The FIT Library has subscribed to many new magazines in the last couple of years. Some we’ve talked about, either in previous posts, or as ‘Magazine of the Week’. Many you can look through on this tab on the Periodicals by Subject Research Guide. This week we’re going to talk about new children’s titles, and I wanted to give a shout to some of our nifty store catalogs, to make sure everyone knows about them.
I wrote a little about Anorak last summer (https://blog.fitnyc.edu/volumesandissues/2015/07/15/summer-and-the-reading-is-lazy/) but we have three or four copies now, and we’re pretty excited about it. Published quarterly, in London, it is printed on recycled matte-finish paper and full of colorful images. It is the brainchild of Cathy Olmedillas, who worked for independent publisher Wagadon (publisher of The Face and Arena) in the 1990s.
When Olmedillas had a child of her own, she was disappointed in other kids magazines, finding them both commercial and gendered. Anorak, dubbed “The Happy Magazine for Kids”, offers her version: a colorful booklet about playing and reading and fantasy without ads.
Despite some written material (mostly by Omedillas), the title is driven by dynamic and varied illustration work. Olmedillas lays out the ideas, then works with a pool of illustrators to bring them to the page. While she maintains the unenviable position of being editor, art director, writer, assigner, salesperson, bookkeeper, and marketer for the title, she is (justly) proud of how each issue comes out.
A recent issue, named”The Happy Museum”, featured short introductions to a few of London’s quirkier museums. Other features included short stories like “The Sick Yeti”, “The Jolly Jersey”, and “The Dog Alphabet”.
As with many other titles, the Anorak blog sells related materials. Refreshingly, they are all kids books, coloring books, or posters and cards. Somehow, neither writing nor artwork manages not to be cynical or condescending.
This title was founded in 1995, although we subscribed only recently. Published in Cologne, Germany, this title defines itself as “magazine for children’s fashion, lifestyle and culture which is unique anywhere in the world. Twice a year… the world’s best photographers and many of today’s eminent photographic artists interpret fashion and contemporary lifestyle.”
This is apparently Bruce Weber‘s favorite magazine, and his work is featured regularly within.
Kid’s Wear is styled in the new, minimalistic style seen in other new titles like Kinfolk and The Gentlewoman. Represented here are the world’s most exclusive designer childrenswear brands, photographed by the world’s most eminent fashion photographers.
In between the lush photo shoots of avant-garde children’s clothes and ads for childrenswear trade shows, there are some philosophical writings on parenthood, favorite designers, illustrated kid’s tales, and other states of one’s life. The visual aspects are by far this magazine’s strength, but very little of it is directed at children themselves. Rather, its target audience is the monied men and women caring for the children who will attend the next generation’s fashion show front rows and art museum galas.
This title is published four times a year in Paris (but written in English), with a subsidiary version published in Japan. While the title uses the same, minimalist white page frames and recycled un-glossy paper as Oh Comely or the Gentlewoman, this one has features more like Conde Nast publications. The photography and styling are attractive, but this title is aimed solely at the mothers of these precocious children.
The beginning has advice columns, favorite finds, accessory tips, notable items of the month, etc. Articles are in the middle, then the general layout begins. Colorful editorial spreads show prettily behaved, well manicured children photographed in expensive clothes. The magazine was first published in 2003.
The Milk website (in French) highlights designers of childrenswear, child-friendly interiors, travel, and society. The publishers also put out Milk Decoration, for more decadent child-oriented interiors. Their lifestyle-oriented web materials include a blog, for the reader to follow along more frequently.
The PERS department also maintains a collection of store catalogs because so much of what people actually wear can be seen in these and not in fashion magazines. These live in the open stacks, right after the Look Book section. Here’s the list of all of them. Below, I’m reviewing just the ones with the best childrenswear.
Founded in 1991 with eight menswear pieces, Boden is a British company that could be compared to America’s J. Crew or the Gap companies. The price points are similar, but the garments produced for Boden are a bit more flirty, with more adventuresome details than the American lines. They added womenswear in 1992, presenting dresses and tops with piping, colorblocking or other interesting details, cotton or cashmere sweaters, as well as other categories of casual wear.
They apply this same sense of fun to their childrenswear, offered since 1996. Since their target customers are of prime childbearing years, they have committed to the childrenswear market wholeheartedly. For both boys and girls, they offer Baby sizes from 0-4, Mini-Boden from sizes 2-12, and Johnnie B, sizes 9-16.
As a company, Boden works only with factories (mostly overseas) that treat their workers ethically. They work with their factories long term to develop programs that provide health care and mentoring to their employees.
The Disney store catalog is everything you could want it to be. There are themed clothes, toys, house decorations, bedding, holiday dishes, everything, and all brought to you by your friends at Disney, who own pretty much every form of animated entertainment ever put out in the US or the UK. There is something here for everyone in your home, be they a big kid or a small one.
Disney’s history of merchandising its characters is a long one. In 1929, Walt Disney made the first licensing deal with a man who wanted to print Mickey Mouse on pencil tablets for kids. The idea really took off however, when Herman Kaman proposed an extensive line of Disney-themed products to Walt and Roy Disney in 1932. Mickey and Minnie Mouse soon could be found on wallpaper, books, toys, toothbrushes, sheets, and more. Kamen began the Disney merchandise catalog as well, and this quickly became a semi-annual publication.
The product which ensured the success of Disney marketing was the result of a deal Kamen struck with a timepiece company in 1933. On the first day, the Mickey Mouse watch sold 11,000 units at Macy’s in New York. This product and other branded watches and clocks ultimately paid for the creation and release of the movie Snow White in 1938.
This catalog is also very much like J. Crew and the Gap. Very American, basic sportswear. But their childrenswear section, like Boden’s, is broad and whimsical. They address every clothing need of women and children, from underwear and socks, to maternity dresses, sleepwear, and bedding.
Swedish immigrant Gun Denhart founded this company in Portland, Oregon in 1983. Many of the garments were (and are) made with organic cotton, and express Denhart’s vision for attractive, neat, but comfortable clothes for a young family.
The company opened its first brick-and-mortar store in 1990, and has spread to 60 retail locations throughout the U.S. In 1995, the company founders hired a CEO who refocused the company on young children’s apparel, which was a wide open niche market at the time.
Over the years, Denhart developed family-friendly workplace policies, and also works closely with charities focused on child welfare, annual school grants, and other children’s causes across the United States.
The Land of Nod
The Land of Nod is a company that designs, as they put it “For kids and people who used to be kids”. The company began in 1996 by producing children’s furniture in founder Scott Eirinberg’s basement in Chicago. He and partner Jamie Cohen built the company into a catalog business producing simple and colorful furniture, beds and bedding, gifts, baby clothes, and everything one might need for a kid-oriented lifestyle.
In 2000, the founders formed a partnership with Crate & Barrel to expand their presence in the contemporary home furnishings market. They currently have 11 brick-and-mortar stores, mostly in Illinois and California.
As magazines become more closely involved with selling the items they showcase, so have many online retailers begun blogs and interactive resources like Pinterest pages that allow them to illustrate the lifestyle their products best adorn. The Land of Nod has done an excellent job blurring this line, as even their sales website is as much lifestyle images as sales ones.
Come see what we have!
Special thanks to Anne Appert, our illustrator in residence, for her enthusiastic input on this post!