Fasten your seat belts, everyone – the slowest children’s clothing brand in history is about to take off!
It’s taken almost five years, one baby and one international relocation. But the first grow-along dress that will last your child for at least two years is finally ready.
Yes, Babbily takes slow fashion to new heights (or lengths). Today you’re supposed to “fail fast”. But some ideas just need time. Mine came out of the lessons I learned as my children were growing and playground-testing my prototypes.
It started as a hobby, upcycling old clothes to make new trousers for my little son. And it might have stayed that way had he not been obviously more comfortable wearing these handmade pieces.
So, lesson one: cut matters. Children’s clothing has to be comfortable and give lots of freedom for movement.
This for me is what is consistently hard to find with high-street brands.
Fast forward a couple of years. I left my job and decided to concentrate on producing comfortable trousers (not even a clothing brand yet). That year I retrained in pattern and garment making, made my first “growing” trousers prototype and discovered I was going to have another baby. Oh, and we decided to move to Vienna.
Meanwhile, my son was busy testing the prototype trousers, and they tore at the knees before they could even grow.
Lesson two: After the age of about 2 trousers get torn within two-three months. They never have a chance to grow.
I started experimenting with fabrics to solve the knee issue – rip-stop, scuba, hemp … They worked OK, but for trousers to last for at least a year it needed to be something very robust and soft at the same time.
Meanwhile my daughter was growing, so I made her a growing dress. It ended up being her and my favourite nursery dress. Then a one-size summer dress followed. She is a very independent baby and loves dressing on her own.
Lesson three: children’s clothing needs to be very easy for children to put on. No complicated fasteners.
The dress was ready and the trousers were still in testing, so I decided to go into production with the dress first. COVID complicated things – production was delayed twice, and once I had to find a new manufacturer after whole factories were put into quarantine. But it’s done, and the dresses have arrived!
And then, completely by chance I came across an Austrian company that specialises in durable fabrics for sport and active lifestyle that could deliver exactly what I needed for trousers. Finally! So now the trousers are coming very soon too.
Would I have learned these lessons if I just did desk research? Possibly. But living it is a whole different experience. And this became the essence of Babbily: being and growing with children, seeing their different needs and facing challenges as a parent.
I’ve learned a lot more along the way, and this will be part of Babbily for future designs. Meanwhile, even if your children are too big by now, please share this with your friends who might need growing, durable, comfortable clothing!