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River Island Mini Q&A with Tory Butler - Best baby fashion brand 2014 - HIGHLY COMMENDED

We meet the designer behind the 2014 Junior Design Award-winning entry

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What is your name and job title?

Tory Butler – Design Controller

What did you love to wear as a child?

  • Party dresses with frilly ankle socks and kitten heels.
  • Double denim with pixie boots
  • Fur accessories
  • Bold colour head-to-toe
  • Plus a strange phase of wanting to wear a shirt and tie with jeans - thankfully a short lived moment.

What’s so great about children’s fashion?

It’s fun, colourful, and has the opportunity to be humorous through quirky prints and graphics. It doesn’t need to be taken too seriously as the kids that wear it don’t take themselves to seriously. There is so much scope to offer great fashion and trends to so many different unique personalities. It's lovely to be part of creating something that helps kids feel good about themselves and allows them to explore self expression through clothes.

What are the highlights of your autumn winter 2014 collection?

Highlights from the girls range………

  • Leopard fur coat
  • Cream luxe fur sweatshirt
  • Metallic slogan t-shirts and sweatshirts
  • Pu biker jackets in cream and black
  • Tutu leggings
  • Velvet dresses in print and plain
  • Quilted sweatshirt with metallic tipping
  • Great range of denim – including soft muted grey / pale acid wash

Highlights from the boys range……

  • Brushed plaid shirt
  • Pu quilted bomber jacket
  • Fun Slogan tee’s and sweatshirts
  • Cosy urban bomber jackets
  • Novelty Christmas sweats with 3D applique techniques.
  • Great range of denim, including coated black denim/ acid wash greys and authentic mid wash with check hem detailing

How important is it to keep up with changing fashion trends?

It’s vital to ensure that we constantly offer newness to the customer to ensure they keep coming back to us. First and foremost River Island is a fashion led business, our customer is very loyal and is extremely fashion savvy so it is important to us to make sure that everything that is in the store is on brand & reflective of current trends.

How do you inject a fashion element into baby fashion designs?  

We approach the Mini Kids range in the same way as we do with all the other departments at river island; our priority is to deliver a credible Fashionable, trend  led range;  it just so happens to be for kids. We have a great design resource at River Island across men’s/ women’s / kidswear & Mini Kids so ideas are plentiful -  we just have to soak up all of the information and then choose the trends that we feel are most suitable for our Mini Kids Collection.  

What makes your brand stand out in the growing market of baby fashion?  

The range is fun, quirky and trend led, which reflects the company’s well established brand identity. The concept behind the collection was always for it to have a ‘mini me’ feel; Taking on board the relevant trends that men’s/ women’s and older kids are working on and applying them to mini kids where relevant. We are willing to make  bold statements with our ranges and step away from the normal, traditional babywear offer. Our attitude and personality is a huge part of what makes us different at River Island and we want to continue to offer great product, which stands out on the high street. It is unique, affordable, cool, fun fashion for little ones.

If you could be a child again just for one day, what would you do and what would you wear?

I would wear my older sisters blue and black polka dot '80s prom dress (that I was never allowed to wear) with a pair of patent wellington boots and would play in the fields with my friends, jump in puddles/ climb hay stacks and get generally filthy and then do the walk of shame home to face the music.

This was generally my favourite thing to do as a child, so given the chance I’d do it again.

Why did you enter the Junior Design Awards?

We entered because we are extremely proud of the Mini Kinds collection and feel that we have delivered something special and unique in the kidswear market, and hope everyone else feels the same. We have had such positive feedback from so many people about the range and getting recognition for the teams hard work and dedication in making this range the success it is, is great.

What do you predict for the future of children’s fashion?

I think the trend for celebrity culture will still continue to affect the fashion market and will filter down into the childrenswear market even more than it does already.  Kids of today are very much in tune with what they want to wear and who they want to look like so this will inevitably push retailers to offer ranges of clothes that kids want to wear.

I also believe that brands are trying to re-define themselves as unique after a period of time of shops all looking quite samey.  This level of unique design/ ranges will give customers a reason to shop with them so I foresee more retailers tapping into the ‘mini me’ concept that is relevant for their handwriting.


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