LABEL TO WATCH – LITTLEBORNE
We just caught her before jetting off to Portugal, where she will be reviewing the samples of her new ‘baby’, a label for kids called littleborne. If everything goes according to plan, her due-date is end of the year. Christine Koelnberger-Aziz, a German-born and London-based fashion designer and mother of two, is sharing her journey with us. We have met the working mom and talked about motherhood, her new project and the challenges of digitalizing our children…
Because we are always searching for new and exciting labels, especially for kids, and can’t wait to see what Christine will come up with!
WTL: You are about to launch a new unisex children’s label. What has inspired you to do so?
CKA: I have two sons and when buying clothes for them, I struggle to find items that are of good quality, not too expensive, sustainable and plain (I think it is so frustrating to only see t-shirts with slogans or prints that try to define your child)! In the past seven years my world got taken over by my two sons Max and Leo. Founding littleborne is the perfect way for me to express the beautiful world of children and motherhood.
WTL: Who is behind LITTLEBORNE?
CKA: At the moment it is just me as the designer. Once the label has been launched, I am looking for more mums to join and contribute to this adventure along the way as part of the littleborne family.
WTL: In a nutshell, what is the label’s concept?
CKA: The concept is to offer a product that is great in quality and fit, simple and comfortable and available in different color combinations, which make it easy for parents to stock up the basics every child needs.
WTL: Which three words sum up what LITTLEBORNE stands for?
CKA: European. Easy-to-wear. Unisex.
WTL: So, is unisex children’s clothing the new trend?
CKA: I hope so! It is so much easier and more and more parents are getting tired of the stereotype clothing that make children look like superheroes and princesses. I want littleborne clothing to allow children to express their own individuality and not to let their clothing do the talking for them.
WTL: There will be no pink and blues then?
CKA: Still blues as girls look really cool in blue! And if there is a pink it will be a pale pink or light rose that boys can wear as well!
WTL: Which age groups do you primarily cater to?
CKA: Two to ten years old kids.
WTL: What kind of mother do you want to buy into your label?
CKA: A mother that loves nature and loves to see her children to run, jump, skip and move in it. She is aware of the environment and cares. She loves good quality, comfort and an easy way to purchase it!
WTL: And what kind of kid is wearing it?
CKA: Every kid! It will be the perfect clothing to staple – you can’t go wrong with!
WTL: In a dream world, which kid would you want to see wearing LITTELBORNE?
CKA: Actually, I do not have a celebrity child in mind. I guess seeing friend’s children wearing it will be amazing!
WTL: If you could describe your label as a (a) single piece of clothing (b) a celebrity or (c) an animal, what would it be respectively?
CKA: (a) a child’s favorite tee (b) Mowgli (c) an eagle.
WTL: What do you think are the most important triggers for today’s mothers to fall in love with a certain brand?
CKA: Lifestyle! The brand needs to represent and fit in with the family’s lifestyle and embody their approach to life.
WTL: When will LITTLEBORNE be launched?
CKA: We are still in the planning phase at the moment, aiming to launch later this year.
WTL: What are this summer’s “must-haves” and key trends for kids?
CKA: Littleborne will not be a trend driven label but I can see that leisurewear is getting really big.
WTL: What are your Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to dressing / styling kids?
CKA: I always try and choose clothes for my children that are not too extreme, no slogans, no Disney nor comics. I like to buy comfy clothes for them so they can run and move and still look cool. I always buy very simple clothing and always oversized…
WTL: What style advice would you give to mothers for their kids?
CKA: Keep it simple and easy, always buy your child’s clothes a bit bigger – I think children look so cute in a jumper with rolled up sleeves!
WTL: In your opinion, what is different today compared to ten years ago when it comes to kids fashion?
CKA: Ten years ago a lot of brands actually produced plain clothes. Today, it is all about slogans and prints. Ten years ago people bought fewer pieces and better quality. Now, the high street and online shopping make clothes more accessible to everybody and it seems to be quantity over quality.
WTL: What are some other kids brands that, in your opinion, are getting it right?
CKA: I love a lot of kids wear labels! One of my favorite is “Bobo choses”. They do prints but just speak the language of children.
WTL: Where do you find the best furniture for kids?
CKA: I love “rafa-kids”!
WTL: Who inspires you as a designer?
CKA: Friends and family…
WTL: What was the best advice someone ever gave you?
CKA: Have children whilst you have the energy to run after them and explore the world with them!
WTL: What could you not live without?
WTL: You are about to launch a new label while leaing a busy family life. How do you balance it all?
CKA: Oh, this is difficult to answer! When I launched my first fashion label “borne by Elise Berger” I struggled with switching off after a day of work. What I have learned for my second venture is the importance to keep work and family life separate. And when you focus on one, always give it a 100%.
WTL: What do you do that is just for you?
CKA: Being a mum and having your own business is challenging but amazing if you find out how it works for you! It is important to have that “just-me-moment”. Mine is to go for a run! Plugging my headphones in helps me to switch off completely. Meditation is amazing too. I am just getting into that…
WTL: Which entrepreneurial moms do you admire?
WTL: How important is social media for you and your work?
CKA: I have always been quite shy when it comes to social media. Already with my womenswear label “borne by Elise Berger” people advised me to use it more. But it is now with littleborne that I feel more connected to the family- and mother-world out there. And I am starting to love it…
WTL: What are your favorite kids blogs?
WTL: And what Instagra accounts to you love to follow?
WTL: What is your opinion on the digitalization of our kids (educational games on i-pads etc.)?
CKA: Actually, in our family we try to stay as much away from it as we can. I was never into apps on my phone and do not even have an ipad. But it is difficult to strike a balance. I have to admit that I had a lego and peppa pig app on my phone for a few weeks, but deleted them as I saw my sons were constantly asking for it. For now, I try not to dive into that world just yet. I am not even sure if this is a good approach though as digitalization is the future, but I think they still have enough time to explore that.
WTL: What are your favorite child-friendly places in London?
CKA: We moved to London two years ago, and I am amazed about how many green and big parks there are! Battersea Park is one of my family’s favorite. I do not like the typical children restaurants as the food is not that good and they are very busy and hectic (having lived in Spain, it is quite normal to take children to any restaurant and we just do the same in London pretending it is acceptable).
WTL: What are the three items you cannot live without?
CKA: Flowers, coffees, and jeans.
WTL: Windows down, the song you are playing is?
CKA: Black or White by Michael Jackson. I am useless with music and it is either that or the lion king soundtrack that my children listen to…
WTL: Where do you go for inspiration, peace of mind?
CKA: To busy places! It sounds weird but I love walking around busy roads in London. We live in Southwest London and whenever I get the opportunity, I would dive into the busy city world!
WTL: Every kid should have…
CKA: …the opportunity to live up to his or her creativity.
WTL: When you were a child you dreamed you would grow up to be…
CKA: …an artist and my artist name would be Elise Berger.
WTL: If you could leave us with one thought, what would it be?
CKA: Let them be little-borne!