Written for CLOTH by Tanu Srinivasan
While the universe of children’s clothing is vast and ever expanding, few brands evoke an emotional response like Apolina. Founded in 2016 by Caroline Duckett, Apolina was created as an homage to folk-inspired bohemian styles of the 1960s. The brand is meant to conjure imagery of young girls traipsing through a forest on a misty afternoon and holding court during an afternoon tea party with mythical woodland creatures.
These images are what drew Justine Hoagland, founder and creative director of the internationally renowned Cloth, to Apolina back in 2017. Having built her following by curating looks for young children from emerging, slow fashion brands, Justine is careful to purchase only from companies that embody these ethical values on a cellular level.
Brands that grow too fast too quickly all too often face roadblocks and sacrifice quality for quantity. However, in spite of its popularity amongst the "slow fashion-erati," Apolina has not lost sight of its vision as an ethical producer of beautiful children’s clothing. The brand's inspirations are brought to life by her talented partners in India, whose love for the business is evident in every single piece produced - a true labor of love. Apolina's SS 21 collection, for instance, showcased boho chic looks against the dreamy Hotel Les Cabanettes in Arles, France and served as an aspirational set piece for mothers dreaming of sunny getaways with their impeccably dressed young muses in tow.
The FW 21 collection draws its inspiration from a series of Russian folktales and embodies itself in the collection through paisley/bandana prints, delicate crochet collars, and moody woven fabrics. The palette for this particular collection will evoke memories of an afternoon spent watching Bob Ross paint snowy vistas with strokes of phthalo blues, dark siennas, and titanium whites. The reintroduction of beloved silhouettes such as the Kari and Sissy dresses in colorways such as Sage, Cream, and Mist Blue, has been heralded by original customers as a homecoming, and the rollout of newer silhouettes like the Mia dress and the Tarnie Cape would make even Natasha Rostova's head turn.
As a hat tip to its original customers, Apolina has expanded certain styles into the 9 - 11 age bracket. It is one of the features that has excited Justine most about this particular collection. Her own daughter, Vivienne, has shaped how Justine purchases Cloth’s edit. What would the girl who has grown up with Apolina wear as a preteen? Midis, separates, and layering. On the other hand, Justine has not forgotten that every brand still needs to embrace a new generation of mothers eager to dress their young toddler girls. Her edit will also include flared dresses, pinafores, and jumpsuits - all styles that enable longevity and wear season after season. After all, "buy to wear" and "buy less/wear more" are core tenets of the Apolina ethos.
About The Author:
Tanu is an attorney by day and a full-time mom to her three stars (Bianca, Leo, and Kai) by day and night. Her interest include sustainable fashion, travel, fine dining, and trying to make her husband laugh at her jokes. As a longtime customer and friend, I am so please to share her writings.
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