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The Fashion Inside Scoop: M&Co

We chat to Childrenswear Design Manager at M&Co, Emma Keeble, about her globe-trotting inspiration and Aztec chic for summer 2013

Posted: 31 May 2013
by Catherine Hudson

Masters of fashionable disguise

Why did you decide to work in childrenswear?

It was always a passion for me from the word go. The colour and sense of humour that comes through in M&Co childrenswear taps in to my personality perfectly.I have always been attracted to the bright and shiny, the sparkle and the fun!

What are your earliest fashion memories – what did you wear?

I had a fake fur white coat! My sister had a matching one: it also matched my favourite bear! Teamed with a bit of tartan, it was our classic Christmas picture.

When you think of your childrenswear label, what words spring to mind?

Fashion, fun and practical. It is also cool and quirky with a heavy emphasis on quality.

What were your inspirations for the childrenswear SS13 collection?

At M&Co, we design fashionable looks for our juniors, all the way from baby up to teenage girls. Sugar Blossom consists of beautiful oriental prints with a modern twist, lace neon proms, translucent layers, or laundered neon cropped shorts: it’s pretty and delicate. Festival Chic sees our little boho girl globe-trotting! Embellishment and prints from around the globe are teamed with applique tees with embroidered denim.  Flower garlands in her hair and strappy gladiators complete the look where print and embellishment rule!

For boys we have taken inspiration from the global Great Plains, and the Santa Fe desert with a natural and earthy colour palette. Pattern is key with Aztec inspiration. He can wear a geometric polo with a rolled up chino or go ultra-hot and funky with our Latino vibe. Here, inspiration is taken from Latino street vibes and tattoo art. It’s a bright palette with pops of magenta, fiery red and turquoise; think Latin American street cultures blended with laid-back surf dude.

What are your top three tips for dressing children this Spring-Summer?

Keep it fun! As a mum myself, I try to dress my children according to their personality. Choose versatile layering pieces; turn up trousers and shirts over tees for boys. Team a short over leggings for girls, layering up your look will always prepare us for the Great British weather and when the sun does shine, break out the print, neon and the colour.

Do you have any set style rules when designing for children?

M&Co has an integrity which the design team and I strive to uphold. Apart from the obvious health and safety guidelines, childrenswear needs a certain element of functionality. Other than that, I feel that design rules are meant to be broken. Attention to detail is key, and beautiful finishes and trims can bring a garment to life. Otherwise its fashion and fun all the way.

What are your top three must have pieces from the SS13 collection?

For boyswear, the Aztec, stripe or check shirt. For girlswear, the printed floral jean with touches of neon and for Tween, our Kylie range, the neon lace dip back dress.

Can you give us your hot tip for autumn winter 2013 childrenswear?

For girls, sweatshirt dressing and cocooning. Knitwear is textured and fluffy and winter pastels are coming through very strongly. Boyswear has a Dickensian edge and shirts still rule, whether they are a small conversational print or a workwear blanket check. Boyswear trousers are coloured with Carpenter details. For both girlswear and boyswear, military and circus themes are very strong and marl and texture are key.

Do you have a muse when you design your collections?

Fashion is my muse. Just because a garment is smaller doesn’t mean the fashionability is any less. Throw in some functionality and fun, and that’s childrenswear.

How does it feel when you see a child in one of your designs?

Amazing! From concept to creation it really puts a smile on your face: especially if the child seems happy also... 

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Don't miss... The Junior Meets hub of exclusive interviews, inside scoop interviews and quirky Q&As, with exciting interviewees including: Tommy HilfigerSir Paul SmithStella McCartney and lots of other influential fashion designers, authors and illustrators including Quentin Blake and Jeff Kinney, great business minds including Lord Alan Sugar and, everyone's favourite fashionable frog, Kermit.

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