Fashion has become much more ingrained in culture in the past few generations. 'Many parents now maintain fashion as a part of their lifestyles and they want it to reflect through their kids,' says Calvin Yu, co-founder of new luxury children's eyewear label Sons + Daughters, at the launch of its debut collection. It seems that Yu and co-founder Shiva Shabani have tapped into a zeitgeist with a rather niche product. And they are not the only ones. Luxury French fashion house Lanvin, headed by Alber Elbaz, is launching its debut children's wear line in November for next spring-summer that is being sold as 'super-luxurious', using fine fabrics for fast-growing children. Versace is also launching a children's wear line for next spring named Young Versace, and Gucci launched children's wear this spring, with adverts showing Jennifer Lopez with her adorable twins in her arms, posing as the faces of the range. The Italian label apparently celebrated the launch of its children's line by donating US$1 million to Unicef's 'Schools for Africa' initiative. Recession or not, toddler luxury is here to stay. The trend has been gaining momentum in recent years, perhaps fuelled in part by celebrity parents. The long arm of luxury fashion has reached out to hipster parents, yummy mummies and those with a new-found interest in dressing their children in trendy and often expensive outfits. Lane Crawford is opening an entire children's section later this year as part of its Tsim Sha Tsui store relaunch. 'Now you see more stores in Hong Kong like Mama Kid or Petit Bazaar because there are a lot of mothers looking for boutiques like that, says mother, designer and founder of Siaomimi children's wear label, Hilda Yim. 'More and more people are realising that there are fashions they can choose instead of buying the really regular products.' Yim's sweet and stylish Siaomimi brand is also making inroads outside Hong Kong, with sales elsewhere in Asia, Europe and America. A new generation of fashion-conscious parents has led to edgier labels such as A for Apple, founded by Denise Ho. The Hong Kong fashion stylist and Rhode Island graduate is known for her cool and hip, rather than simply cute, designs. 'We do premium children's wear and we use a lot of high-quality organic materials,' Ho says. She adds that parents can be picky about fabrics, and that she uses a natural, light material made from eucalyptus wood in much of the line. For their very niche market, the challenge is making a mark in the retail sector. But Yu and Shabani of Sons + Daughters are getting a good start. 'Luckily, our first order is with Lane Crawford,' Yu says, adding that they hope that their quirky, classical designs and high quality will win fans internationally. A for Apple is already garnering attention outside Hong Kong, for its collaboration with super-cool cult fashion label Opening Ceremony, which debuted this spring. Retailer I.T has already picked it up, and it launches in its Hong Kong stores this month. Ho says that when she approached Opening Ceremony's Humberto Leon he signed on almost immediately. The co-production focuses on trendy, kooky and comfortable children's wear to please both children and their ultra-hip parents. 'Our collaboration with Opening Ceremony is an amazing project - the biggest thing that has happened to us - and the feedback has been phenomenal,' Ho says. 'There has been so much press and we're working on the next collection now. There are also a couple of projects lined up with toys and some artists.' 'Most of our contemporaries still cater to what they think the kids like and end up with aesthetics closer to toys than cool eyewear,' says Shabani, who also works as a fashion stylist in Canada and Hong Kong. But Shabani says the children's wear industry is moving towards providing the same sophistication and quality as adult fashion. 'Most major luxury and boutique brands have created children's wear lines. Trends are basically mimicking what is current in the adult market - but there are always the tried and true classics, just in a smaller scale,' she says. Ho agrees. 'Trendy children's wear these days is all about shrunken down adult clothes. But the price point is also important.' Her quirky collections have children decked out in stylish adult details such as varsity jackets, fine knits, leopard prints or leather trims but still with cuts that fit children. However, Yim of Siaomimi, a Parsons graduate who previously designed for Anna Sui and Donna Karan in New York, prefers to keep the two worlds separate. 'I try to stay really conscious of that, because I don't really like adult-looking children's wear. I can like it when it's influenced a little by womenswear, but I prefer clothes that are more cute and childish,' she says. Yim adds that the industry is more forgiving than the adult market's relentless trend cycles. 'You can apply elements of trends rather than go over the top. For example, babydoll dresses always work for little girls, but you can add a trendy detail in a print or trim to make it more fashionable. It is much easier.' Meanwhile, Sons + Daughters taps into a retro classics vibe with its vintage pop icon-inspired first collection, which includes references to John Lennon's and Bob Dylan's iconic eyewear. Yu says he was always aware of the stigma glasses have for children, having worn glasses himself since he was three years old. 'Finding a cool style was very difficult,' he says. 'Many of our fashionable peers began having kids and we heard them complain of not being able to find cool eyewear for them.' 'The parents will love the brand for its sense of humour, yet sophisticated, cool and classic look,' Shabani adds with a smile. 'The kids will love the brand because it is fun and it will make them feel like cool grown ups!' Ho, Yu and Shabani all say it's tough to be a start-up in the children's wear industry. Yim says a lot of smaller, niche businesses tend to do quite well. 'Mums are very sentimental,' she says. 'Even I don't like to dress my children head to toe in a big label. I think the really interesting labels are the less established ones.' The international brands are hoping to change this attitude. Anyone who thinks parents might be unwilling to spend a few thousand Hong Kong dollars on a jacket that their toddler will outgrow in a few months had better think again. More and more stylish, luxury labels have introduced children's ranges in recent years and others are rushing to join the fray. Of the big houses, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry and Armani all do it. And then there is Rykiel Enfant, Junior Gaultier and Little Marc Jacobs. Burberry has been highly successful in its interpretation of iconic brand styles for children, ranging from newborns to early teens. The German-born, South Korean-owned MCM luggage and bag label has even created a monogrammed children's backpack, which has become a cult item sought after by Hong Kong's celebrity parents. High fashion department stores are rushing in. There are high expectations for Lane Crawford's children's wear section and I.T already carries many children's items, with the autumn season hailing new stock from Isabel Marant, Ne-net, Hysteric Glamour's Hysteric Mini & Joey Hysteric, Opening Ceremony by A for Apple and also Izzue. There are plenty of options to choose from, including smaller boutiques such as Mama Kid and Petit Bazaar. Also popular in Hong Kong are labels such as cult brand Petit Bateau and Les Compagnie des Petits, founded in 1991, currently one of France's biggest children's fashion retailers, while mass labels such as H&M and Zara have long tapped into this market. There are already stacks of magazines dedicated to children's fashion and apparel. Like Vogue Enfants, they increasingly become less trade focused and more targeted on the consumer. Like it or loathe it, your progeny are soon going to be better dressed than you. Autumn-winter's coolest cuts Opening Ceremony by A for Apple and A for Apple We love both the hipster collaboration line with Opening Ceremony (at I.T, One Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay) and A for Apple's preppy 'back-to-school' autumn- winter collection. The trimmed blazers and varsity jackets feature fantastic detailing, and button-up shirts, jersey and plaid all make for a fashionable return to the classroom. Available at Mama Kid, Man Yee Arcade, 67 Queen's Road, Central, tel: 2982 2118 Gucci The children and baby lines are inspired by the English countryside with dark green and orange hues. Countryside chic, a big adult trend this autumn-winter, also features on a smaller scale with mini riding boots, bright jackets and duffel-coats, and macs scoring high on the cute factor. Luxurious cashmere for girls and plenty of mini accessories make this line extremely fashion-forward. Gucci, The Landmark, Central tel: 2524 4492 Sons + Daughters The debut collection at this label is unique for taking inspiration from past pop culture icons of the parent's generation. Bob Dylan, Jackie Onassis, John Lennon and author Hunter S. Thompson's famous shades provide the basis for these stylish frames for children. Available at Lane Crawford, Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui in March 2012. Siaomimi We love this season's playfulness and mix-and-match combinations. Look out for hipster looks that don't compromise comfort, such as colour block check shirt (HK$480) and kung fu pants (HK$485) or the babydoll dresses. Available at Mama Kid, Man Yee Arcade, 67 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2982 2118 Burberry Kids This year's autumn-winter collection is inspired by the label's archives, trademarks and iconic outerwear from the main lines: stylish mini trenches, biker jackets and parkas are particularly sweet, with military inspired details, layering and leather trims that add luxurious detailing you would expect to see on grown-up designer wear. We are especially enamoured with pieces such as the beige trench coat - an adorable miniature version of the famous Burberry trench, and the moss green cinched puffa jacket. Available at Burberry Kids, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2377 4493 Kicokids We're big fans of this Hong Kong and US-based label, founded by ex-Ports 1961 designer Tia Cibani. It offers ethereal children's clothes born out of nostalgia. Look for fabulous outfits like the utilitarian blue set for boys, matching cap and striped soft scarf or the unique grey jersey and yellow tulle textured dress, perfect for little princesses. Available at Petit Bazaar, 80 Queen's Road East, Wan Chai, tel: 2544 2255 or online at www.kicokids.com .