Fashion Friday: Mothers (and aunts) of Invention, Pt 1

The old saying would have you believe that necessity is the mother of invention but in fashion, firsthand experiences with hard-to-dress infants and toddlers prove that a maternal instinct is often the golden touch. To celebrate Mother’s Day, the next two weeks we’ll take a look at the “aha” moments mom and aunt inventors experienced and discover how they’ve pioneered the kids’ market with their one-of-a-kind products. By Angela Velasquez

Paisley Baby Girl Jumpsuit

Paisley Baby Girl Jumpsuit

Zopheez

Kerry Newman, board certified pediatrician, mother of three (including twins) and founder of Zopheez isn’t being facetious when she says she likes “mindless” things.  In fact, it’s an interest shared amongst her family and the inspiration for her line of infant and toddler zipper one-pieces. For more than 20 years, the family has passed a child’s jumpsuit with a simple zipper closure bought in Paris down from generation to generation. “It’s threadbare and the print isn’t very nice, but every cousin has owned it because is the absolute easiest thing to put on a small child,” Newman describes.

That jumpsuit became the blueprint for Newman’s unexpected turn into fashion. She stopped doing shift work at the hospital and spent her newly found spare time designing and sewing her kids’ one-of-kind, all-encompassing outfits. “Thank goodness for the Internet. I read up on everything I could find about the fashion industry and went on websites for people who wanted to break into fashion,” Newman says. Living near a thriving garment district in L.A. helped, too, as local experts were eager to come to the rescue. “I met with pattern makers and sewers. I asked a lot of questions. People were incredibly nice and gave me tons of information,” she says, noting that one patient printmaker spent two hours explaining printing processes.

Boy Jumpsuit

Boy Jumpsuit

Zoe Mint Green Tea Kimono

Zoe Mint Green Tea Kimono

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The zipper construction distinguishes the one-pieces from the rest of the baby market, but the line’s signature fun prints and colors allow Newman to key into her crafty side. But not even Newman’s innate creativity can out-step her sensible mommy instincts, as she points out, “The prints also help hide stains, which is especially important for crawlers.”

Myself Belts- Cupcake

Myself Belts- Cupcake

Myself Belts

As if potty training wasn’t a difficult hurdle to clear on its own, Myself Belts co-founder Talia Bahr Goldfarb discovered how traditional belts complicate the process even further when her son’s pants wouldn’t stay on. “We were going somewhere where his sweat pants wouldn’t be appropriate. I look everywhere, but I couldn’t find a belt that he could work on his own. It was hard to watch him struggle because he was so proud of his potty training independence,” she recalls.

Her sister, Danielle Bahr Eason, could not believe a kid-friendly belt did not exist in the market and decided to do something about it. “She was the push,” Bahr Goldfarb says of her sister. “She’s not a mom and had a lot more energy than me,” she laughs. Together, the sisters began to cut up belts and came up with an easy loop design that kids could handle on their own.

“We started the patent process and from there the momentum took us from point A to B and so on,” Barh Goldfarb says. Plenty of lessons of their own were learned along the way. When the company launched in 2004, the first order to China was comprised of 10,000 belts. “It was risky,” Barh Godfarb admits, “but we wanted a big assortment.” The optimistic order paid off. The company has close to 800 retail partners worldwide with distribution in Canada, Australia, Europe and the Philippines.

Whimsy ABC

Whimsy ABC

Big Dot

Big Dot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barh Godfarb’s advice for future mothers of invention: “Go with your gut and do not be led astray. Don’t get swayed by trends because many of the things that appealed to us early on still work. And as someone who didn’t know anything about this business beforehand, I can say that you must be willing to ask questions. There’s so much information out there for you, ready to be absorbed.”

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About the Author:

Angela Velasquez

With 4 years of experience as a children’s stylist and magazine editor, Angela brings you an insider’s perspective on trends and seasonal looks that will make babies and toddlers shine in their holiday photos and at birthday parties!  Angela also has a way of making everyday clothes and accessories look special — she’ll show you how.

Staff Picks: Lauren E.

My name is Lauren Ezzi, the Associate Marketing Manager here at BabyUnited. I’ve had a love for fashion since an early age when I insisted on wearing dresses, tunics, and leggings almost every day! So it’s only fitting that BabyLegs’ warmers are near and dear to my childhood fashion sense. Though my personal style has evolved, I still love the look for babies and kids!

Romper by OshKosh B'gosh Jelly Sandals by Gap Kids Harp by BabyLegs

 

Harp:

This ruffled romper is an adorable alternative to dresses and skirts, especially if your daughter loves to swing, hang, and run around the park. Pair it with our ruffled Harp legwarmers and jellies (another personal childhood wardrobe staple) and this girl is ready to take on the playground, with no worries of scraped knees!

 

 

 

 

 

StaffPicksMagnoliasMagnolias:

BabyLegs are not only great as an alternative to tights; they also look great with shorts! The pink shorts and white tank coordinate great with the magnolias warmer and will help keep little legs warm on chilly spring days.

 

StaffPicksPoppies

 

 

 

 

 

Poppies:

When I was a kid you could find me in a similar outfit on any given day… if only BabyLegs were around in the 90’s! These floral warmers are adorable for spring, and add an interesting touch to a simple tunic. Pair them with a summer sandal and your little girl has the perfect spring outfit.

Fashion Friday: Clothes that look on the bright side of life

Don’t let the Fashion Police know I said this, but fashion can be pretty ridiculous. It can be absurd, extravagant and just plain silly and in the big scheme of things—especially when there are much more important and disconcerting headlines making news—trends are nothing but a blip in pop culture history.But fashion sure is fun, and on days or weeks when you need a little lift-me-up, a bright frock or a cheery accessory can add pep to your step. Here are some happy style tips for kids because smiles never fall out of fashion.

SayCheeseSay Cheese

According to Robert R. Provine, the author of Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, babies tend to begin smiling between 3 and 4 months and thanks to grinning pacifiers and tween-friendly accessories, a lifetime of smiles is promised. Smiley faces might make you feel old—chances are, you wore them as a kid—but that friendly yellow face is as warm and comforting as an old friend.

BooginHead pacifier, pillow from Justice, Charm It! by High IntenCity bracelet

 

 

 

Walk the TalkWalk the Talk

Send good vibes out into the world with statement-making T-shirts decked out with positive messages and confidence-building sayings. It is the fashionable way to pay it forward and as Oprah Winfrey once said, “The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”

Tiny Revolutionary tee, Speak Nicely long-sleeve T-shirt, The Proper T Project shirt with lettuce hem

Sign Language

The peace sign, which first appeared in 1958, is as ingrained in kids’ fashion as hippie-style denim and funky tie-dye, but its message for harmony remains the same for Generation Z. The simple and bold symbol speaks volumes and becomes fashion-friendly in vibrant colors for girls and sweet designs for the tiniest peacemaker.

Sign Language

Target pajama set, Wildkin backpack, Target one-piece


Heart to HeartHeart to Heart

Designers agree: Love is all you need. Doodled on notebooks and carved into trees the world over, the symbol of love warms up the heart and is a subtle reminder of what makes the world go round. Kids can show their love with just about everything from cozy heart print sweaters and accessories to retro-inspired heart-shaped sunglasses.

crewcuts by J. Crew sweater, BabyLegs legwarmers, Children’s Place sunglasses

 

 

 

 

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About the Author:

Angela Velasquez

With 4 years of experience as a children’s stylist and magazine editor, Angela brings you an insider’s perspective on trends and seasonal looks that will make babies and toddlers shine in their holiday photos and at birthday parties!  Angela also has a way of making everyday clothes and accessories look special — she’ll show you how.

Fashion Friday: Earth Day Shines a Light on Eco-Friendly Baby Essentials

 

Birthdays, Mother’s Day, National Grilled Cheese Day—there are days on the calendar designated to celebrate special events, people and comforts. Monday, April 22, 2013 is no exception, as we mark the 43rd annual celebration of Earth Day. You and your baby can get an early start with eco-friendly apparel, gear and toys that you will want to use 365 days a year. And with designs as cool as these, you might even find a solution to global warming. By Angela Velasquez

 

 

OrganicClothing

BabyLegs Chromatic socks, Hanna Andersson pajamas, Kee Ka Organic yoga pants

Inside the Closet

The stats: Organic cotton is cotton cultivated from seeds that are not genetically modified and have grown without pesticides.

The benefits: Organic cotton doesn’t require as many harsh chemical treatments and pesticides as conventionally produced cotton, meaning your baby’s precious skin will less likely be exposed to harmful synthetic fertilizers, bleaching, artificial dyes and softeners. The au natural fabric also makes garments perfect hand-me-downs as it is less likely to break down as fast as regular cotton—helping you make the most of your earned green—and cutting down on waste.

The look: Gone are the days when the word “organic” meant baby one-pieces in sobering shades of oatmeal. From greens as bright as grass to blues as clear as skies, advancements in organic apparel have introduces a kaleidoscope of colors and prints to the category.

 *Go green tip: Use natural laundry detergent to scrub babies’ clothes clean. Detergents from The Honest Company and GreenShield Organic use ingredients that don’t irritate skin but guard color and rinse as thoroughly as standard detergents.

Eco on the go

Moby organic cotton wrap, Bummis organic wet bag, Fleurville diaper bag

 

Eco On the Go

The stats: Going green is a lifestyle and thanks to baby gear manufacturers incorporating more eco-friendly materials, moms can channel their inner Mother Nature.

The benefits: From blankets to carriers, babies are bundled in fabric from the moment they are born. Organic cotton wraps and swaddling blankets offer the same perks of organic apparel, while diaper bags made with natural cotton canvas and even from recycled plastic bottles let parents walk the eco talk and create good (green) habits for their family.

The look: Modern geo prints and chic, wardrobe-friendly slate and chocolate hues result in looks that say “cool mama”— and that’s a good thing!

 

Play Safe

HaPe racecar, Zoë B Organic beach toys, Yellow Label Kids rattles

The stats: Wood toys are classic, but toys made with bamboo wood—which grows in three years—offers sustainability and a blank canvas for water-based, non-toxic paints. Other materials, including organic knits, natural rubber and plastic made from corn (yes, corn!) keep kids connected to nature.

 The benefits: Toys are bound for baby’s mouth—and the landfill as soon as they outgrow the fun. Natural materials and non-toxic paints and glues make the toy box safer. Plus, organic toys are more likely to have a timeless design and be passed on to other siblings and family members, making the trinkets instant heirlooms.

The look: The most eye-catching organic toys take cues from the sleek, Scandinavian-inspired designs that nurture children’s imaginations and stay relevant with bold colors and whimsical touches.

*Go green tip: Hypoallergenic Natural Nursery & Toy Cleaner by Seventh Generation cleans plastic, painted and wood toys and removes odors.

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About the Author:

Angela Velasquez

With 4 years of experience as a children’s stylist and magazine editor, Angela brings you an insider’s perspective on trends and seasonal looks that will make babies and toddlers shine in their holiday photos and at birthday parties!  Angela also has a way of making everyday clothes and accessories look special — she’ll show you how.

Staff Picks: Lauren N.

LaurenNHi there! My name is Lauren Nobile and I’m the new E-Commerce Marketing Assistant at BabyUnited. I couldn’t be more thrilled to join the BU team. Although I’m not a mother, I was once voted “Best Babysitter Ever” by the neighborhood kids in my New Jersey hometown – a title I’m still proud of. I also have plenty of friends with young nieces and nephews that I ‘m surrounded by more than I ever expected. I’ve become very familiar with the  many uses of BabyLegs since I’ve come on board and I’ve grasped why our customers are so crazy for our products – distinguished designs, comfort, accessibility, practicality; I could go on all day.

Here are my favorites picks:

 

 

1. Anchors Away

Maybe vacations spent at the Jersey Shore or my summer birthday influence my taste, but  I’m completley obsessed with anything nautical for both genders. Sail boats, anchors, variations of the color blue all give off an “Americana” feel of timelessness.  It’s a classic look that can’t go wrong – for the young and old.

OshKosh B'Gosh: $10

OshKosh B’Gosh: $10

BabyLegs Anchors Away

BabyLegs Anchors Away

 

 

 

2. Fan-Tastic

It’s always a win going with something crisp and simple but to make it a homerun, there needs to be a pop of color to tie it all together. The playful Mediterranean colors in Fan-Tastic work perfectly with basic aesthetics for spring and summer months.

H&M Top: $9.95

H&M Top: $9.95

BabyLegs Fantastic

BabyLegs Fantastic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Alien-Invasion

I don’t need to tell you how fun babies are, so it’s a no brainer that fun babies like fun things. That’s one of the best parts of being around them! Cyclops aliens are not typically the cutest characters, but these legwarmers can put a goofy grin on anyone’s face.

OshKosh B'Gosh: $24

OshKosh B’Gosh: $24

BabyLegs Alien Invasion

BabyLegs Alien Invasion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are your favorite styles for Spring?