Friday 28 August 2015

Back to school with Bubble brands...

August is drawing to a close, which can mean only one thing - a new school year! To celebrate, we've put together an edit of term-time essentials from Bubble brands...

The bag

Arguably the most important purchase of the new term, a school bag should be durable, spacious and fun. This colourful Room Seven backpack features adjustable straps and a roomy front pocket. 

The shoes

When it comes to school shoes, practicality is key - but these leather lace-ups from The Little Shoemaker are cool, too. Handmade by founder Kevin Rowley (you might remember him from this post), they allow little feet to breath. 

The coat

We love this shower-proof coat by Bubble favourite Frugi. Perfect for rainy school-runs, it features zip pockets, a fleece lining and a fun, Scandi-style print. 

The book-cover

Forget backing school books - these La Queue Du Chat jersey covers can be slipped on and off. Extra points for the cute, Parisian-inspired print...

What are your term-time essentials? Does your store have a back-to-school best-seller? Let us know! 

Click here to apply for a stand at the A/W16 edition of Bubble London...

Thursday 20 August 2015

B&S Meets...Little Wardrobe London

This week, we've been catching up Ayesha Mizra, founder and designer of S/S16 Rising Star finalist Little Wardrobe London. The quintessentially British brand made waves at our July show - and, a month on, Ayesha has been telling us more about her unique vision...

Hi, Ayesha! Some of our visitors might remember you from July's Perfect Pitch programme - but could you introduce yourself again? 

Hi! I am the founder and designer of the brand Little Wardrobe London. For the past three years I have immersed myself in the word of children's fashion and design, starting by creating clothes for my own three children. 

When, where and why did you decide to launch your own children's clothing brand?

I was born and brought up in London. From the earliest memories I have of my childhood - the fairytales my mother read to me, to the books I grew up reading, to the productions I would see at the theatre - all these things shaped my perception of British culture. It was a culture I loved, and wanted my own children to experience. I first realised when my twins were very young that there was a vast market in childrenswear, ranging from Gap to Gucci - from the every-day rough-and-tumble kind of clothes, to occassionwear, and opulent, exquisite designer-wear. But within this huge spectrum of choice, there was very little that I felt represented the culture I had grown up with; the fairytales and books that had been so influential throughout my childhood. So, it was then that I set about creating a clothing line to celebrate Britain's heritage, eccentricity and individuality. 

The brand name was inspired by one of my favourite childhood stories, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, by C.S Lewis. I loved the idea of going through the wardrobe and entering a whole new world. It is also one of the most important elements of the brand - namely, that we capture and ignite the imagination of children through the clothing. In the same way that the shoes we wear inform the way we walk, I believe that clothes can inform expression, inspire playfulness, and create the most magical of stories. 

What challenges did you face when launching Little Wardrobe London?

There were challenges that arose when launching the brand - mainly that of manufacture. The ambition was to create a brand that was authentically British, which meant not only British design and influence, but also British manufacture. I had a lot of people telling me no; that it wasn't financially feasible, that it just couldn't be done here. Ultimately, I chose to side-step all the no's and spent a long time building up a network of contacts, as well as sourcing the right people who shared my vision. 

What inspires your clothing? What is your design process? 

Sometimes when it comes to design it starts with the silhouette; I see the shape of the garment, and the details follow. But, more often than not, it starts with the fabric itself. What seems to come through unconsciously is the influence of the wonderful fairytales, stories and theatre inspired by our British culture. 

Tell us more about your mission to be a truly home-grown brand...

In order to be a true British brand we believed that not only did our clothing have to be designed here, but it should be made here too. We've gone a step further and are actually having them manufactured in London, to really live up to the brand name. On a practical level, having the garments made here also allows us to stay on top of the quality and craftsmanship of our clothes. 

How was your first edition of Bubble London? 

Bubble is an interesting show as everyone really puts a lot of effort into their stands and communicating their brand's message. We wanted to make sure our stand represented our brand and showed off the garments as well as possible. The highlight was being nominated as a finalist for the Rising Star award

What's next for Little Wardrobe London? 

We've had a lot of global interest and global orders, and our new collection for Spring/Summer 2016 will hopefully make a big impact next year. We are already busy developing our Autumn/Winter 2016 collection, and look forward to showing it at Bubble early next year. 

We'll look forward to seeing you there, Ayesha!

Fancy joining our A/W16 show? You can apply for a stand here...

Friday 14 August 2015

This Week's Best Bits

Happy Friday, folks! We hope you've had a wonderful week. Here are just some of the links we've loved...

Tuesday saw CWB Magazine reporting from Mini Moda, fashion exhibition Moda's children's footwear show. See editor Laura's pick of the brands on offer (including a few familiar faces!) here...

Over at Kid's Wear, Catrin Hansmerten shared two of her favourite S/S16 trends - flamingoes and cacti! We love that printed Tinker and Boo dress!

We were really interested to read Little Style Fix's interview with Jessica King, former childrenswear buyer at Selfridges and founder of new online retail concept The Mini Edit. 

Finally, we've been laughing at Style Me Sunday's frank, funny post about disciplining a toddler all morning. Forget The Naughty Step - it's all about The Naughty Loo!

Which links have you loved this week? Let us know! 

Tuesday 4 August 2015

B&S Meets...Little Lulu's

This July, luxury footwear brand Little Lulu's beat off seriously stiff competition to become our S/S16 Rising Star. The judges - CWB's Laura Turner, Little Style Fix's Emma Smith, Lucy Ives of Willo Baby and Childrenswear and Bubble Chop's Wing Yin Man - loved its exquisite, Italian-made baby shoes, which are modelled on 'big person' styles. We've been catching up with the brand's founder, footwear enthusiast and mumpreneur Catriona Alfaham...

Catriona, could you tell us a bit about yourself? Do you have a background in fashion and design? 

I have always loved shoes, ever since I was very young - so I went to Cordwainers' College to study footwear and accessory design. I have been working in the fashion industry for the last 11-12 years as handbag designer, while maintaining my love of shoes. 

When and why did you decide to found Little Lulu’s?

Like many other mumpreneurs, it was only after I had my daughter that the idea of starting my own business came about. I wanted a job that suited me and my new lifestyle. The plan was to hand-make baby shoes and sell them on Etsy and at craft fairs - but, as I designed them, I realised I wanted a quality that I couldn't produce myself. My idea was developing into a brand with a big statement to make, so I set to finding a supplier in Europe who could make my designs. I found a fabulous little place in Italy that has been in business for 30 years. It is owned by lovely couple, Rosa and Luigi, and they are wonderfully skilled at making these tiny creations. 

Could you tell us about the brand’s philosophy?

I think the philosophy of the brand is one of playfulness. It is nice to see things in miniature form, especially shoes. All of the shoes are designed to be mini versions of what we as parents would like to wear. They are all packaged in a clear gift box with dust bag and gift tag. They are a special gift item that can be kept for years to come. In fact, someone at Bubble suggested they could even become collectable to parents who would like to get the full set. Sounds like a great idea to me! 

Why did you decide to show at Bubble London in July?

I began developing the idea of Little Lulu's at the end of 2014, and decided to come and have a look at the A/W15 show in February, to see if it was for me.  Initially it worried me. There were so many other fabulous brands, and I wasn't sure I could compete or measure up. But, ultimately, it seamed like a great show to exhibit at. I went to Perfect Pitch and imagined myself there one day; it gave me something to aim for. I didn't think I would be able to make it to the July show, but somehow it all came together a lot quicker than I thought it would. I was a bit of a last minute addition to the line-up, but thankfully got there just in time!

How did it feel to win the Rising Star award? What does the title mean to you? 

I was thrilled and overwhelmed to win the Rising Star Award. I remembered seeing the finalists at the A/W15 show, and couldn't believe I had even been shortlisted - so to win was just a fabulous cherry on top! All of the other brands shortlisted were wonderful, so it really meant a lot. Now it is a great accolade to tell people about when trying to get the brand off the ground. 

What are your plans for the future? 

The hard work starts here now; I need to try to get the brand out there. Bubble has been a wonderful launching pad, so I just need to maintain momentum. My website will be live in August, and I am hoping there will be a good reaction to that. We are off to Milan in September to Linea Pelle to plan the A/W16 range. I am lucky enough to have a free stand at next season's Bubble, and am already thinking of how I can better this season's stand. 

What advice would you give to designers planning to launch their brand at Bubble? 

I think the best advice is to plan every detail the best you can. Don't leave anything to chance. You need to make the best of what you have and make it stand out. You don't necessarily need a big stand but you need it to be eye catching. Plus you can always win some brownie points if you have some sweets to hand out!

Catch Catriona and Little Lulu's at the A/W16 edition of Bubble London, which will take place on 31 January and 1 February, 2016...

Sunday 2 August 2015

This Week's Best Bits

With Bubble wrapped for another season, we've finally had a chance to catch up on our reading! 

As ever, we've loved perusing post show reviews and round-ups from some of our favourite publications - including Baby London, Wave to Mummy and Kid's Wear. Take a look at what everyone had to say about Bubble London S/S16... 

And, on the subject of all things Bubble, we were delighted to see one of our brands - the wonderful Doodle Do - over at Junior Style. Read all about its fun, ethical clothing here. 

Finally, if you're a children's store, you can enter CWB's first ever Independent Retail Awards. Categories include Best Kid's Independent Store, Best Online Store, Best Footwear Store, Best New Store and Best Established Store

Which links have you loved this week? Let us know!