SF’s brand manager Elaine Fyfe discusses the impact of Instagram and influencers, the twinning trend and the continued appeal of athleisure

What are the key design trends in childrenswear?

The big trend across the board is still athleisure, which continues to grow, and with influence coming from adults’ clothing, this trend has filtered through to childrenswear. Kids really want to wear what the grown-ups are wearing, which has become a trend in itself, with ‘twinning’ now becoming a familiar term across the high street and within the personalisation market.

Elaine Fyfe, brand manager at SF Clothing

And the key colour and fabric trends?

Black is a fashion favourite and nowadays this is also true in childrenswear. There’s much less demand for typical gender-associated kids’ colours and more demand for core colours like black, heather grey and navy. There’s a real ‘cool kid’ vibe coming through and even the youngest fashionistas want to coordinate their looks with matching colours across different styles.

How is the ‘mini me’ or ‘twinning’ trend influencing product development?

There’s no doubt that we’ve seen the impact of this trend reflected in the growth of SF Minni sales, and the ‘mini me’ styling is definitely increasing in popularity. Our customers have been continually asking for kids’ versions of their favourite SF styles; we now offer 18 styles that coordinate from SF Minni kids’ styles through to the main SF range for adults. It’s a great opportunity for the decoration market as personalised matching sets have proven to be popular, particularly for online businesses.

We’re launching new SM083 Kids’ Tartan Lounge Pants in October as the men’s and women’s versions have been a huge hit and customers are asking for the kids’ equivalent.

Which fabrics do you expect to increase in popularity in childrenswear?

Due to the impact of the athleisure trend, you’ll see more stretch fabrics and polyester-based fabric in childrenswear as, again, kids want to match what they see adults wearing! The SF Minni Reversible Leggings, Fashion Cropped Top and Fashion Workout Vest have proven to be very popular, particularly with our loyal dancewear customers who are looking for more trend-led fashion styles. 

The ‘mini me’ trend is growing in popularity

How much has the childrenswear market changed since SF Minni launched?

SF Mini launched with just one style in 2004 and has evolved alongside the adults’ SF Clothing range with fashion trends. It’s important to be constantly aware of new and upcoming trends and identify the styles that will stick around so we can offer customers stylish and high-quality products for years to come. The next generation are more conscious about fluidity and the freedom to express themselves, and clothing is undoubtedly a big part of that movement. 

What are the main types of decorations currently seen on childrenswear? 

I’ve seen a lot of vinyl used on childrenswear. If printing a club name or logo (for dance, cheer, gymnastics or schools, for example), a single colour can look really strong and is good for smaller groups compared to the cost of screen printing for a larger scale. Nowadays, there is a wonderful array of glitter, flocks and holographic vinyls which can make the most basic or tired logos come to life!

Glitter on black garments is so effective, though it can be more difficult to work with compared to standard vinyl as you can’t see the cut lines so easily.

What’s the single best piece of marketing and/or sales advice you can give to Images readers to help them sell more childrenswear?

Kids are very savvy; don’t underestimate them! There’s so much influence from social media, TV and their friends at school that kids have grown up quicker than they might have in years gone by. Kids are scrolling through Instagram; they’re following their favourite influencers like Zoella and make-up artists like James Charles; they’re watching tutorial videos and are having fun trying out new looks. Make good use of all the platforms available to you, extend your reach and interact with your audience. A fun and friendly social media presence can take you a long way.