If you think about it, children are the ultimate clothing consumers.
They need endless spare T-shirts and pants to change into after spills,
stains and accidents. Their stylists (aka parents) tend to love dressing
them up in cute little outfits, and they grow so quickly that their
wardrobes need to be updated almost every season.
children’s fashion scene is perhaps less glamorous and over-the-top than
its adult counterpart, it is no less booming a business.
season, Israel welcomes two newcomers to the land of the little looks.
Castro Kids and Lili and Tom are both local brands, but they are as
different as can be. Castro is a big corporation with oodles of stores
up and down the country, while the entirety of the Lili and Tom empire
consists of two stores.
Castro’s foray into children’s fashion
marks an expansion of the company’s already-firm grip on the local
retail market. To make this venture possible, Castro spent more than NIS
20 million, including a NIS 4m budget for television commercials.
the flip side, Eti and Udi Sayeg, the owners of Lili and Tom, do no
marketing or advertising at all. The label has become a staple among Tel
Aviv babies and children solely by word of mouth, and the Sayegs have
no plans to change that in the near future.
this year at the Castro Fall/Winter Fashion Show, Etti Rotter, one of
the four controlling shareholders of the Castro label, officially
declared that a “little brother” of the company was about to be
unveiled. A few days later, TV ads featuring members of the Artik Music
School Rock Orchestra decked out in the brand new Castro Kids duds, hit
the air. Within weeks, 24 stores were opened throughout the country
featuring Castro’s take on cool kids.
The line, which ranges from
newborn to 14, keeps in step with the aesthetic that Castro has come to
be known for. There are lots of prints, graphic T-shirts, colorful
patterns and a ton of denim. In fact, the Castro designers were tasked
with “downsizing” their adult line to suit children. As such, Castro
Kids incorporates many of the trends that grown-ups will be wearing this
fall, such as leopard, metallic and plaid.
All the fabrics
chosen for the children’s line were selected with comfort in mind. There
are no heavy knits or clunky winter jackets, as Castro designs with the
Israeli climate in mind. What the stores are filled with are the kinds
of basics that parents never seem to have enough of at affordable
Lili and Tom
a stroll through Habima on any given afternoon, one would think that
the Sayegs were holding the reins of a major corporation. Nearly every
other child is sporting an item from Lili and Tom, a huge accomplishment
for such a young label.
What has helped Lili and Tom catch fire is the label’s casual, laid-back aesthetic.
in perfectly with the cotton T-shirts and baggy pants that are the
calling card of Tel Aviv fashion, Lili and Tom offers cool casuals for
The Sayegs are a married couple in their 40s, the parents of two teenage children.
They share the creative side of the work completely, collaborating on all designs.
Udi also handles production of the garments, while Eti attends to her other retail venture, Gallabia in Neveh Tzedek.
There is a sophistication about Eti and Udi’s designs that is rare in their market.
don’t want to make adult clothes in small sizes,” says Eti. “We focus
on getting good fabrics and letting them guide us. I believe that if the
materials are good, you don’t need to add too much to them.”
Their staple garment is the striped T-shirt.
comes in many colors and sizes, from newborn to 14. When the Sayegs
decided to embark upon this adventure, Eti knew that she wanted to base
the label around a specific color scheme.
“A lot of children’s
clothes make it look like kids are living in a different world from us,”
she says over an espresso at Delicatessen, next door to their Yehuda
Halevy location. “There is so much pink and fuchsia in kids’ clothes. We
wanted to create something a little less clueless. We knew right away
that we wanted browns. Next to that, we added happy colors like bright
blue and red.”
The Sayegs’ vision for their stores includes
accessories, playtime essentials and handmade toys. Both the Yehuda
Halevy and the Shenkin Street locations are designed to create a burst
of color in the midst of urban Tel Aviv. And though the feel of the
label is upscale, the prices are surprisingly low.
“It’s very important to us to be reasonable. We want to be accessible to everyone,” Udi says.
such a dynamic business. We want to be the place that always has
something new,” Eti elaborates. “We want to excite our customers by
continuing to surprise them with the next thing.”