Jul 03, 2018 | By Erin Rechner
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Unlike many designers who enter the Children’s market, Tia Cibani’s foray into the kids’ market was a bit different. The former creative director for Ports1961 founded kicokids in response to her cousin’s urgings to create a children’s line and not as a result of having her own children. Kicokids launched in early 2004 and was initially a hobby for Tia. “It was a fun project that allowed me to do what I love without the complexities and pressures of the women’s wear industry,” Tia recalls. What begin as a hobby quickly grew into a global sensation followed by a pop-up shop in New York City and most recently an exclusive collaboration with Anthropologie for a Girls’ collection, Belgium-based Nathalie Verlinden for a footwear line and Payton Turner for wallpaper. During the summer of 2010, Tia made the decision to leave Ports1961 and focus entirely on kicokids. Here is an excerpt of our brand profile on kicokids.
Your collection is sophisticated yet whimsical. How important is it that your collection mirrors what’s trending in adults’?
Quite often in children’s wear, the perception is that they grow so fast that their dress style does not need to be special or individual. I believe children are just as aware of beauty, quality and self-expression as much as any adult. Giving them the chance to experience well-constructed garments with interest and depth is an education in itself. Just as you can share with them unique architecture to enrich their minds, unique garments can and will give them just as much inspiration. For me, it is important that the collection is in tune with market trends. It is a personal endeavor as I am so much a part of the industry through my history. It is also that we view our customers as both the child and the parents. The parents are urban and trend-driven and to satisfy both, the collection needs to feel new and hip, yet carry the nostalgia, innocence, and humor that will engage the child to appreciate it.
You’ve been designing for children since 2003. What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the Childrenswear industry?
The biggest change I’ve seen in the industry is the recent want for high-end designer children’s clothing. When I first started working on kicokids, there was hardly any interest from big brands to pay attention to the kids’ market potential. It appears now that they have woken up to it from multiple perspectives. The revenue potential is one factor but I think that having a children’s wear range helps to round out the profile of a bigger brand. I do feel that the kids’ world is more about lifestyle than hard-core fashion.
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