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Designer Childrenswear Makes Prestigious Drapers Shortlist

A RAPIDLY-GROWING luxury childrenswear retailer has success in its sights after being nominated for two awards in the ‘Oscars of the independent fashion industry.’

Designer Childrenswear, a family-owned retailer of high-end children’s clothing and accessories, has been shortlisted for two accolades in the prestigious Drapers Independents Awards.

The glittering awards ceremony will take place on September 11th at The Brewery, London and will see the company compete for the titles of ‘Kidswear Independent of the Year’ and ‘Best Visual Merchandising and Store Design.’

The company was successful in last year’s ceremony, taking home the revered ‘Multichannel Independent Of The Year’ award, and the team are hoping for a similar result come September.

Speaking about the awards, e-commerce manager Dionne Evans, said: “We were absolutely ecstatic when we found out we’d been nominated for the Drapers Independent Awards for a second year in a row.

“To have been nominated for not just one, but two awards, is a huge achievement for everyone associated with the company and we’re looking forward to what should be a fantastic evening.”

Designer Childrenswear – founded 35 years ago by enterprising husband and wife duo Brenda and Kevin Coade – has grown rapidly in recent years.

Employing 40 members of staff, the company is now the third largest independent retailer of childrenswear in the UK and is expecting to continue growing over the next 12 months following the unveiling of a new, £500,000 store in Sunderland city centre and a new digital hub at Sunderland Software Centre.

Dionne added: “The opening of our new store on Derwent Street was a real milestone achievement for us as a company, so to be nominated for the ‘Best Visual Merchandising and Store Design’ award is a really proud moment for the business.

“Our staff work tirelessly to ensure our displays are as attractive and fresh as possible, so it’s amazing for them to receive such high praise for all of their hard-work. Since opening last September, we’ve put on a beautiful Christmas window, a dedicated display for fashion month, a Kenzo window and a beautiful Easter window, all of which have proved a huge hit with our customers and passers by.”

And it’s not just the new store which has driven this continued growth. The online side of the business has also grown rapidly over the last two years, with exports now accounting for 40% of the company’s overall sales.

This has led to the company opening a dedicated digital hub at Sunderland Software Centre, allowing the team to manage all of its creative, digital marketing and ecommerce activity in a dedicated space and providing them with the space it needs to continue with its rapid expansion.

“We’ve grown year-on-year since we launched our first ecommerce website back in 2005 however the last two years in particular have seen us really take off and scale new heights,” Dionne said.

“We now sell our products to customers in all corners of the globe and, following the opening of our dedicated digital hub earlier this year, are expecting to see this side of the business go from strength-to-strength.

“Being nominated for Kidswear Independent of the Year is testament to this and shows just how far the company has grown over the last 30 years. We can’t wait to see what the future brings.”

The continued expansion of Designer Childrenswear and the opening of its digital hub has been supported by Sunderland City Council’s business investment team, after they identified the company as a high-growth business with the potential to significantly enhance the city’s burgeoning tech industry.

Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, said: “Designer Childrenswear is a fantastic success story for Sunderland, not only for the city’s retail sector but also its thriving tech industry.

“To have been nominated for such prestigious awards is a real achievement and we’re delighted to have been able to support them on their journey. I think I speak for the entire city when I wish them the best of luck for September.”

To find out more about Sunderland as a place for software, visit, call 0191 561 1194, or email Or follow @MakeitSund on Twitter for updates from the city.

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