The Little Runway Children's Fashion Event

The Little Runway Children’s Fashion Event

Melbourne Fashion Week ended with a bang this year as Australia’s emerging and established kids’ fashion brands took their garments to the catwalk in Kids Fashion Week Limited’s event The Little Runway.

When mum-of-two and entrepreneur Danielle Larche realised children’s fashion events were an untapped niche in Australia  she created ‘The Little Runway’ to celebrate children, fashion and the self-confidence of kids, with all proceeds going to the children’s charity Danielle founded, Project Dovetail.

With labels such as Frankie and Lola, Milk & Soda, Peggy, Oobi, Hanbi (link removed) and Minti, the not-for-profit event worked to shine a spotlight on the passion and talent of local designers.

The event celebrates children, fashion and the self-confidence of kids, with all proceeds going to the children’s charity Danielle founded, Project Dovetail.

The charity supports kids who have become disadvantaged due to their socioeconomic circumstances, illness or abandonment. They also adopt orphanages in poorer countries and provide them with essential items like clothes, schooling and medical facilities.

“The brands involved have the opportunity to donate their samples and end-of-season stock to the program,” says Danielle, “so all children have the same opportunity to own a beautiful brand new piece of clothing that has been lovingly selected just for them.”

The Little Runway Children's Fashion Event

Danielle divides her time between caring for her own children, working at talent agency Ikonic Kids, organising The Little Runway and visiting countries like Thailand to meet the kids involved with her charity. “My husband and two children are just as involved as I am,” says Danielle. “They have all come with me to the orphanages overseas, and help with the programs we run in Australia. I hope my kids see the value in giving back to others, and that it continues to feed in to their adult lives.”

Danielle wanted to do something that made an actual difference to the lives of children, but wasn’t in a financial position to give large sums of money to existing organisations – many of which take a percentage of the proceeds due to large admin costs.

As a result, Project Dovetail is run solely by volunteers, with Danielle using the money to create activities and purchase items that go directly to the kids, ensuring they receive 100 per cent of the donations.

The Little Runway Children's Fashion Event

Katrina O’Brien, founder of kids fashion label Frankie and Lola, says the Project Dovetail was a big factor in deciding whether to work with The Little Runway. “The work Danielle does for Project Dovetail is amazing, she has pulled so much together for this show and to think she fits it in with a trip to see the children and care for them is incredible.”

As a mum herself, Katrina says it’s wonderful to know she’s contributing to a cause that helps children feel nurtured and cared for, and says her children are a great source of inspiration for her brand.

“My kids have shown me that anything goes. Kids fashion needs to be adaptable and comfortable, with a bit of edge and cheek – like their personalities.”

Like Danielle, Katrina is only too aware of the difficulties that coincide with working full time and raising kids, and found a career in kids’ fashion while pregnant with her third child. “I’ve always juggled family life and work, and I could see my growing interior design business wasn’t going to be an option for much longer due to client meetings, site visits and long hours of work after the kids had gone to sleep. I dreamed up Frankie and Lola and arranged the first delivery from my hospital bed.”

What began three years ago with three sets of gumboots has grown to include kids jackets, raincoats, jeans, shoes and women’s accessories, as well as a new range of children’s swimwear. “Having a dream and seeing it come to life was a big achievement for me, and seeing a stranger cruise on by with my gear on is always very rewarding,” says Katrina. Coincidently, one of Katrina’s seasonal raincoats is called The Dovetail Raincoat, which she says she’ll be donating to the foundation for Danielle to take overseas.

“The brands are really supportive of the event and love the fact that all ticket sales go directly to Project Dovetail,” says Danielle. “Some have asked for more involvement in helping the children directly, which is great.”

This event ran from 8 to 15 September, 2014 and was such a success Danielle plans to make it an annual event, continuing to donate all proceeds to Project Dovetail.

Words by Charlotte Karp

Guest Contributor