Why we should buy gender-neutral kids clothing + 6 of the best unisex kidswear brands
Have you ever thought about the impact clothing choices have on your little ones?
Or noticed that clothes aimed at boys tend to have words like strong or hero printed on them, whilst those marketed to girls feature phrases like sweet or perfect?
As someone passionate about equality I want to raise a son who understands that whilst there are differences between boys and girls, we are all equal and free to express ourselves however we choose. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy if he picks a blue T’shirt with ‘Tough’ printed on it, but he should feel comfortable choosing any colour or character. My niece loves princesses but should feel equally at home in a Spiderman hoodie.
Consumer group Let Clothes Be Clothes think retailers are causing a gender divide by differentiating boys and girls in this way. And that it can have a negative impact on self-esteem, education, behaviour and career aspirations.
Over the last few years some retailers have attempted to offer alternatives: mainly by adding a ‘unisex’ search option or a pop-up range on their website. However, in-store there’s still a defined area for girls and boys…. Come on retailers! Things have moved on!
A friend of mine asked a high street store why their boys T’shirts had ‘power’ words like awesome and brave on the front. Whilst the equivalent girls' styles had cute or fairy princess. The brand said that their clothes are designed in response to consumer demand – meaning that whilst parents continue to buy pink with cute slogans for girls that’s what the store will stock. It makes business sense, right?
But doesn’t it also mean that we are stuck in an unvirtuous circle? Until brands offer more choice, parents and their children are only able to buy what’s on offer and the subliminal message that comes with it.
Thankfully more and more independent designers are shunning tradition and building truly gender-neutral brands. Here are a few of our faves:
Tobias and the Bear - Lovely neutral childrenswear made from organic fabrics. I love their just call me fox range.
We Love Shapes - Fun, edgy, chic – bold shapes and textures offer something different from your average kidswear brands.
Turtle Dove - Lots of organic monochrome styles. Search by style rather than gender.
Tootsa - Fun, bright, hardwearing, and unisex. Plus some cute plush toys.
Small Stories - Hand painted designs. My fave is their I am an Artist sweatshirt, which I am hoping might appear in their adult collection sometime….
Three Little Peas - All hand-made to order just for you.
Most pieces made at The Story Tailor studio are custom made from your own fabrics – usually outgrown baby clothes. It gives you the opportunity to choose the colours, motifs, and words featured in the finished item. Plus all of our artwork is designed to be suitable for boys and girls. You can create something that truly suits your child’s taste and sends the best positive message.
What are your favourite neutral brands? Is buying unisex important to you? Let us know in the comments section.
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