whittakers Schoolwear, which was awarded Best Schoolwear Specialist. Whittakers Schoolwear was commended for making positive changes to its store, which subsequently resulted in an increase in sales. Judges also praised its consistent involvement with schools and the local community.  In the award for Outstanding Service to Schoolwear, Rob Facey of William Turner was celebrated for his 40 years of dedication to the company in his role as UK production manager.  Other winners from 2017 included Stevensons, which scooped Best Digital Schoolwear following a website upgrade to improve customer experience. Rowlinson Knitwear, meanwhile, took the title of Best Schoolwear Supplier for its exceptional customer care.  >>> JULY/AUGUST 2018 - 37


Durability in mind. Ethics at heart..


SCHOOLWEAR ASSOCIATION AWARD CATEGORIES 2018 All members of the Association are asked to nominate either their business, an employee or another member, for any of the six award categories, providing reasons why the nominee is a deserving winner of the industry standard award. This year’s categories are as follows:

BEST SCHOOLWEAR SPECIALIST 2018 • (Less than 10 full time staff )  • (More than 10 full time staff )  The Best Schoolwear Specialist Award looks to recognise a schoolwear specialist with strong financials, great relationships with schools, quality customer service, staff tenure and examples that show the business goes the extra mile. 

BEST SCHOOLWEAR SUPPLIER 2018 Winners of this award will be a medium-to-large scale schoolwear supplier. Candidates need to have strong business operations and financials, as well as great customer service and staff tenure. Examples of providing extra as a business will also be noted.  

BEST DIGITAL SCHOOLWEAR 2018 Judges of this award will be looking for pioneering digital leaders in the schoolwear industry. Engaging content, innovative use of social media, websites and Epos will all be noted, irrespective of business size. 

BEST COMMUNITY PARTNER 2018 This award will recognise members that are selfless and philanthropical. Judges will be looking for outstanding qualities and hard work that show a real commitment to the community. This can be in their own local area or on a more national or international basis with initiatives that show support to disadvantaged children and their families. 

OUTSTANDING SERVICE TO SCHOOLWEAR 2018 This individual will truly encompass the trade; they will be passionate and believe in the industry and what it works towards. This can be anyone within the Association that has demonstrated great commitment to schoolwear. 

“I am thrilled to be holding a second year of awards for those involved in the schoolwear industry. It is important that we really continue to recognise the great work that the members and individuals do on a daily basis. Work that supports the industry and maintains important standards across school uniform for those that really matter; the children, families and the schools. I think the awards are a great opportunity to shine a light on those that really put everything into benefitting this industry and continuing the growing momentum in the universal recognition for good quality and durable school uniform for every child.”

THE JUDGES The 2018 judging panel will be led by Laura Turner, editor of CWB magazine together with Ken Scates, president of the National Childrenswear Association (NCWA) and Joyce Daly, former Schoolwear Show organiser. The judges will be responsible for determining a shortlist of winners and runners-up.

Eco-uniforms have far-reaching benefits. Did you know the average senior school committing to our Eco-uniform will prevent 36,000 bottles from going to landfill*. With those 36,000 bottles lined up, it is the equivalent distance to:



HOW TO APPLY Award entry is free and can only be made by Schoolwear Association members, but you can nominate others in the industry as well as your own business.  All members should have received details of the awards and an entry from. If not, please contact the Schoolwear Association at  Closing date for all entries is 31 August 2018 


4,250 TIMES A students Eco-uniform will prevent 70% of the plastic bottles they throw away from going to landfill.

The bottles saved from landfill through each Eco-uniform garment include:









With 18,300 registered Eco-Schools in the UK, it is a great time to talk to schools about our Eco-uniform. To discover more about Eco-uniform and how David Luke could help you make the switch visit: or call: 0161 272 7474. Email: 38 - JULY/AUGUST 2018


An average Eco-uniform student saves 30 bottles from going to landfill through the uniform they have purchased.

BENEFITS OF ENTERING THE 2018 AWARDS All winners of the selected awards will be announced at this year’s Schoolwear Association fundraising evening. Titled Let Us Entertain You, the event takes place on Sunday 14 October 2018 at the Village Hotel, Solihull, following the first day of the Schoolwear Show. In addition to the awards presentation, the evening fundraiser will include a three-course dinner and live entertainment.  As well as the award, all winners and runners-up will be promoted by the Schoolwear Association via social media and in the press. Those shortlisted will be exclusively revealed via CWB online and also featured in CWB’s September/October print issue. 


‘*Based on an average sized school of 1,200’.





Abel & Lula 07562 473487 A Monday in Copenhagen 0045 31371200 Annice 0034 937243618 Apples to Pears 01453 826759 Arcas Bear Arch & Line Art & Eden 07787 415792

B Banner 0333 7000888 Bizzi Growin 01257 230087 British Footwear Association 01933 229005

G Gary Kirkland Agencies 07787 415792 Grass & Air 0161 272 5873

• THE SCHOOLWEAR SHOW A comprehensive preview of the exhibition’s offer for Back to School 2019


Iglo + Indi 07855 509069


Jammie Doodles 07838 243800

• SCHOOLWEAR ASSOCIATION AWARDS 2018 Exclusive first-look at the shortlisted entries for this year’s awards


• CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE Children’s gift ideas available to get in-store in time for Christmas

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SCHOOLWEAR EMBROIDERY PRINTING We also offer a full embroidery and printing service whereby you can expect to receive the goods back, ready to sell or wear; making it an easy, hassle-free process.


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Laney Clothing 07708 818162 Lil’ Boo 0045 31143320 Lillan Gorillan 07966 277043 Lillster 0046 7057 14649 Lilly + Sid 01788 824455 Little Concepts 0117 2302112 Little Lord & Lady 07787 415792

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Chris, Carol, Lisa & Ray are the team behind Orchard, a leading second generation childrens clothing agency in the UK, with expertise in London and the South East. Orchard Agency, 28 Fourth Avenue, Frinton-on-Sea, Essex CO13 9DX Tel: 01255 674301 Email: carol&

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With 50 years of schoolwear wholesaling behind us we are proud to continue supplying top quality school uniform with excellent stock availability and competitive prices to boot!

C Chipmunks 0115 9246321 F From Babies with Love 0800 6891912 Frugi 07880 491437 FUB 07855 509069






Established for over 25 years, two generations, covering all areas of the UK. Representing leading brands from Europe, Canada and Russia. Catering for boys and girls 0 to 16 years. Styling from contemporary to traditional. FUN & FUN, LE CHIC, DEUX PAR DEUX, FOQUE, SARDON, LARANJINHA, JEYCAT, GULLIVER, ATTIC 21 Weldon Agencies, Southport, Merseyside Tel: 01704 576033 Email:,

VANHUIZEN AGENCIES Van Huizen Agencies is a young, fresh and vibrant agency, for the more discerning retailer requiring beautiful and unique collections. OILILY KIDS, ROOM SEVEN KIDS, RAP KIDS SHOES Unit 12, Derwent Business center, Clarke Street, DERBY DE1 2BU Tel: 07967 560633 Email:


R Rowlinson Knitwear 0161 477 7791 S Schoolwear Association Smalls 020 7002 7799 Start-Rite Shoes 01603 595200 T

The New Society Timirim Toucan Blue 07973 327138 Twinkledust 07855 832716

W What Mother Made 07817 893416 Z Zinc 00359 898 662173

New organic label with a unique concept are looking for a distributor in the UK.

TO ADVERTISE IN THE CWB DIRECTORY PLEASE EMAIL MICHELE The Telegraph(UK) March 2015 “I am impressed by this organic babywear brand”.


Tel: +31(0)30 7514025 Email: 40 - JULY/AUGUST 2018

JULY/AUGUST 2018 - 41


TALKING POINT MARK BARNETT NCWA chairman and owner of Barnett Agencies Mark Barnett discusses his new role as chairman of the National Childrenswear Association (NCWA).

Laura Turner: Before discussing your appointment, can you tell me about your background in childrenswear? Mark Barnett: I have been working in the childrenswear sector for six years. I took Barnett Agencies over from my father when he retired after 50 years in the industry. My experience includes work with children’s shoe and gift brands, plus many childrenswear labels from all corners of the world. I currently work with five great brands - Hatley, Emile et Rose, Lilly + Sid, Patachou and The Essential One - with my area covering 18 counties in the Midlands and Wales. LT: Can you explain NCWA’s role within the childrenswear industry? MB: The National Childrenswear Association, also known as The Childrenswear Association, brings together manufacturers, retailers and agents. It is, as far as we know, unique in that it brings together those three sectors. In other European countries, childrenswear tends not to have its own federation, with boyswear going with menswear and girlswear with womenswear. Childrenswear is, however, a very special part of the clothing industry with its own concerns and needs. In the UK (and Ireland), childrenswear has long enjoyed different rules under VAT legislation. The zero-rating of childrenswear and footwear for VAT purposes in the UK is of inestimable value. NCWA regularly campaigns for the retention of this zero-rating, for example when a new Chancellor of the Exchequer is appointed or there is a change of Government. It also keeps a vigilant eye on the rules that determine the size of garments that are zero-rated. 42 - JULY/AUGUST 2018

For the last 14 years there have been specific Standards on the Safety of Childrenswear. The first one was on Cords and Drawstrings and it has since been twice revised. Indeed, NCWA volunteered to provide the Secretariat to the European Standards Organisation Working Group on the Safety of Childrenswear when it was formed in 2001 and it continues to do so. Work has also taken place on Mechanical Safety with a resulting Technical Report, much of which was based on the existing British Standard first introduced in 1997. Current topics under consideration include the attachment of buttons, press fasteners and rivets and other similar components which are difficult to test. If NCWA did not do all the work it does on safety standards there would be no UK voice in the European Standards Organisation and companies would have to meet requirements that reflect custom and practice in other countries. LT: What are some of the key benefits to membership? MB: It can help with the sourcing of garments, the finding of brands, the selection of agents and even the resolution of the odd disagreement between different sectors. Regular newsletters keep members up-to-date on changes in legislation, from employment matters and labelling through to Standards and VAT. NCWA’s website provides a free page to all its members – an invaluable resource to smaller companies and start-ups. Another benefit is the discounts that can be obtained on such things as insurance, energy prices, photography and marketing design. NCWA also prides itself on being able to answer any member query – if it does not know the answer, it will know someone who does. LT: What attracted you to the role of chairman? MB: NCWA is an organisation I believe in. I’ve been on the council for five years; last year I became vice chairman and in June I took over as chairman. I want to see NCWA become more current, embracing digital technology and social media to offer members an up-to-date service with the same great values. I relish this challenge and hope to guide our board and council members to work towards it.


LT: What’s your leadership style? MB: I lead by example. I would not ask anyone to do a job I would not, or have not, done myself. I am also a hard worker and a good communicator. I pride myself on the fact that whatever I do in life, I do to the best of my ability. LT: What’s first on your agenda? MB: Communication. I would like far more people in the industry to be aware of NCWA. This will be a three-pronged attack. Firstly, embrace technology and use it to offer a greater service to our members. Secondly, to work alongside CWB with digital and hard copies promoting NCWA and thirdly, a new childrenswear trade fair to promote NCWA and bring manufacturers, retailers and agents together. LT: And your long-term plans? MB: If I can achieve all of the above, I believe it would attract considerably more members to NCWA, which ultimately would lead to anyone in the industry wanting to become a member. LT: What do you see driving the future of the industry? MB: The internet and social media, especially Instagram, are playing a huge role. Children’s fashion influencers inspire consumer fans to purchase products, which in turn encourages image conscious parents using social media to share their cute offspring’s latest looks, and the wheels of fashion keep turning. LT: And the industry’s challenges? MB: The internet is also a huge challenge. We need to embrace digital and work with it, but it does give everyone the ability to view, shop around and buy, which is having a devastating impact on our high streets. The challenge is how we work with the internet, yet keep our high streets thriving. LT: What’s your ultimate vision for NCWA? MB: For it to be an organisation synonymous with the childrenswear industry, one that offers a great service and that its members are proud to be part of.

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CWB Issue 112  

CWB Issue 112