When it comes to kid’s fashion “cool” is the new “cute.” Fashion designer Andrew Made is ushering a new era in fashion for toddlers that takes things to a fresh, edgy place. His line, Made Kids, (You know I love that, right?) offers apparel, hats and accessories for newborns through twelve-year-olds. 100% American made, the foundation of the line is a strict adherence to quality and comfort. What sets them apart is their swag-a-licious styling that makes you slightly jealous of the toddlers rocking this street-inspired line.
After earning his Bachelor’s in finance, Andrew had a pivot moment that is all too familiar to entrepreneurs. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, he decided to pursue his dream of starting a fashion line and dedicated his life to making this dream come true. Today the line is sold at a variety of retailers including Traditions, in the Beverly Center. I got the chance to talk to Andrew about his vision and inspiration for this clothing line. Take a look!
SW: What inspired you to start the MADE Kids line?
Andrew Made: It was really just my love for fashion and trying to push that culture forward. I’ve always been very fashion conscious and aware of trends. I wanted to translate that passion into the children’s fashion space because I felt that there was a big void in that space as it related to edgy and aggressive children’s wear. I wanted to give fashion conscious parents the ability to dress their children in the same style of clothes that they would wear.
SW: Where do you get your inspiration for the designs?
AM: I really get my inspiration from the things around me and my life experiences. Whether it be from music, travel, or the arts, all of my experiences sort of shape my perception of fashion and directly influences my design aesthetic. Not to mention, I have an awesome creative/design team behind me who have incredible concepts and fresh ideas. It really is a collaborative effort.
SW: You received a degree in finance but then chose to go into fashion. Why the switch?
AM: Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot working in the finance industry and certain parts of those skill sets help me run this business and other businesses that I operate. Finance was just not my passion. When I had the opportunity to take the entrepreneurial route, I knew it was my calling. The Road Less Traveled, I guess. I just wanted to do something impactful with my life in a space that I was really enthusiastic about.
SW: How has your finance degree helped you in your business?
AM: Just from a sheer operations standpoint. For example, having a baseline understanding of accounting is critical in any business, I think. There are a number of moving parts in this business that need to be accounted for. I feel that my finance background allows me to process and understand a lot of the transactions that occur without getting lost in the shuffle. As with any start up, having a keen understanding of cash flow and burn rate is critical. Also, managing a law firm out here in Miami has also given me keen insight into business from both a finance and legal perspective. I’m definitely a sponge when it comes to learning new information and applying those principles in operating my businesses.
SW: Why start a line for kids?
AM: It was something I saw the need for and a space in fashion that I really thought was lacking. From a business standpoint, I knew I was entering a competitive market that was littered with “street wear” brands. I loved the traditional streetwear concepts, and wanted to place my own spin on it. I felt that the children’s fashion market was a perfect place to make this happen. After receiving the positive feedback from the initial line, I knew we were onto something.
SW: What was the point when you felt you had reached success?
AM: [Laughs] I still don’t feel like I’ve reached “success”. That’s something I work at everyday. I think that’s what drives me to keep working and creating things that create an impact and have meaning. Success is a very hard thing to quantify, but as long as my family and friends are healthy and I’m able to pursue my passion everyday, I have no real complaints.
SW: Why is it important for you to keep street culture alive for the next generation?
AM: No doubt, MADE Kids is highly inspired by street wear sensibilities. It’s part of the culture that I represent as well. However, we are looking to take traditional street wear to the next level and incorporate elements of high fashion as well. We will always remain true to our roots, but we want to be seen as more than a streetwear brand.
SW: Kids probably don't get the references on the shirts, but how do they respond to the clothes?
AM: The references may predate the children, but it’s the parents that connect with the graphics and lyrics. It takes them back to a bit of nostalgia and allows them to dress their children in clothes that are both relatable and fashion forward. You'd be surprised what kids these days understand. Our line goes up to size 12 and those older kids definitely understand what’s up.
SW: What's next for MADE Kids?
AM: We have just released the cut and sew line this past season and are now gearing up for the release of our girls line in spring 2015. We’ve also been in discussions to release a capsule collection, so keep an eye out for that. Also, we will be at the AGENDA Shows this summer as well as well as ENK! So come check us out. Overall, We’re excited for the expansion and reach of the band. We’ve been fortunate to receive love and support from a number of athletes, celebs and their children. From Matt and Gloria Barnes to Adrienne and Chris Bosh, we are really appreciate of how the brand has been embraced. So much more to come!
SW: Where can people buy MADE Kids?
AM: Made Kids is available for purchase on our online store at www.madekids.com. We’re also sold in Traditions in the Beverly Center out in Los Angeles. We are spreading our distribution channels, so look out for us at a boutique in your city real soon.