I was very honoured this January to be asked to help judge the Stand Out competition for Bubble London, my favourite kids trade show (apart from anything else, it actually welcomes children – great!). Stand Out judges all the designers stands on presentation of product, creative use of space and overall design and layout of stand. We were particularly looking out for ideas which made creative use of low-cost materials and which could easily be adapted by other exhibitors and retailers.
I was able to check out all the exhibitors’ stands (over 250 of them!) to see how creatively they had used their space and discuss the presentation and layout with my fellow judges, the wonderful Natalie Lue of Bambino Goodies, Laura Turner, editor of CWB Magazine and Evane and Anne from Doolittle Magazine.
It was a tough call but after much discussion over some delicious fairy cakes, we awarded the overall prize to Pili Pala Childrenswear for their creative use of children’s artworks in their space. We also loved the Rachel Riley stand which created a wonderful boutique style store with a shabby chic feel and the Quince stand, which used the ingenious idea of displaying children’s clothes with animal masks.
It was such a busy day I didn’t get the chance to look as closely at all the products as I usually do! But generally there were a lot of gorgeous animal-themed images and nature imagery on display – very in keeping with one of the childrenswear trends pointed out in the trend area, ‘Eco Camp’, where ‘Forest Rangers-in-training meet Greenpeace activists’. This look is all about authentic, rugged and functional outdoor staples but also incorporates ‘wildlife enthusiast graphics’ like the beautiful prints by Mimimyne designer Animal Tails.
Another look that appealed to me is the Punk Tech look – ‘classic silhouettes infused with angsty rock detail… Garage band lead singer meets amateur astronomer in a manga comic chat room’. I love a slightly edgy look to kids clothes and think it particularly suits boys. I see little hipster kids in East London dressed like this all the time, even wearing hats and shades for the full Shoreditch effect. There were some great rock-inspired designs on view at Bubble too.