Kids’ clothing doesn’t often make the headlines, but it has recently with John Lewis’s announcement that it will no longer label its children’s clothes as being for boys or girls but gender neutral.
Perhaps the most amazing aspect of this isn’t that they’re doing it at all, but they’re the first high street retailer to do so – it’s been a long time coming! Despite what Piers Morgan may have to say on the subject.
However, there are other companies offering gender neutral kids’ clothes, ourselves included. So, while we think the John Lewis initiative is something to celebrate, we wouldn’t want it to overshadow the efforts of other designers and retailers – and the people who’ve been dedicated to campaigning for this.
So, here’s our piece on the best gender neutral clothing for kids that’s out there, and who’s fighting its corner.
Labels and What They Mean
With John Lewis, the important thing isn’t simply the clothes themselves but how they have decided to label them – or not, as they’ve ditched any distinction between clothes for boys or girls.
When you see a top with a floral design on it, say, then it won’t be specifically aimed at one gender or another.
John Lewis are reinforcing the move with some new gender-neutral designs for kids, so it’s a two-pronged initiative.
It’s not just how the clothes look, but how they’re marketed, which is why removing the labels for girls or boys is a big step forward on the high street.
Because, on the one hand, parents have plenty of choice when out shopping for their kids, but on the other, some of these choices are driven in certain, gender-specific directions.
The campaign group Let Clothes Be Clothes focuses on asking retailers to rethink how they design and market kids’ clothes.
Formed by concerned parents, Let Clothes Be Clothes stresses how retailers use gender as a form of market segmentation to drive up profits, when in fact up until puberty girls and boys are very much the same size and shape.
In other words, the different, gender-specific clothing on offer is a marketing construct which can shape how kids see themselves, pigeonholing them at an early age and fixing them in roles according to whether they’re boys or girls.
The Let Clothes Be Clothes includes a list of approved retailers, who are winners of their Approved Award.
Award winners include Back to Beyond, No Pink Please, Beb and Ooo and Gecko Clothing. Between these, you’ve got a great selection of clothing styles, from colourful, inspiring designs in organic cotton, to accessories such as buggy blankets, hats and scarves.
No Pink Please even has a vintage section, proving the point that cool, gender-neutral clothes aren’t just a recent development, it’s just a case of knowing where to find them.
The choices are growing, which is great news, because we know that while we have competition, we’re also helping to establish a whole new culture in gender neutral kids’ clothing.
So, the more choice, the better for parents across the UK.
While we all work hard to get our message across, and we have our own unique designs, the John Lewis announcement is a good thing, because it helps drive the issue overground.
We don’t want people to have to settle for something they’re not happy with, nor to have to compromise their children’s futures by constraining them in blue or pink, or in clothes that state who they must become before they can make their own choices.
Reinforcing this message, Clothes Without Limits is an American consortium of 13 independent childrenswear companies, dedicated to challenging gender stereotypes in children’ clothing.
This shows the message has traction, and that worldwide, enlightened companies are taking up the baton and running with the concept.
Other children’s clothing brands out there concentrate on specific types of kids’ clothes, such as Fred & Noah with its dazzling range of children’s leggings, tops and shoes.
These are unique prints and patterns with a distinctive style of their own. And everything’s made in the UK.
Zakti, on the other hand, focuses on activewear and sportswear for kids – so when they’re outside they’re still in clothes that won’t box them in according to their gender.
There’s a huge range of items, from padded gilets to down jackets and sweatshirts. While the site has the option to tick gender, more crucially, you can use a unisex shopping filter. The choice, therefore, is yours, not theirs, about what items you choose for your child.
How We Fit In
Clothes that won’t constrain kids according to their gender have always been our concern here at Kidult and Co. Anything that spreads the message more widely is good news as far as we’re concerned.
What we’ve done is carved out our own niche, so you’ll find our minimal kids’ clothing immediately recognisable.
Designing mainly in monochrome, we specialise in statement t-shirts and bold black-and-white designs that are all about reflecting kids’ personalities, regardless of gender.
Both our Signature and Playtime collections strike a cheeky tone, because they’re to do with kids being free to be themselves, and cheekiness is a big part of this. Gender neutrality is a vital, serious issue, but our kids’ clothes aren’t weighed down by it.
We’re also confident that parents are going to love these designs so much that they’ll be looking at them enviously. We don’t want anyone grownup to have to go through the pain of trying to squeeze into one of our children’s sizes, so we also offer most of our t-shirt designs in adult sizes too.
Everyone can spread the word with a Kidult and Co t-shirt slogan in bold, minimalist monochrome.
Doing business from the grassroots up is also a big part of our concern – we’re very much locally grounded. All our clothes are manufactured in the UK, and we rely on our excellent local suppliers and manufacturers here in the North West.
Get In Touch
We’re on a mission to help you give your kids the freedom they deserve by keeping their clothes gender neutral, while making them fantastic to wear. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out the contact form on our website. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.