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Trade Show Rundown

We got the scoop from attendance stats to fashion forecasts.

The childrenswear industry got a much-needed shot of optimism as exhibitors and attendees used upbeat terms to describe business at trade shows Children’s Club and Playtime New York. Both shows wrapped up earlier this week.

At Children’s Club, held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, booths were buzzing with buyers writing orders for immediate goods through Spring/Summer ‘17. A number of newcomers were added to the exhibition floor, including Jessica Simpson, Betsey Johnson Kids and Mustachifier. Highlights among the new brands included Art & Eden, a sustainable children’s clothing line that gives back to children in need for every garment purchased, and Made-To-Be, a creative children’s shoe line that lets kids adorn shoes with charms, flowers and jewels.

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Wendy Letven’s art installation at Playtime New York.

At Playtime, which took place at the Altman Building and the adjacent Metropolitan Pavilion, more than 10,000-square-feet of show space was added. Playtime, celebrating its 10-year anniversary, saw 905 visitors on its first day (a 37 percent jump from the first day last year) and, although final numbers had yet to be tallied, saw more attendees by day two than in previous three-day shows, according to show officials.

As for the trends at both shows, cacti and desert themes continued their stronghold as did jungle images, eye-shaped appliqués and stars. More traditional prints, like gingham, ditsy-print florals, lemons and pineapples, showed no sign of slowing down.

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The show floor at Children’s Club.

Childrenswear companies and professional artists are proving to be an increasingly common combination as evidenced by many collaborative brands seen at the shows. Lucky Jade partnered with Brooklyn-based artist Joseph Ari Aloi (aka JK5) for city-scapes on blankets and onesies while Print All Over Me allows artists and amateur designers to create, share and sell clothing by printing artwork and images on a collection of garments, textiles and objects.

Finally, storytelling—the hallmark of childhood—was prominent at the shows. Red Caribou’s illustrated prints told stories through animals and nature while Paper Girl used embroidery and digital printing to turn storybook illustrations into prints on dresses or tops. Each garment has a secret pocket where the child can find a little book with a story about the illustration.

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