MMM: Meet the designers behind Debenhams’ coolest new kids collection

Designer Markus Lupfer is having something of a collaborative moment.

Whistles are home to a Lupfer-designed range of knits, with hats that say ‘Brrr’ and scarves that say ‘wrap me up.’

Plus, his Black Label leather pieces for ASOS are still doing brilliantly well.

Lupfer for Whistles, in store now

But now German-born Lupfer has added another collaboration to his repertoire – childrenswear.

Along with former Byker Grove star, now FROW favourite and TV Presenter Donna Air, Markus has created Donna & Markus for Debenhams.

Donna & Markus
Donna Air launches her new girlswear collaboration with celebrity designer Markus Lupfer for Debenhams at Sketch, London.

It launched this week – and it is pretty fabulous.

Donna & Markus designs for Debenhams
Prices begin at £12 for tees, £18 for sweats, £22 for knits.
Sizes start from age 4 to age 14.

Donna – who met Lupfer four years ago through friends, was already a huge fan of his jumpers and says:

“I was buying all of Markus’ jumpers for the many children in my life and I was like: ‘This is insane, we have to do it for children and we have to do it at a great price for mums.'”

Donna & Markus by Markus Lupfer for Debenhams
Donna & Markus by Markus Lupfer for Debenhams
Donna & Markus by Markus Lupfer for Debenhams

I absolutely love it.

Girlswear can veer dangerously towards the ‘way-too-old, way-too-soon’ tarty side of the style spectrum.

But this collection stays youthful, but with a really cool sensibility.

Plus, it is a lot cheaper than his mainline designs.

Wonder if I could squeeze into an aged-14 ‘Boom’ knit?

Read on for MMM’s chat with the pair.

I think this is Totes Amaze. Knit by Markus Lupfer, £295, Harvey Nichols


The collection has a very strong Markus Lupfer aesthetic. Was that important to you?

D: I knew the quirky and fun designs that Markus is renowned for would be an instant hit with children, so we definitely wanted to incorporate those into our collection.

M: I’ve really loved adding a more quirky and playful edge to these designs – we’ve got sequinned animals, ‘cool’ and ‘boom’ speech bubbles and all sorts.

What was the starting point to the collection?

D: we’ve been friends for a while and like many women I adore Markus’s mainline collection – it just seemed obvious to go down the childrenswear route as the brand is so linked to fun and playfulness.

M: It was really important to me that the pieces would be accessible to mums, so Debenhams was the natural fit in terms of being able to make clothes that were great quality and at a price that won’t break the bank.

Donna, you have a young daughter. How much did she influence the range in terms of design and also from your experiences of buying her clothes?

D: Freya loves the collection and I obviously had her in mind when Markus and I were discussing initial ideas. Kids want clothes that are fun, easy to wear and comfortable – our range ticks all these boxes with the added bonus of being affordable for mums too!

What’s next for Donna & Markus? Do you want to do more?

M: It’s still early days but we definitely have lots more plans up our sleeves for the Donna & Markus brand. We’ve only just started!

What are your favourite pieces from the collection?

M: I love the penguin jumper with stripy sleeves!

D: My favourite piece changes daily but at the moment I am loving the blue ‘cool’ jumper.

Is there a celebrity child you’d love to see in the range?

D: This range is for all children – nothing would excite me more than seeing a child in the park wearing one of our pieces!



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