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Colors for the kids

By Howard Jarvis. 18.12.2010

Zaza clothes for kidz

Save to foursquare Raina 21-10a, Riga Mobile: 2654 0747
Phone: 6721 4610
Working hours: Mon-Fri 11 - 19, Sat 11 - 16,

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Buying stuff for kids can be tricky – especially for girls who already have 18 Barbie dolls, a library of books and noisy computer games you can no longer name. And boys who already own all the football jerseys of their favorite players.

But if you’re lucky enough to be in Latvia before their birthday, it may be worth popping into Zaza, a cool and jazzy store a few minutes’ walk from Old Riga that specializes in kids’ clothing with an almost psychedelic array of colors, whorls, zigzags and stripes. This is dazzling getup that the little ones will beg to wear on all occasions.
Latvian designer Tereze Gruntmane, who currently lives over in Dallas, has an eye for trends in the fashion world and what looks very cool for kids. Zaza Couture is in fact a Dallas-based company that specializes in cool contemporary apparel for girls and boys who are toddler-size through to size 12.
A newly designed collection arrives every season. This autumn and winter collection was inspired by popular and well-loved songs like "Michelle" by The Beatles, Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" and "Evita" from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. The colors are as vibrant and vivid as the tunes.
Zaza makes a point of taking a stand against the widespread grays and browns that have been popular for years in European children's lines. Zaza, by contrast, keeps the colors on its clothing, hats, shawls and bags unashamedly alive, and kids love them.
Tereze believes that childhood must be filled with as much color as possible so that life can be dreamy, playful and optimistic. It’s vital to keep being colorful, she says, as this is one reason why people recognize Zaza.
But her biggest inspiration is fabric. Every season, traveling to a major fabric exhibition in Paris, she can‘t picture what the next season's collections will be like. The key is texture, plus the fact that the fabrics have to be soft, lovely and look well worn at the same time.
When creating the collections, Tereze's mind is on the wearer. Conveniently, when she started Zaza Couture in 2002, her daughter Luiza-Bella was two years old. At first, many of the outfits had frills and bows. As Louise grew up, likewise the collection gained a little more maturity and artfulness.
It was by lucky coincidence that in 2002 Tereze met the right people at the right time, namely David and Arlene Cooper who own a showroom at the Dallas World Trade Center. They loved her first designs and their “European feel”, details and colors, and said “we can sell them”. They have been selling Zaza ever since.
In the meantime, Tereze has added more sales reps in the US and Europe. There are six in the US and others in the UK, Ireland and Norway. The stores that buy Zaza are typically small children’s boutiques that carry several lines. Many online boutiques also sell the brand. Tereze is proud of the fact that “Made in Latvia” is sewn in every garment.

Tereze Gruntmane
Owner, Zaza Couture

What initially gave you the idea to launch the company?
I studied fashion and art and have worked with women’s fashions before, but I have always loved children’s fashions. I adore Oilily and many French lines. The creative teams of those lines have the most amazing imaginations. When I was 30, so many things just happened in one place and time and Zaza was born. I am so happy I can do what I love.
What do you look for when choosing fabrics?
Fabrics have to stand out right away. The color is very important, then come the touch and feel. Even if I like a fabric because of the colors, it still has to feel right. It can’t itch, it mustn’t be rough; it just needs to be nice and soft. We know many kids who are extremely picky about the “itchiness’” of the fabric.

What happens next – you create the clothes from your designs?
I do all designing of the line. Sometimes our creative team in Latvia adds a few touches here and there. I make all the first samples myself, which I love doing. I like sitting by the sewing machine and creating things. If a ruffle is too wide, or a flower too big, you can change it right away.
Once the first set of samples is made, it gets multiplied so that all the sales reps get the sample sets and the selling can begin. For each season I get about two months for samples. I make a couple of collections at the same time, so if I get tired of one I can come back to other. While designing, I usually listen to the radio – news, interviews with writers, movie-makers, etc. That’s my background, not music.

Where do the colorful names of Zaza’s products come from?
Every season we come up with names, which is pretty challenging because we have to think of at least 14 names that start with different letters of the alphabet. That’s because of our invoicing system, how we create style codes. We’ve had winter resorts, cities, US states, birds, operas, girls’ names, tree names… Next season we’re thinking of precious stones. Maybe one day we’ll run out of ideas.

Do many foreigners as well as Latvians drop by the store?
We have an amazing following all over the world from people who buy in Riga. If a Finnish couple visits our store one day and buys something for their granddaughter, we know that later their friends and neighbors will visit Riga and drop by the store. It’s an absolutely great souvenir to take home, because it is truly made in Latvia. And it’s not something you’d just hang on the wall, it’s usable.

ecXunzQw 14.06.2013 17:47

Hollywood tape!I love your outfit today! The pteatrn on the sweater is so pretty, the skirt is great, the blues look pretty
with the skirt and I love the boots and socks with the skirt.


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