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Paging through old issues of Earnshaw’s from the ’60s, I laughed out loud when I learned we called those 8 …

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Tweens re-write the fashion rules.

Paging through old issues of Earnshaw’s from the ’60s, I laughed out loud when I learned we called those 8 to 12 inbetweeners “sub-teens.” Now they’re simply dubbed “tweens.” But both these names betray the fact that we haven’t quite figured them out. They are more sophisticated than toddlers, but not as precocious as teenagers. We’ve crafted special fashions for them, “taking down” junior and women’s styles and tweaking them to be age appropriate. It’s a thankless middle where manufacturers are often criticized by moms for cutting garments that look too mature, and by kids who worry about appearing baby-ish. Designers at the top of their game strike the right note of measured maturity.

In the ’60s, tweens were just starting to get some individual attention for their power over household decision-making, and today their wealth of purchasing control in the market has only increased. Tweens are a highly desirable demographic for manufacturers, marketers and retailers to harness for their fearless fashion sense and wildfire peer-to-peer influence through traditional and online channels.

For our fashion story “Folk Tale,” shot by Cleo Sullivan, our tween models don one of their most preferred uniforms—denim jeans and tees exuding rebel cool—with a backdrop of a Long Island farm.

In our feature “Tween Spirit,” we learn that there are no rules to fashion for this market as they mix-and-match their favorite garments with no concern of what “should” go together. A Dolce and Gabbana skirt combines easily with street vendor finds and Ralph Lauren wingtips.

We’re not only addressing the tween market; we’re also covering the baby and kids gear and goods extravaganza happening in Louisville, KY, this month at ABC Kids Expo. In our gear go-to “Fresh 25,” we highlight the must-sees at the show destined to become this year’s “must haves” on the store shelves.

This month, we were lucky enough to speak with several prominent manufacturers and get some great insight into their worlds. In our Q&A “Rite Foot Forward,” we sat down with Sharon John, president of Stride Rite Children’s Group, to learn more about her vision for the nearly 95-year-old brand as she looks to explore the international market.

We also chatted with Michael Fallas, CEO of Sugar Plum NY Inc., and got the scoop on the company’s recent licensing ventures.

This month’s issue is special for yet another reason: We’re announcing our Earnie Award winners, named best in their category from retailers across the country. We invite you to join us on October 22 to toast to them, to a new crop of Hall of Fame honorees, and to Earnshaw’s for leading the children’s retail charge for nearly a century.

Hope to see you there!

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