Holding a magnifying glass over the intensely personal process of clothing design is often as satisfying as wearing the clothing itself. All the layers of a designer’s personality seem to wrap warmly around the work of creating a garment, just as the garment softly embraces the little one who wears it. A connection is made that simply feels good, an understanding that breathes, “Ahhhhhhh …”
Since 1989, Vermont-based Zutano has made this connection, as one of the industry’s leaders in market innovation and customer relations. “We decided that there was a gap in the market for well-made, reasonably priced basics,” co-founder Michael Belenky tells me recently. “We wanted the clothes to be for baby, with simple clean lines that they could wear day-in-day-out, and still have a fashion twist.” The Zutano look quickly evolved into baby’s first expression of style, as co-founder and head designer Uli Belenky’s designs help shape their uniqueness, something they will continue to explore for the rest of their lives.
As we expand our world, our innovative and exuberant approach to design is evident in every category we enter, from clothing and accessories to plush toys, socks, shoes, bedding and home.
Crazy for Color. “I live in a rainbow of my own making. I’m crazy for color,” Uli says. “I look at the global palette and if I like it, I’ll use it for print ideas.” Uli is also known for producing her own fabrics, where color is key. So is her reputation for sourcing only the highest quality interlock cotton fabrics and natural fiber blends.
ZUTANOBLUE Target® Collaboration. For instance, Zutano’s exclusive collection for Target captures Uli’s artistic spirit and bright, whimsical prints in clothing, hosiery and children’s bedding, with traditional craftsmanship of quality and comfort, part of Zutano’s signature style. Available at selected stores and on Target.com since last April, ZUTANOBLUE features limited patterns, body styles and sizing in the layette category. “I hardly think about trends at all. I like to produce clothes for people who are interested in design and fashion rather than trends.” Growing up in Germany and influenced by the Bauhaus design philosophy, Uli thinks of clothes as architecture. “I love the clear clean lines of German design and the casual practical way of American fashion. It is totally the philosophy of my look to mix both these cultures.”
For a company where the very name means “so and so” in Spanish, there’s nothing so-so about the attention paid to the details of running Zutano. Seeking connections that reward, nurturing relationships between people, celebrating individuality and painting the world with color.
That’s how Uli and Michael designed it.
- Children’s Retail Today publishes new posts on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you want to get the word out about your innovative, imaginative and inspiring products for children, contact me today!