Kidswear based on sports theme is emerging as one of the major categories in the clothing segment, thanks to the growing interest of young consumers in various sports activities. Images Business of Fashion explores the various dynamics of this category.
Messi, Dhoni, Kohli and Ronaldo are not just names but have a greater association with young enthusiasts. They have actually been accredited as fashion icons. Every young kid today wants to don t-shirts, jerseys and sports shoes endorsed by their favourite sports icons. And, there is no second opinion that sports theme kidswear is emerging as a major category in the kidswear segment.
Clothing with sports theme imprinted on them has become a rage with kids today. Abhishek Ganguly, MD, Puma, India shares his opinion on the potential of this category, “The ecosystem in which we exist is evolving rapidly. Kids are better aware today and follow what is in trend; they are also a lot more active. With so much information available, they are always on the lookout for new styles to adopt. We see it as a category with huge potential.”
Today’s kids are also highly involved in sports activities like cricket, swimming and soccer, which defines them as young potential customers of sports theme based clothing. They are extremely fashion conscious and are ready to experiment with clothing and footwear. Currently, the kidswear category based on sports theme is dominated by boys with a 70:30 split. Increase in disposable income coupled with retail blitz has brought a sea change in the Indian kid’s apparel market.
Sonal Jain, VP – Brand, Lotto opines, “With such great potential in the category, many footwear brands have launched a dedicated line for kids’ segment. Thus, in the coming years, the kidswear segment will see an upward graph of profitability, opportunities and employment.”
Lotto launched sports theme based kids’ shoes recently and the initial response was encouraging. The brand expects a year-on-year (YOY) growth of at least 20-25 percent in future. Puma informs that the brand has seen 30 percent growth year on year. Ajay Kathuria, MD, Finger Chips divulges that there are a few essentials of creating sports-themed kidswear collection.
“Before working on any sports theme collection, we need to understand what kids like and what they are looking for. We need to read their minds and accordingly focus on style and functional innovations,” he says. Kathuria further explains that they explore the international as well as domestic markets before commencing work on the collection.
Jain believes that comfort factor along with a sporty element in the design should ideally be followed in every article considering the fashion trend prevalent. Like any other category, constant vigilance on the changing fashion trends, technology advancement, seasonal colours, etc. should be followed to develop a forward line every season.
Products should have good technology conducive to performance and should be priced smartly. That is perhaps the most important feature required in kids’ sportswear. Other factors to be kept in mind are ease of care, level of comfort, trendiness and fashion.
Kids are almost always inspired to pick up products that are worn by athletes they see on screen and on field. For brands, this can be a challenge as well as an opportunity to meet this specific demand. Puma has the evoPOWER 4.2 FG Jr., which is a soccer shoe priced at Rs. 3,999. For running, Puma introduced Narita V@ Jr. priced at Rs. 4,499, and the Sequence Jr. Priced at Rs. 3,999.
The brand also has the Arsenal replica t-shirts and is the franchisee of motorsport brands including BMW and Ferrari. For motorsport, Puma has narrow silhouettes of motorsport shoes. For running, it has knitted uppers, one-piece mid soles in vibrant colours.
Puma has also introduced FAAS, which boasts of bioride technology; basically it is a lightweight shoe and has flex grooves. It offers soccer shoes with EverGrip technology for power and accuracy. For kids’ apparels, Puma has dry cell and mesh inserts and they never design apparels with draw chords making it kids friendly.
Lotto’s kids’ shoes are developed for running purpose. However, they have been designed with the objective of multisport and leisure use as well. Priced between Rs. 1,599 and Rs. 2,299, their spring summer 2015 collection is designed keeping in mind kids’ tastes and aspirations. The collection is available in attractive colour patterns, like royal blue, lime green and red to name a few.
At Lotto, designs are not taken from the existing adult category. The style elements are developed for kids suitable to their age group. Lotto shoes are lightweight and the sole has eva pacer with rubber portions on the spots where usage is the most for maximum durability. The ultra-light eva thermo-pierced midsole maximises the comfort factor in the shoe.
The spring summer 2015 collection from Finger Chips is inspired by digital prints, which incorporates three-fourth pants, t-shirts, etc. in bright and colourful hues featuring different sports themes like football, soccer, basketball and more. The collection is priced between Rs. 595 and Rs. 1,495. Finger Chips also has a wide array of sports theme collections, namely FC Bikers, FC Sports and FC Karting. Metros and tier-I cities are the top markets for sports theme based kidswear. For Puma, the north of India including Delhi, NCR and Chandigarh are the top market where sports theme kidswear sells the most.
Puma footwear for kids is sold through 25 key stores. The brands has partnered with big names like Kapkids, Iconic Kids, and Chrome, who are making significant investments in kids’ range. Lotto has 85 mono brand stores and more than 200 shop-in-shop counters in formats like Reliance Footprint, Shoppers Stop, etc. The brand is also present in 5,000 multi-brand outlets (MBOs) through distribution network. Finger Chips has presence pan India through MBOs like Ritu Wears, Aristocrat, Bachoomal, and Bindals. It is also present online at Jabong, Myntra, Flipkart, Amazon and Firstcry.