Amaia Kids, the Spanish brand that Kate Middleton falls in love with and leads the boom in children’s fashion ‘Made in Spain’ | Style

During Queen Elizabeth II’s recent Platinum Jubilee celebrations, some of her great-grandchildren were featured in many videos and memes that went around the world, but Amaia Arrieta (49 years old) saw it from a more personal perspective. Both Princess Carlota and Prince Luis, two of the three children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, wore garments from Amaia Kids, a brand created by Arrieta, a resident of London from San Sebastian. And although the firm noticed a significant spike in interest after the Jubilee, this is something the Gipuzkoan designer has been used to for a long time.

It all started in 2013, when someone from the British royal family visited the Amaia Kids store in London, in the Chelsea neighborhood, to buy a gift for the newborn Prince George, thinking that the clothes suited Kate Middleton’s taste. . A few weeks later, the Duchess of Cambridge herself appeared at the store with her mother, Carole de Ella. She “she told us that she had just had a baby and asked us to help her choose things. It seemed very fresh to me, ”recalls EL PAÍS Arrieta. But that did not remain in a single and punctual meeting. “They buy collections, but we also make them to measure,” explains the businesswoman. “They have to take into account a lot of different factors and there are times when it’s easier to make their clothes,” she adds. Later, yes, the brand markets versions of these garments, which takes away the exclusivity of the princes’ way of dressing. “They are a couple who, as far as possible, try to give their children a normal life and spend time with them. They are doing very well and have their feet on the ground”, concludes the designer.

Amaia Kids was born in the British capital 18 years ago, when Arrieta, who was in finance at the time, was expecting her first child. She “she worked in investment banking, and spent many hours on it. She stopped working in the City, but she needed to do something. During those first months I bought all the baby things in San Sebastián, and when I returned to London my friends from other countries told me that they liked everything a lot. One of them suggested that I make a sale at home, and I replied that I was not crazy about making a sale tupperware”, he remembers laughing today.

Finally, she ended up listening to her friends, and visiting children’s fashion fairs in Valencia, identifying Spanish brands to sell in the United Kingdom. She later launched into designing her own collections. “I started because I couldn’t find what I was looking for. In London she had very expensive things or the other extreme. Our brand offers quality but at reasonable prices. Burberry or Bonpoint are 50% more expensive”.

Amaia Kids is the pioneer firm of boom of Spanish fashion for children around the world. Together with other London firms of Spanish origin and classic style such as La Coqueta or Pepa & Co, they confirm that the Made in Spain children’s fashion is an international benchmark. Its collections are designed in London, but the garments are manufactured entirely in Spain, in workshops in Bilbao, Madrid and Andalusia. The central idea is to adapt the Spanish style to the tastes of other countries, lengthening the bottoms or using different colors. “It is a very traditional process. They are small workshops for women with a lot of experience. I see them as a treasure to be perpetuated, part of our heritage to be protected. We underestimate ourselves, and there is no need to go anywhere else.” The six employees of your company, as well as collaborators freelancing, They are women and mothers. “We are very flexible. It is important because there is a lot of untapped female talent,” says Arrieta.

Among his clients are also Sienna Miller, Adele, Liv Tyler, Kate Hudson, Naomi Campbell, Victoria Beckham or Meghan Markle. In the photo with which the Duke and Duchess of Sussex celebrated the first year of her young daughter, Lilibet, the girl wears an Amaia Kids suit.

Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, daughter of Meghan Markle and Henry of England, in the photograph released by her parents to celebrate her first birthday last June.
Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, daughter of Meghan Markle and Henry of England, in the photograph released by her parents to celebrate her first birthday last June.Misan Harriman (REUTERS)

Despite the success, the company has gone through some rough patches. Arrieta confesses that the impact of Brexit was so great that he then considered throwing in the towel: “It has been very hard. We import and export a lot and the rules were not clear at all. It felt like the year 2000 at the turn of the millennium, but then in the end nothing happened and this time it did. Transport companies charged the maximum rates and tariffs. We had to pay it and then claim. Our knitwear collection arrived months late, already for the sales. I have fought, I have claimed and all, little by little, we have been learning. This summer season is the first in which we are calmer. Now the fees for European customers are paid by us. Our margins went down, but it makes up for us,” he explains.

Lately, though, it’s all good news for her. On July 12, Buckingham Palace awarded him an award in the category of International Trade for UK companies (Queen’s Awards for Enterprise); In her case, the award —given to her by Charles of England— was for the increase in her sales outside the country in the last three years. The brands awarded by Isabel II can use this seal real on its products and labels for five years. “He has been a source of joy and pride, he has given us a lot of prestige,” she says. To decide what to wear for the occasion, Arrieta asked protocol experts from around the British royal family. “I decided to wear a yellow dress, and when I arrived 85% of the guests were men in dark suits. I thought who had sent me to wear that color, although in the end I received many compliments, ”she comments.

The brand has a store in Japan, another in London, and has just opened a second in China. In September they will start selling in Spain through El Corte Inglés. “We have worked very hard and we have been constant in our style and the margins that we get,” explains the San Sebastian about the factors of her success. “As my grandmother says, whoever has a store should serve it, and if not, sell it.”

Amaia Arrieta, designer of the children's fashion brand Amaia Kids, when she went to Buckingham Palace to receive recognition.
Amaia Arrieta, designer of the children’s fashion brand Amaia Kids, when she went to Buckingham Palace to receive recognition.loaned photo

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