Remember when Benetton were controversial for their campaigns, because they demonstrated how differences didn’t matter? Their ads were bold, they didn’t always work, but they made you think. Now they’ve courted a different kind of controversy, and, sadly, it feels like they’re travelling in the wrong direction on this one.
Now that might seem like not much more than a lazy bit of writing, but nowadays, we think kids’ clothes shouldn’t be excluding anyone. Some of us grew up at a time where, as a child, if you wanted to escape from the rules laid down by the choices offered to you, there wasn’t a lot of opportunity.
Surely, we’re beyond the whole slugs and snails, sugar and spice thing by now? We don’t want to be telling people they’re not welcome because they’re the wrong sex. At Kidult and Co, our message is: No One Is Not Allowed. We’re about unisex kids’ clothing. And these are the reasons why.
The Gender Thing
The boys in blue, girls in pink thing for babies is generally regarded as innocent, if a little obvious and old-fashioned. But it can be the beginning of something less easy to dismiss.
Whereas the colour identification of newborn babies’ clothes might be useful in identifying the sex of the wearer to observers, if this kind of identification continues as kids grow up, using clothes as a kind of gender uniform, it’s potentially harmful.
There’s the whole Barbie issue, for one. And while Barbie is a toy, her whole thing is centred around her appearance, her gender, and the desirability of pink.
Clothes for kids can be more than just about colour, because they can suggest a difference in interests, between boys and girls. You can easily influence children, so if their clothing suggests something, such as planets for boys but flowers for girls, then it can have an underlying message.
Before anyone says it, this is not about political correctness. Obviously, parents are free to dress their kids how they want, but shouldn’t the kids have as much freedom as possible, at an early age, to develop their own interests? We think so.
The Children’s Section
Kids have personalities and we think the clothes they wear should enhance this. Constraining the exciting, unpredictable way kids develop by putting them in one pigeonhole or another is, frankly, daft.
It’s like saying they must conform to a narrow set of rules to fit in with ideas of what they can and can’t do – before they’ve had the opportunity to even think about these things themselves. Young kids aren’t different in body shape whether they’re girls or boys, so dressing them in clothes that stress the difference in gender is like leaping ahead when we don’t need to.
You see shops with designated boys’ and girls’ sections, and the marked difference in clothing designs that go with them. It would make more sense for there always to be just a single kids’ section, where you shop by size, not gender.
If, for example, you assign a colour to a gender, you’re sending out a message about what a child should be expected to look like, and, by extension behave. You might be determining in advance what their interests should be, from the toys they play with to the books they read. Equality is about treating people the same, and giving them the same kinds of opportunities, regardless of who they are – or their age, race, or sex.
That’s why we think, when it comes to clothes, everyone’s allowed.
Permission to be Cool
It can be so much cooler to swim against the current, to set out your stall as an independent; this simply means following a different path and not getting hung up with the issue of who should be wearing what. You shouldn’t need permission to be cool, whether you’re a girl or a boy. That’s why we’re so focused on unisex kids’ clothing designs, and on a modern, comfortable and striking range of monochrome kids’ clothes.
We think that the best answers are simple, and bold. There’s no need to fixate on the appropriateness of one colour or another for your child; in truth, they could be out enjoying themselves in one of our striking, minimal kids’ clothing designs, with a bold slogan or message to match.
There’s a restless energy kids have that you really can’t contain by imprisoning them in gender-specific clothes with received ideas of what the “right” thing to do is.
And remember; we’re not granting them – or you – the permission to be cool, because you already have it. It comes with you when you’re born, completely free of charge!
The most powerful message shouldn’t even seem like a message, because it makes perfect sense to all the people who get it. But our message, should you not yet be clear, is that clothes should spell freedom, so when your child’s t-shirt says “You can’t catch me! or “Born to stand out” it’s about more than what’s said, even when the garment itself is so simple. Because we want to help celebrate the individuality of each child, and help you to celebrate the uniqueness of your own, very special kids.
Benetton themselves got the message, because after the backlash came their apology on their Instagram account, but they needn’t have been in that position in the first place. They were trying to be playful, they said, but they hit the wrong note.
The truth is, you can be bold by including people, by welcoming them in rather than keeping them out. And that’s us, that’s Kidult and Co. You are all most welcome. Join our Cool kids club today, use “COOLKIDSCLUB” at checkout to get 10% off Everything.
Get In Touch
If you’re tired of the same old when it comes to your kids’ clothes and what’s on offer, then get in touch to find out more about our range of monochrome kids’ clothing. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form on our website and send it off. We’ll get back to you just as soon as possible.