Pretty in pink. Pretty in aqua. Pretty in trapeze shapes. Pretty in flounced and flouted prints. Pretty with broad straps or spaghetti ties. All this sweetness is exclusively online at Galette Children’s Apparel and Nula Kids. They are just two of many childrenswear e-shops created by FIT fashion design alums.
Scrolling instead of strolling it seems, offers benefits to designers and their customers.
“It allows me to work in small quantities and shorten my lead times as I test the market,” says Leah Aronhime (’09), owner of Galette. “This makes it easier to fit into manufacturers’ busy schedules and get the great quality that I want to offer.”
“Producing a line in the US is very costly,” says Ashlie Kodsy (’11) co-founder of Nula Kids. ”Cutting out the middle man – the traditional retailer – allows me to have a competitive price point. I can also see what is and isn’t selling immediately, without having to wait for a buyer’s feedback.”
Fashion Design professor Sandra Markus agrees. “It circumvents selling wholesale, so they can make a better profit. They can charge retail prices, and it’s a way to have your own life.”
Working from one’s choice of location is attractive for Aronhime, who lives in Baltimore.
For Kodsy as well. “In L.A., I have access to a variety of manufacturers and vendors. Thanks to the (FIT’s) Childrenswear program, I can effectively communicate with these manufacturers in L.A., my business partner in New York, my screen printer in San Francisco, and so forth.”
“They have the digital skills to do this,” says Markus about recent childrenswear grads. ”The whole upper division in the Childenswear major focuses on gaining digital skills that can be used for practical applications.”
None of these practical applications impinges on the primary focus of designing great childenswear.
“It’s wonderful to see such playful designs,” says Sass Brown, Assistant Dean of the School of Art & Design. “Both designers have achieved a cute and playful balance of wearablity and age appropriate practicality.” They’ve avoided, she says, an “over sophistication” of children’s designs that can be out of keeping with childhood. “They know who they’re designing for,” says Brown.
Aronhime credits FIT with helping her find her individual style as a designer. Upon graduation she knew she wanted to start her own company. The challenge she says “is finding a market niche and getting people to notice my company among everyone else’s on the web. My goal is to build a business through my website that is recognized in the industry.”
“Mine is to reach a larger audience with my brand,” says Kodsy. “We’ve been fortunate to have some international interest, but the challenge is getting the word out there.”
Photos used with permission. Photos for Nula Kids: Angeline Woo. Photos for Galette Children’s Apparel: Anat Dubin