5 tinyDWED approved New York City kids brands
Estella is owned by Jean Polsky and her husband, Chike Chukwulozie. She was born in New York City and was interested in fashion since she was old enough to figure out how to dress herself. In 2002, Jean and Chike opened Estella, an eclectic, high-end designer baby and children’s clothes boutique in New York’s Village. The concept behind Estella was to bring the amazing, artisan-inspired kids’ clothing we saw scattered across Europe here to New York. In 2002, luxury children’s fashion in NYC was synonymous with big box retail, big price tags, and somber, conservative frocks. They saw things differently. “Kids have personality,” they reasoned, “their clothes should too.” Their vision was built on high quality kids’ and baby clothes that were designed by mothers, not corporations. These creations were full of gorgeous colors, textures and spirit. Kids loved wearing these clothes and parents loved owning them.
Estella's baby toy rattles and one piece bodysuits are all made with GOTS certified organic cotton. This means that it is safe for babies, the earth and the people who work on the fabric. The certifying body assure that the cotton yarn is grown with minimal pesticides and chemicals which means that the end product is safe for the kids wearing the clothes or playing with the toys, the farm workers who handle the raw materials and the environment is spared of toxic chemical run offs. This coupled with the handmade nature of most of their products makes them a little more expensive, but they believe it is worth the expense.
In addition to always striving to work with organic cotton, bamboo and other sustainable materials, they work with ethical manufacturers who take pride in what they do and who treat their employees fairly. They are very proud to partner with a small community of knitters in Peru for their organic cotton rattles, security baby blankets and kids’ décor items. Likewise, they take pride in manufacturing their knit layette collection and alpaca blankets with a certified fair trade, fair wage organization in Bolivia.
Estella’s goal is to produce beautiful, high quality designs at a price that is fair to everyone they touch. As manufacturers, they believe they have multiple stakeholders. They care not only about offering you, their valued customer, a high quality product at a price that is fair, but they also care about the men and women who bring their designs to life with their beautiful creations. They strive to support them and their communities with fair wages, good treatment, and the knowledge of a craft that can sustain them and their children. Their hand-made products are not inexpensive, but they find that their customers genuinely appreciate their innovative designs and their superior quality. Most of all, their customers feel good knowing that with each Estella purchase, they are helping to support a community of artisans who are compensated fairly while doing a job they can be proud of.
2. baby DEGEN
Designer Lindsay Degen began creating her quirky knits at the age of three when her grandmother gave her a set of knitting needles and taught her how to stitch. In pursuit of mastering her skill set, Lindsay attended the Rhode Island School of Design as well as Central Saint Martins in London. After graduating Degen moved to New York City to create her crafty, concept-based collections under the namesake DEGEN.
After establishing herself as a top designer in the contemporary knitwear scene DEGEN set out to conquer another key market — baby apparel. In the summer of 2013 babyDEGEN made its debut, and was both a critical and commercial success. The line features separates, onesies and accessories made from the softest and most durable fabrics incorporating the same cheeky aesthetic the designer has become known for.
“The line is playful and cute,” says Degen. “The silhouettes are basically the same as my womenswear line, because it is all about function. The textiles are what really shine.”
Something Lexy was aware of every day, maybe more than she'd like to be, is the presence of chemicals, toxins, and harmful substances in the foods, common objects, and personal care products that we expose ourselves to on a nearly constant basis. A little research shows how hazardous it is, not only to the human body but also our environment. She began the transition slowly by swapping water bottles for glass and gradually changed all her daily products to organic chemical-free products.
The organic revolution has also affected baby products, which have experienced an increasingly growing trend on baby registries seeking eco-friendly, organic, BPA-free (even when baby products say “BPA Free” they could still be hiding other chemicals), and “Made in the USA.”
Mindful of this, she searched endlessly for a baby gift online that met these specific requirements. She saw tons of adorable toys but she was looking for something which would suit a fashionable friend. She began trying to think outside the box and she realized she was looking for something which didn't exist... yet. And so she decided to explore the trendier side of eco baby products.
After researching safe alternatives to plastic she discovered that wood – yes, wood – is the best choice since it is non-toxic, non-allergenic, naturally antibacterial, and non-splintering!
At first, she created baby toys and teethers based on her favorite chic accessories but she received such amazing feedback that she since expanded the Lexypexy line, started an LLC, and launched www.lexypexy.com.
Lexypexy teethers have been checked via laboratory testing (no animals were involved) and are in compliance with all CPSC regulations. These days, instead of dreaming about which next pair of shoes she has to have, she is thinking about how she can make them into a cute wood teether or toy. With Lexypexy products she is aiming to bring a slice of trendiness, some style, and bit less worry into your life.
Mira, Founder of Pirasta, believes fun and education come together through interaction and participation. They embraces exploration. They love art and design. And they love learning, too. Their goal is simple: They want to bridge these passions to create one big colorful world. They deliver the big picture and leave the color up to you. And they don’t care if you go outside the lines.
“Growing up, my parents would tape a large sheet of paper to the wall and my sister and I would spend hours drawing and coloring on it. When my son started drawing on the walls of our small NYC apartment, it seemed like a good idea to give him a way to pursue his heart’s desire without causing lasting damage. So, I did what my parents did but, because he was crazy about rocket ships, I drew him a space scene to color. That was when the idea for Pirasta was born."
Michael Ryan and Sophie Demenge are the husband-and-wife team who created Oeuf. Born and raised in upstate New York, Ryan brings an engineer’s perspective and eye for minimalist design to the company’s high-quality, functional pieces. Raised in Paris, Sophie’s playful and practical approach to design was nurtured in such diverse places as the philosophy department at the Sorbonne, trapeze classes in San Francisco and the Pratt Institute in New York.
After meeting, the pair teamed up to hone their aesthetic in R+D Designs, a home goods company known for ingenious pieces. The birth of their first child in 2002 turned the couple’s talents to children’s design, and together they created Oeuf with the vision to provide modern parents with high-quality, streamlined pieces that are sustainably sourced and responsibly created. The company started with just one crib, and has grown to produce several lines of stylish nursery and junior furniture, kids’ clothing, fun toys and elegant yet whimsical décor objects, sold all over the world. Michael and Sophie live in Brooklyn with their two children, who are their main source of inspiration for creating new products. Being parents gives them great insight into what kids will love using and what parents want, allowing for kid-friendly furniture and décor to blend in a modern stylish house. Their family values reinforce their commitment to ethical business practices – leading to the company motto, “Be Good.”
Oeuf’s commitment to combining intuitive design, ecological and sustainable production with simple & clean style has made it one of the most respected and independent brands in the market.