Life is pretty amazing when you think about it, and as we stepped inside the stunning Royal Exhibition Building on Thursday 4 August 2011, we were carried away with the magic of what lay before us.
The Life InStyle trade-only event that incorporated Kids InStyle showcasing 90 baby and kids brands, and over 190 lifestyle and home-wares brands, certainly delivered on its promise to “bring style to life”.
In the world of design for children, the people behind what we see are just such an amazing, creative, passionate group of people. Seeing their enthusiasm for what they create, listening to their stories and admiring their wares was such an honour and a pleasure. Edwina and I attended the show, and we have put together our top 20 picks from this edition of Kids InStyle for you.
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1. Green Hat Workshop Edwina and I were both very taken with this clever new innovation. PLANKS are the hottest new thing in building blocks and it’s easy to see why. These simple unassuming blocks, together with some imagination and gravity, can be made into some breathtaking creations. I am very eager to get some into the hands of the three boys (daddy included) at my house!
2. Bed Toppings It was an absolute delight to meet illustrator and creator of Bed Toppings, Sophie Farquhar, who was just launching at Kids InStyle. These amazingly detailed and quirky bed linen sets are a brand new concept when it comes to bedding for kids. Bed Toppings turn kids’ beds into giant objects, and I think Sophie is on to a winning idea. Each set includes a doona cover, flat sheet, fitted sheet and pillowcase, all made with soft 100% cotton with 200 thread count. Major fun factor.
3. Ola & Olek Sophisticated and different are the words I would use to describe the very lovely range of clothing and cushions by Ola & Olek. These garments are manufactured to a exceptionally high standard of quality, yet retain the certain funkiness you would find in a hand made label.
4. Nordichouse Living presented their wares in the Life InStyle section of the building and coming upon their stand was a pure delight. I think I found my daughter not one, but two Christmas presents that she will just adore. Nordichouse Living offers designer toys and accessories from Maileg of Denmark with exceptional attention to detail.
5. Miniseri Bags One trend we certainly noticed was in kids bags – just so many gorgeous new bags on the scene at KIS. And If bags were on trend then gosh, could you be any more on trend than this stylish French brand just arrived in Australia and premiering at Kids InStyle? LOVE at first sight for me. Inspired by the world of the 50′s and 60′s Miniseri revamp the old fashioned satchel fashioned ‘tuck’ clasps. In a range of styles, colours and materials, I want one for every member of the family!
6. Hugg-a-planet distributed by agent88. In a beautiful room it is sometimes hard to know where to let your eyes fall, but when a display is as striking as a mountain of Hugg-a-planets is, it’s hard not to notice it. Hugg-a-planet are the delightful range of soft earth, moon and mars educational toys. I could think of no better introduction to geography than these bright and totally squeezy toys – I want one.
7. Sleepi Spaces When you see a stand full of these lovely Moses baskets, you can easily see that this brand comes trues on it promise of ‘big style for precious little ones’. They are simply stunning. I would love to have a newborn again just so I could swaddle it and lay it in one of this baskets. In particular, the brand new chocolate wicker baskets are totally lush.
8. Smellies Clothing Pty Ltd It was Leah here at KidStyleFile who was the most excited to see this new company at Kids InStyle. But let me tell you, Edwina and I both let out our inner 80′s child out as we scratched, sniffed and hyper-coloured our way to some great nostalgic giggles. Totally safe, wearable fun for kids, these tees are just that – so much FUN!
9. Fabulous Goose presented by Best Nest. This Scandinavian company make woven and knitted 100% cotton baby blankets and cushions, together with the Hookie Children’s Hanger. Produced in Sweden from environmentally friendly plastic and reminiscent of the 50’s. Hookies come in a range of twelve vibrant colours to pick and choose and come in packs of 3. Baby size (0-1) Childrens sizes (1-6)…LOVE!
10. Madpax distributed by Plush Toys New Zealand. We’re on our bag theme again: one bag that caught our eye from a distance with its totally mad style is Madpax. These exceptional new bags have the ‘very cool’ factor going on. Made with both boys and girls in mind, I think they are just the bag that your little man in particular will lay his eyes on and be completely besotted by. They come in a range of sizes and colours and are bound to be a hit at preschool and kinder.
11. Kidsagogo From Bali and known internationally, Kidsagogo is a really fresh fashion label for babies and children 0-8 years. Made from 100% natural cottons and voiles the range is HUGE and many of the styles have bold hand embroidery and stitching. With beautiful colours, it’s just a perfectly put together collection.
12. Dandelion Kids Importer of award winning and stunningly beautiful German toys, Dandelion Kids were at KIS again showing of their wares, and we just wanted to stop and play forever! If you are looking for trademark German craftsmanship then look no more. Nic wooden toys were a particular standout for me again. These toys are just so smooth and pleasing to the eye.
13. Oobi Certainly a house-hold name around here at KidStyleFile, it is always a pleasure to get up close and personal with the team from Oobi. If you think one Oobi garment is a delight to behold you would be right, but imagine a whole stand full of Obbi goodness – it certainly packs a punch! It was great to see what is on the horizon for upcoming seasons. All you die hard Oobi fans will not be disappointed. It is totally Oobilicious! Check out the pic for a little sneak peak.
14. No Added Sugar presented by Kids Revolution A great slogan tee for kids can be a tricky balance to tread, but I think you will love what is on offer from No Added Sugar – what a cool name! No Added Sugar consists of street cool shirts, dresses, hats, t-shirts, playsuits, skirts, knitwear, trousers, jeans, blankets and gift sets for ages 0-12 years.
15. Little Mouse Brown Just prior to Kids InStyle Leah bought us coverage of Little Mouse Brown’s SS11 collection, so it was a real treat to meet Renee Lee, designer of this beautiful tween label. The display was as beautiful as the clothes it had to showcase, with lovely fabrics and easy to wear lines that look as though they will be a perfect match for the age group they have been designed for.
16. Quince Clothing You would well remember Jodie of Aunty Ollie who has been a top pick from past coverage of KIS events. Well she was back being her wonderful self, ready to show off not one, but two babies: photos of her newest daughter (which we got all clucky over) and her brand new baby Quince Clothing. Yes Aunty Ollie is being relaunched as Quince soon, with the same striking prints and lovely smooth lines, but a fresh approach. We are convinced the KSF love affair has been sealed.
17. Olive & Moss presented by sharra grow. This gorgeous new brand from the UK have a set of adorable characters featured on bibs, cards, grow suits and other baby essentials. We loved them from a distance and even more up close. Each character totally wins you over, and the high quality means this range will be perfect for gift giving.
18. Pear & Bear I was really looking forward to seeing this label in real life and I was certainly not disappointed. Designed and hand made in Melbourne Australia, the clothing offered by this label is just stunning in its originality and outstanding quality. Sized from 00-8 for boys and girls, I loved in particular that every item has been designed to mix and match. Impressive.
19. Lucky Boy Sunday presented by Best Nest. Made from 100% Baby Alpaca, Lucky Boy Sunday is a brand of modern luxury knitted art toys and soft furnishings for the home. Unique, chic and cute, these toys are befitting of a front cover shoot of international fashion magazine yet completely at home in the arms of your child.
20. Love, Luck & Wonder used Kids Instyle to burst onto the baby scene, and are bound to become something of feature in the quest for the perfect newborn gift. Their gorgeous animal printed little shoes look so tiny and sooo cute. They also have fab pram covers with matching pegs. All Love, Luck & Wonder’s gifts come beautifully packed ready to give.