Outdoor Retailer Winter Market '06 Trends: Kids' apparel & accessories

Kids are definitely back in style! One had to be careful to not run over strollers or bump into kid carriers in the aisles at Winter Market. And, for the first time in awhile, there was a good selection of innovative products from which to choose.

The SNEWS® team of editors powered by imported dark chocolate and numerous espresso shots (not necessarily in that order), zigged and zagged around the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market floor to ensure we could bring you the most comprehensive take on trends, directions, colors, styles and innovations in stories that will run until we pass out. No, each report is not complete and we apologize in advance if a company feels its product was not mentioned when it should have been. We’re only covering product that stood out to us, so if you’re not mentioned, our brains were either too frozen from our early morning runs to see you, we didn’t think your product stood out sufficiently, or we started drinking espresso shots too early in the afternoon — you pick one. With that in mind, here’s our take on trends and new products for kids’ apparel and accessories:

Kids are definitely back in style! One had to be careful to not run over strollers or bump into kid carriers in the aisles at Winter Market. And, for the first time in awhile, there was a good selection of innovative products from which to choose.

Pantropic showed beautifully patterned sweaters handmade in Bolivia by the Aymara Indians who are reviving the traditional techniques of village artisans. It’s a vertical operation as the Aymara’s tend and shear the sheep, then spin, dye and weave the wool. The business was started by designer Diane Bellamy, an American who has lived in Bolivia for 30 years. Prices wholesale from $30 to $40 and retail for $80 to $100.

Hatley has expanded its line of whimsical animal graphics in 100-percent cotton sleepwear and sweats for infants, kids and adults. Its main themes are moose (or is it meese?), bears, horses, dogs and cats. New PVC raingear jackets come with coordinated rain boots and umbrellas. Accessories have been added to the line including cocktail napkins, notepads, socks, plate sets, baseball caps and refrigerator magnets. Retailers can buy handsome wood displayers, costumers, 4-ways and spinners to merchandise the line. Clothing prices range from $17 to $25 retail.

Loki entered into an agreement with Mountain Sprouts to offer its patented mitts and face shield in two children’s styles — the Konk Hard Shell and Fuse Hoodie. The Loki Mitts is a system that, with a flip of the hand, turns the end of the sleeve into a mitten. No more lost mittens, mom! Both Loki and Mountain Sprouts are selling the jackets. The Konk Shell and Fuse Hoodie are available in sizes 3/4 through 11/12 and wholesale for $90 and $30, respectively.

Mountain Sprouts
Mountain Sprouts has added new styles and colors to its infant and kids’ line of mountain wear. Standouts are the new base layer sets. The infant Base-Ick set is constructed of ultra-stretch silk synthetic. It’s food, poo and puke stain resistant (very important if your baby gets into the Cheetos) and comes in bright Green Frog and Zoo Blue colors. The Base-Ick base layers for kids consist of a top and bottom in the same silk synthetic fabric in sizes 3/4 to 9/10. The infant Base-Ick set wholesales for $18, the kid’s Base-Ick top and bottom for $23 and $10, respectively.

IPlay Baby Wear
IPlay offers an extensive line of baby and toddler clothing from bathing suits and bibs, to hats and hoodies. The company’s new Soft & Snuggly line of mittens, caps, booties, blankets, robes and Cuddlesuit attracted the most attention. Made of soft (and snuggly) velour fleece, the Cuddlesuit features velour fur trim and cotton knit lining. The Soft & Snuggly Cuddlesuit wholesales for $17.50, the robe for $20. Wholesale prices for the accessories range from $3 to $12.50.

Outside Baby
Outside Baby owners Lisa Vinciguerra and Rob LaVigne have incorporated their experience working with outdoor companies into the design of windproof and water-resistant fleece blankets. The standouts are the company’s line of bags and packs.
The Outside Baby Messenger Bag has been modified to work as an everyday baby bag by integrating a removable cooler pack to hold baby bottles and clip-on straps to attach the bag to a stroller. The bag wholesales for $22.50, suggested retail $44.99.
The Outside Baby Cooler Backpack features a large bottom cooler compartment, integrated changing pad, bottle holders and an ergonomic fit system for men and women. It wholesales for $40, suggested retail is $79.99.

For the first time, SmartWool has accessory sets of socks, booties, hats and mitts for infants and toddlers that are so cute, they’ll melt in your mouth. Grandma will never be able to stand a chance when she lays eyes on these goodies. All made of luxuriously soft merino wool, the sets come in kid-cute color combinations (green, burgundy, orange, blue) and fun stripes. The booties and socks coordinate with the hat and mitten sets for a matching or contrasting look that will set your rug rat apart from the rest of the pack.

The booties, sized newborn to nine months, are ultra-soft with roll-down cuffs, cushioning for tender feet and smooth toe seams. The socks have all that, plus a non-skid sole pattern for sizes six to 24 months. Both come in packs of two, so when one’s in the wash, you’ll have another one standing by! And don’t forget the hat and mitten sets for infants and toddlers. Each set retails for $25 and will only be available for the holiday season, so snap ’em up soon.

Chuck Roast
Chuck Roast features new, hipper prints and colors in its fleece Kennebec jacket, Jr. Pro Vest and Kinsman Jacket. The prints and colors can also be found in its mittens, headbands and hats. A new Sherpa Jacket in a nubby shearling pairs with new Micro Pants in a soft, sueded Polartec with boot-cut styling. Wholesale prices for the jackets range from $19 to $29.50. The vests are from $14 to $23 and headgear and accessories from $4.50 to $12.

Woolrich had one of the most impressive kids’ lines at the show. For fall/winter 2006, licensee Flyshacker has taken the line to new levels and produced the first outdoor sportswear kid’s line under a major label. For the loyal Woolrich customer (and there are hoard of them), the kids’ line ensures that the look they covet is available for their children and grandchildren.

For boys, styles include the Wildlife Dobby Flannel Shirt, flannel-lined Buffalo Denim Shirt and popular Cotton Canvas Zip Off Pant (just like dad’s). The Camp Fairisle Sweater, Woolrich Camp Sweater and jazzy Multi-Stripe Crew Neck Sweater are also winners.

The girl’s line is perfectly balanced with coordinating sweaters, tees, shirts and dresses. The best are the Autumn Applique Sweater, the Harvest Appliqué Jeans and the Antique Lace Shirt. The Autumn Leaf Corduroy Jumper is every little girl’s dream in a charming flower and leaf print with ruffled hem.

Infant’s clothing includes Fairisle Bunting in 100-percent cotton, a Fairisle Sweater, plaid Pocket Change Romper, pocketed Corduroy Explorer Pant and Artic Snowsuit.

The wholesale prices are one of the line’s best features. Boy’s and girl’s shirts range from $8 to $12.50, sweaters from $15 to $16.50, pants from $11 to $13, and infant’s clothing from $11 to $17.50.