Spain is the birthplace of the youngest clothes | Economy

Spain is the birthplace of the youngest clothes | Economy



Children's fashion with the logo made in Spain seduces the world. In the last two decades, this market niche has made its way into a competitive textile industry thanks to its original designs in clothing, shoes and accessories. His success has been such that from the Dukes of Cambridge to personalities such as Victoria Beckham have dressed their offspring with some garment that bears the Spanish stamp. "The country is the cradle of Europe in clothing and children's articles," says Lores Segura, director of the Spanish Association of Products for Children (Asepri). But occupying that site has not been easy. The brands have faced a deep digital transformation that has been mixed with an economic crisis and changes in consumer habits.

"They have known how to anticipate the demands of the new consumer, with a better image and, above all, with competitive prices," Segura points out. Today they are a reference. "Customers consider our brands to be trend and luxury brands because of their design and innovation," he adds. This segment is experiencing a sweet moment, with a growing turnover that in 2017 amounted to 1,228 million euros, according to the latest data from Asepri. Now he is going for more and hopes to keep adding followers at the International Fair of Children and Youth Fashion (Fimi), which will be held in Madrid from February 1 to 3. The space will be the opportunity for national and foreign companies to present their products to professionals from more than 30 countries.

"La Fimi becomes more international than ever", say from Feria Valencia and Ifema, co-organizers of the meeting. "The event is a showcase," says Marta Coloma, director of Ma Petite Lola, a company from Alicante that has garments made only with recycled fabrics. "The fair is a bridge that connects the brand with many industry professionals", adds this businesswoman who will share the space with various national firms such as Abel & Lula by Mayoral, Belán, Canada House, Foque, JV José Varón, Oca Loca , Tuc Tuc and Yoedu. "We strive to select the most relevant badges and with projection in the sector to offer a different and quality offer," added the organizers of the veteran event, which began its trajectory in Valencia in 1962, linked to the Toy Fair.

In 1976 the Fimi became independent and from 1980 began its consolidation process, with the celebration for the first time of two editions per year: spring-summer and autumn-winter. In May 2018, Magical Day by Fimi was also added, an appointment dedicated to communions and ceremonies. In these more than 50 years of experience, those attending the event have witnessed the changes that the industry has undergone, which began to take shape in the sixties, through imitation in the way the bourgeoisie dress. The exquisite embroidery was the main ornament of the exclusive models of those years. It was the time of tailored suits and also the introduction of the tergal (a synthetic polyester fiber).

The confection in those times was handmade. It was sewed mainly at home, as they recall in the sector. Although there was no industry, Spanish children's fashion was already beginning to gain prestige abroad due to its perfect finish. In the seventies, customers opted for comfort and functional designs in children's models. The craftwork was replaced by the industrial and synthetic fibers were the preferred materials. During the eighties, this niche began its transformation to the casual, a trend that extended until the nineties.

It was at the beginning of this new millennium when Spanish children's fashion began its true international commitment. At that time reigned the most robust and novel manufacturing models. The textile industry was consolidated both in the local market and abroad. The first objective was to bring the models (full of different styles, finishes, colors and fabrics) to European countries. This jump has been one of the catalysts that have driven the sector specialized in children from 0 to 16 years. And also, in times of economic crisis, it has been their salvation.

Pull on the outside

Now, 54% of the total turnover of the sector comes from abroad, according to Asepri. The European Union is the main destination, although it continues to lose weight. The zone represents 66% of sales abroad, compared to the 79% it controlled in 2011. This has been a consequence of a greater dynamism shown by new markets, such as those in North America. Italy is the main customer, concentrating around one sixth of foreign sales. Portugal (11%), the United Kingdom (8%) and Greece (7%) follow at a great distance. Outside the EU, Mexico, Russia and the US account for 16%. "Spanish brands offer quality collections at democratic prices," Segura argues.

Samples of this will be given at the next meeting of the Fimi -which traditionally took place in Valencia and which moved to Madrid in January 2014-, where you can also see some models of international firms, such as the Italian Please or Birba and Trybeyond. Or the Portuguese Laranjinha, Play Up or Ponto for Ponto. There will be space for the most avant-garde, minimalist or eco friendly collections of companies such as Arsène et les Pipelettes, Jim & Lucy, Maison Lex or Message in the Bottle. Likewise, the designs of Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Nieves Álvarez and Francis Montesinos will be on a professional catwalk specializing in children's fashion that will open its doors to the public for the first time.

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