You may have grown up in the age of hand-me-down clothing, but kids these days are being treated like pint-sized royalty. At new multi-designer store, Mal, which caters exclusively to children, one six-year-old princess recently cleaned her parents out of Rs 9,500 for a bespoke lehenga. “The parents wanted something more detailed than what was available,” says owner Minoti Sampat. “So the choli and dupatta was custom-made by designer Pooja S.”
It’s rather obvious that Sampat’s venture is not a risky one. “I think people have been waiting for a store like this. Ready-made branded garments cost about Rs 3000 anyway. So parents are happy to get a designer garment for their kid at the same cost.” Priced between Rs 500 - 7,500, the garments are miniature versions of what models flaunt on the ramp, which seems to have the mommies all excited. While it currently stock a line from Amba, which makes identical clothing for moms and their daughters, Mal is also currently working on a father-son collection.
The store stocks garments right from newborn babies to nine- year-olds, created by names like Raghavendra Rathore, Anupama Dayal, Masaba Gupta and Pero by Aneet Arora. Given that children are generally not couture-friendly, the designers had to take a different route. Sampat says, “We’ve used Velcro and buttons instead of zips, so that it doesn’t hurt the kids. But for very small babies, even buttons won’t do because they might bite it off and swallow it. Luckily, most of the designers we stock are either parents themselves or have been making kidswear for some time now. So it’s easy for them to understand what the client wants.”
Sampat is happy with the fact that the store seems to be encouraging offbeat fashion, both with the parents as well as their pampered progeny. “I’ve noticed that parents are leaning more towards younger designers like Aneet, Masaba and Zubair Kirmani. And the kids who come shopping have a mind of their own. They know exactly what they want.”