"If your mom picks your clothes and you don't like them, tell her they don't fit."-Christine, age 6
There is probably no greater time to be a mini-fashionista. Forget Osh Gosh, a baby's first words might be Missoni, Gucci and Zara (all of which have kids lines). Little divas can add even more stylish choices to their wardrobes thanks to sisters Rupa Motwani and Amisha Patel. Hitting just the right balance of toddler with a little bit of tiara and a dash of international chic, the siblings are the founders of kids clothing line, Ode. Combining Indian textiles with modern designs, the duo is getting plenty of blogosphere buzz about their fusion line that they describe as clothes that "evoke faraway places without looking like souvenirs." Pink Rickshaw had a chance to chat with the gals behind Ode about their company and cute collections for tots.
PR: You named your brand for the Indian village of Ode. Tell us why it was so special to you.
ODE: Ode is where our father grew up. And visits there, for a long time, were the closest we could get to a time machine. Things there stood still while the rest of the world marched on. We played at the same places my father did as a child. The fact that it was so far away in distance and time made it seem an exceptionally magical escape. Also, the parrots, monkeys and very cool ice-cream flavors certainly helped make Ode so special..even today.
PR:We love that Ode has coined the term "globetoddler". Describe one.
ODE: A globetoddler knows no boundaries or borders. The world is her playground and the people in it are her friends and family.
PR: What was the inspiration for the Spring 2012 collection?
ODE: Our source of inspiration was the beautiful and lush greens of India's tropical south. We used ikats and block prints, trying to recall the colors of spices, the sea and the lush landscape there.
PR: Tell us a little bit about the Fall/Winter collection.
ODE: For Fall/Winter 2012, we're working with co-ops in Peru to produce accessories and sweaters in alpaca wool as well as pima cotton to complement our core collection made from Indian textiles. We want to tone down a little and use more earth tones.
Based in New York, Amisha and Rupa left corporate America to pursue building the kids line after Rupa's three-year-old daughter Arya declared, "I'm not Indian. I'm regular." In an attempt to show her niece that being "regular" did not mean having to abandon her Indian culture, Amisha designed dresses for her that used traditional Indian fabrics for modern designs -- ones that she would feel comfortable wearing around all her friends. The idea was then born for a children's clothing company that gave the sisters a business with plenty of room for creativity and fun.
PR: What is the most difficult thing about starting your own line?
ODE: The most difficult thing is finding a great manufacturer to bring your ideas to life. We produce in India with a factory owned by an Indian woman, which is rare. She has a degree in textiles, a background in fashion and runs a wonderful operation in Jaipur. We're so lucky to have found her.
PR: What are some challenges when designing clothes for kids?
ODE: I find it challenging to balance what kids want to wear with what buyers and parents want them to wear. We want to design a line that is sophisticated enough for a seasoned buyer but playful and fun enough to make a little girl happy and excited.
PR: What can we expect to see in future lines?
ODE: We definitely plan to branch out to boys and do more with infant wear as well as home. We get a lot of requests for adult sizes so we're toying with that idea as well!
PR: Who are some of your favorite designers?
ODE: For kids, Baby Eggi, Kiko Kids, Nikko Nikko, Anais and I and Deux Par Deux. Grown up lines we love are Tibi, Rag & Bone, Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler.
PR:What are some trends we can expect to see in kids' clothing this Winter?
ODE: Jewel tones, faux fur, motorcycle chic, rock and roll and generally a lot of glamour. Maybe the double dip has designers dreaming up a recovery?
PR: Any advice you would like to share with other fashion entrepreneurs that are starting out?
ODE: Talk to everybody about what you're trying to do so you can meet as many people who can help you along the way. In the beginning, you are going to have a lot of questions that Google might not answer. Learning from other entreprenuers' mistakes can save you a lot of time and money. I would also say it's important to set realistic goals for yourself and the company, and not to get discouraged if it seems you're not reaching your goals quickly.