The childrenswear market in the U.S. is not what it used to be. For a very long time, childrenswear was a static, predictable, and very classic market. From one season to the next, the looks were the same, routine. In fact, in the early going it was not much of a ‘designer marketplace’.
Europe, however, had long been the situs of the creative childrenswear market. In 1909, Jeanne Lanvin began the practice when she began making clothing for her daughter; clothing so beautiful that many wealthy Europeans began requesting copies for their own children. The trend finally made its way across the pond and has exploded in recent years.
Now that designers have entered the children’s apparel scene, the clothes have become expressive, colorful, unique and daring. And as children love to don bold, eye-catching, expressive clothing, it is a match made in heaven. Today’s childrenswear designers enjoy unparalleled freedoms and creative license. The designer who grabs this freedom by the tail -- tilting towards the beautiful or creative or imaginative as their passions permit -- grants their audience and followers a gift to behold.
Such a sublime honor was bestowed upon the 300 or so attendees of Saturday’s Fashion Forward! runway show. Among the collections on the runway on the final evening of Chicago’s Fall Fashion Week 2014 was Alicia Akers’ Alexandria Olivia. In Akers’ words, “Alexandria Olivia is a unique fashion experience for your one of a kind child. My custom made outfits are guaranteed to turn heads wherever you go.“ And so they did. Akers launched her Spring/Summer 2015 collection to enormous fanfare.
“I have been sewing for over 30 years,” said Akers, “but I never had an interest in sewing for children until my daughter was born. Designing luxury children’s clothing is now my passion.” A fact that was evident on the runway.
Vivacity, fabrication, detail, creativity and design were all present in this collection. According to Akers, “Alexandria Olivia has a combination of funky, modern, fabulous, and exclusive outfits for children. I take great pride, time, and patience in making each and every outfit special”.
With collections like that of Alexandria Olivia, this year’s Fall Fashion Week was truly a conference in creativity, beauty and grace. It is fairly safe to say that Chicagoans have been hereby imbued with a sufficient dose of inspiration; certainly enough to carry us all through the long winter months and into spring.