CWB learns more about Grass & Air, the latest addition to the kids’ outerwear market.
Gone are the days of drab and dull outdoor clothing reserved only for those embarking on serious outdoor sports and pursuits. Today, this competitive market is considered a lifestyle movement. It is one associated with everyday wear that promotes style, health and outdoor activity, with leading labels such as Rains and Sways demonstrating how outerwear can perform harmoniously on both the technical and fashion fronts.
While many leading outdoor brands cater for the whole family, there’s a new label on the market dedicated specifically to children. The aptly named Grass & Air is a freshly launched brand of urban, outdoor children’s clothing from the people behind school uniform specialist, David Luke.
The David Luke team – all parents themselves – share a passion for getting their children outdoors. This, coupled with the desire to stretch David Luke’s product design and branding teams’ creative skills beyond the constraints of schoolwear, resulted in Grass & Air’s creation.
The brand is a combination of various sources of expertise: an in-house design team, with input from a network of freelance designers specialising in childrenswear and outdoorwear. This is backed by David Luke’s long-standing relationships with high-quality factories.
Style-wise the look is minimalistic, taking inspiration from classic Scandinavian design with an added injection of fun. Playful twists include specialist prints featured on the waterproof fabrics, which range from reflective elements to help keep children seen as the nights draw in through to designs which are revealed when it rains.
The debut collection comprises an infant range, for 12-18 months up to 5-6 years, featuring colour-revealing mini welly boots, stomper slacks dungarees, all-in-one stomper suits and raincheater jackets. The durable, hard-wearing nylon fabric used is designed to withstand all of the wears and tears of childhood, while taped, waterproof seams keep children dry.
The junior range, for ages 2-3 years up to 9-10 years, includes junior welly boots, a girls’ and boys’ rainster jacket and rain stomper waterproof trousers. Created from lightweight, waterproof polyurethane fabric, garments have fully bonded seams and are waterproof to 5,000mm column pressure. Wholesale prices start from £8 for the mini welly boots through to £18 for the all-in-one stomper suit.
As well as its expertise, Grass & Air has also assumed David Luke’s principle of providing independent retailers with competitive advantages. Underlying the brand, therefore, is a strong commercial sense, one which has been tailored specifically to the needs of independents. Highlights include all year round stock availability, online ordering, next day low-carriage delivery and supportive payment terms. Essentially, Grass & Air is designed to help independent retailers to compete. It’s reactive – a factor even more relevant for a weather-related clothing brand – and its short-order option provides flexibility and a genuine cash-flow benefit.
Plans are for the collection to evolve, with future developments including unique, specialist weather-reactive prints. In fact, the new collection, which includes something intriguing called the Rainchanger, promises to give retailers “a real point of difference in the outdoorwear they offer”.
Another company ethic Grass & Air has adopted from its sister company is the schoolwear supplier’s ethical approach to doing business. David Luke has, for instance, saved over 20 million plastic bottles from going into landfill by manufacturing schoolwear with polyester from post-consumer waste; it has worked with the Fairtrade Foundation; it remains dedicated to community action to help fight child poverty; and it has worked with some of the same factories for over 20 years. Needless to say, the same values will be projected onto Grass & Air, with a number of projects already in the pipeline.
A Manchester-based brand, Grass & Air chose local children’s fashion and lifestyle store, Our Kid, for a recent consumer launch event, with the retailer embodying its target market in terms of style and ethos for community commitment.