“I can still remember when I was a kid myself, and what I felt when I looked at illustrations of animals in atlases. It was a priceless experience! I wanted the patterns on the clothes not only to have a decorative function, but also to cause a reaction.” Karolina Kijak
H&M’s Spring Collection for kids features a wild and fantastic adventure into the natural world, a collaboration with Polish Nature Illustrator, Karolina Kijak-Dzikonska. Known for her exquisite watercolour paintings, Karolina’s first love is birds, in all their bright-feathered glory. When H&M approached her to create illustrations for their young fashion range, she had to learn new techniques for capturing fur, fins, and foliage in this notoriously difficult medium.
Painting in water colours needs detailed planning – a light pencil sketch to capture the essence of the illustration, and then the decision about which parts need to remain unpainted white paper, for example. Karolina presented H&M with a set of realistic watercolour depictions which include baby animals – cheetahs, giraffes, elephants, and zebras; bright tropical foliage as a backdrop for flamboyant flamingos; beautiful underwater creatures; and a collection of not-so-scary sharks. Her aim was to portray the natural world as realistically as possible, rather than overly cute stylised animals we usually see on children’s wear. H&M were delighted, of course. Karolina’s illustrations have made their way onto kid-friendly soft fabrics in a fun collection of playwear and accessories which include sunglasses, handbags and headbands.
Key pieces in the collection are easy-to-wear dresses, jump-suits, hoodies, jackets, and t-shirts, complemented by sandals, caps and sneakers. Colours bounce from jungle-brights to bushveld pastels and underwater ombres, highlighted with gold trim and glittery sequins in just the right places.
“My dream is to observe as many species of birds and animals in their natural environment as possible, to be able to show people how valuable and beautiful they are, and how much they need our protection.” Karolina Kijak
Karolina hopes this collection will inspire children to be inquisitive about animals in the wild and in the ocean, to discover a sense of awe for the natural world, and to become excited about the world they live in. Sofia Lofstedt, Head of Kidswear Design at H&M believes the collection will help children discover adventure wherever they are. This bright and happy collection unites the worlds of land and sea in a playful way, just in time for the Spring Season.
The Karolina Kijak x H&M collection is available in selected stores worldwide, as well as at hm.com.