Some quick thoughts on SS24 prior to focusing on AW/ FW23

It’s almost time to switch our focus to the AW/ FW23 drops, but before we do let’s have a quick look at the SS24 selling season. On the whole there was a lot of promising feedback, and opportunities are there for the taking, however there were also a few points made from buyers which we’ll discuss later.

The Apartment Area @PittiBimbo – a ‘solid’ space.

Brands exhibiting at Pitti Bimbo in the Apartment seemed pretty pleased. This area at the show is becoming a ‘solid’ space for design led premium independents – each brand complimenting each other but also standing out to the buyer. This season we saw the return of The Middle Daughter who nestled nicely in between Paade Mode & Tia Cibani. It was a happy return for the UK based label.

The Middle Daughter hats for kids

International buyers looking for variety & newness.

When talking with a number of international buyers they expressed wanting to see more variety amongst the exhibitors allowing them to discover ‘new finds’. The feedback was that no single show was quite hitting it with this. Who knows what the magic formula might be, we are still fighting our way back to ‘normal’ post pandemic times and this is bound to take a while. kidswear and kids’ lifestyle brands might want to look more to the mens/ womens’ industry in the ways of dynamic and progressive presentation. Buyers (according to themselves) need a bit more spoiling, (don’t we all :) Many new brands showing potential didn’t quite have their overall offer to a point that buyers could be confident taking them on. Playtime, New York on the other hand doesn’t mess with the frivolities of smoozing the buyer. US style is to keep it simple, and be prepared to do business. I guess the best advice is to know your market, your buyers, and adapt according to the sales and buying culture.

It is harder and harder for buyers to take on new small labels despite needing a varied range in their offer. Young brands need to make sure they offer good visuals, sharp delivery times and fair prices. Which is hard, but can be done and by doing so you make it much easier for buyers to add you to their shopping list. They are looking for you, I promise!

Block printing the good, the bad and the ugly.

Block printing has been a huge and much loved technique in kids’ fashion for over a decade or so and there is definitely good and bad on the market. It is relatively easy to differentiate between the pro’s and the pretenders so there needs to be multiple points of difference and a unique look in order to stand out against the established brands. Be different, being distinct from the established pros is tough, but essential.

Boho style infuses ‘edge’.

We are seeing an evolution of ‘boho style’ emerge for SS24 – infusing into some collections. For example The New Society’s ‘LA’ inspired photographic prints onto denim. It’s cool and fresh from this well established and loved label. (Can’t show a picture of it so here is a picture of a denim vest)

The New society denim vest

There are lots of interesting new kids’ collections and labels on the market.

I don’t like hearing that there is ‘nothing interesting on the market’. There are so many new labels that developed or launched during the ‘pandemic years’. Most however directly targeted the consumer building their own following before now venturing to wholesale. It’s interesting that many have come from the business side of large companies and arrive to market with an already healthy address book. As a result we can see great quality products being offered from young brands already with good knowledge of the market. I’ll be introducing you to them here on Pirouette blog soon. The rule goes that brands should be 80% business and 20% creative and whilst many would prefer for this to be the other way around it’s important to note that many of those who prosper maintain this principle.

Research, react and reach out.

Pick your show, we can’t do it all trust me I’ve tried ;) be clever, research and don’t let the rush of securing a spot blind you from what is best for your brand. Look at your stand location and find out the brands you sit well beside in the market. If you can get near them it could advantage you. Each trade show is different, as are the buyers. Try and find out who’s coming and make contact ahead of the show!

I had the pleasure of meeting Britney from Pierced Co doing some research at Playtime New York. She wasn’t exhibiting at this edition but hoped to do so at the next one. A really good example of studying your market, she connected with many of us at the show and Pirouette even interviewed her which will be shared soon. Make sure to reach out. Buyers & press are so much more likely to visit you. That being said please please forgive us if we don’t get to your stand. Time is limited and usually after shows I’ve lost my voice from speaking so much :) But if we don’t know you’re there the likelihood of us finding you is very small.

pierced co hypoallergenic earings

It is an interesting period for the kidswear sector. It’s not an easy market, but then has it ever been? The business is out there for those who innovate and ‘disrupt’ whilst maintaining the good business practices of value, quality and responsibility. There has to be a shift, a modernisation of what we’re used to and I fully support it.

Editors Notes

If you have any questions for me in the lead up to the AW/FW24 trade show selling season brands, retailers, industry professionals please don’t hesitate to get in touch at

It’s also worth checking with your country’s trade association to see if there are grants to help young businesses to exhibit Internationally. Its something I need to get up to speed with post-pandemic but there was help via the UKFT, ICEX, ENTERPRISE GORGIA, CENIT. FROM PORTUGAL  etc…

Dates & Links, Trade Shows AW/FW24 wholesale selling season

Pitti Bimbo 17th-19th January, click here

Playtime Paris 27th -29th January, click here

CIFF Kids 31st January -2nd February, click here

Playtime New York & Kids Hub, click here 


Feature image @jogordonknitwear