It’s a well-known fact that children grow quickly and that their clothes and shoes have a short lifespan. It’s also well-known just how much they like playing outdoors without paying too much attention to what they’re doing, with their clothing easily getting dirtied and put to the test for survival! So, for families, the amount spent on clothing and shoes for their kids is one of the most difficult expenses to bear, an aspect today that is more important than ever before in light of the pandemic, which created numerous economic difficulties, while a special focus is now reserved for savings and recycling. In fact, it is precisely the outbreak of Covid-19, which accelerated trends already underway in society, increasing the awareness of the public towards themes like naturalness, sustainability, and respect for the environment.
It is in this completely changed context that there has been a development of new and innovative forms of ‘fashion shopping’ dedicated to the littlest set. In the field of shoes, undoubtedly standing out is last year’s debut, which is the first of its kind in Italy, of the Shone brand and its subscription sales formula for kids’ shoes. The brand was first founded in 2015, with a distribution in specialised shops, but with the outbreak of the pandemic, it decided to revolutionise its distribution model in 2020 by digitalising it and bypassing intermediaries, so as to offer the consumer a quality product at a lower price. To meet the needs of families looking to buy the very best for their children, but at the right price, Shone came up with a subscription purchasing system created in partnership with the Turin-based group IDT, which is owned by the B2B fashion site, Brandsdistribution.com. This is how it works: by purchasing the VIP card on Shone’s website at the price of 29.90 euros, for the entire year, you have the right to buy all the shoe models present in the catalogue at a fixed price 9.90 euros per pair, with a discount that arrives at even 75% off. At one year from its launching, the brand already counts over 5,000 customers. In addition to creating an obvious advantage for families, the formula also builds strong brand loyalty and creates a bona fide community. In fact, Shone shoes are constructed with kids in mind, offering a comfortable fit, memory foam insole, and lightweight and robust soles. Even the details are focused on practicality and durability, like the Velcro fastenings, zips, and elastic inserts.
It’s an idea that had already emerged with leading footwear manufacturers like Nike, which in 2019, had launched the Nike Adventure Club on the U.S.A. market, asking families to sign up for a subscription that would them allow them to receive a certain number of shoes every year: 20 dollars a month for 4 pairs of shoes per year, 30 dollars a month for 6 pairs of shoes annually, or 50 dollars a month for 12 pairs of shoes every year. It was also done in a green scope, with Nike sending members a box in which to put their used shoes, shoes that – if they are still in good condition – could eventually be donated to families in difficulty or recycled.
Even Foot Locker proposed a similar initiative reserved, however, for clothing, which was made possible by its 2019 partnership with Rockets of Awesome, an e-commerce site with an online clothing subscription service for children first created in 2016 that enjoyed rapid and exponential growth. In this case, children create a style profile on the Rockets of Awesome website with the things they love to wear, their colour preferences, and size. Based on this, a box of items (either 5, 8, or 12 pieces) is delivered to their homes, and they pay only for what they decide to keep, in addition to paying a fixed styling tax of 20 dollars, without however paying for shipment or return fees. It is possible to also purchase the entire box at a fixed price. The garments are good quality and can be matched with one another and, once used, if you send them back to the site, it is possible to earn points towards your next purchases. In terms of the strategic partnership with Foot Locker, Rockets of Awesome reinforced the connection between online and offline, opening mini stores in the Kids Foot Locker stores located in the shopping malls in major U.S. cities, becoming the largest retailer of Rockets of Awesome’s line of clothing in the country.
Always in terms of clothing, a similar initiative launched on the Italian market is YouKoala, which debuted at the end of 2018. Once again, in this case, families can sign up for a subscription where they will have a wardrobe that is always up-to-date, starting from 30 euros per month, with high quality garments in GOTS certified organic cotton coming from select suppliers. When the clothes become too small or are no longer needed, they can be sent back to YouKoala, which sends another package to your home with other garments based on the child’s precise needs in that moment. For those who are not on board with the idea of having their kids wear used clothing, there is also the possibility of payment a small supplemental fee and receiving only new garments. The trend of renting outfits in the field of children’s fashion recently attracted the attention of even fast fashion giants like H&M for its Arket brand, which thanks to the partnership with Circos, this past 28 January, launched a clothing rental service for kids, in exchange for paying a monthly fee. When the garments are too worn out to be used any longer, the materials are reused to give life to new products. Pernilla Wohlfahrt, managing director of Arket, in fact confirmed: “Children’s clothing must be created with a long-term plan in mind and all our garments are created to last over time”. Recently, H&M has in fact embraced different initiatives dedicated to clothing for adults with an eye to circularity and recycling, like Restore that resells clothing collected from the Cos supply chain, which has been restored and cleaned or returned by consumers. There is then Resell, the digital spaced destined for the sale and purchase of the brand’s used clothing. Ironically, those who have based their success on a ‘fast and disposable fashion’, today instead focus on clothes destined to last over time, which can be reused!