These Gender-Neutral Children’s Clothing Lines Are Shifting The Game

estidos bebe niña

Clothes is usually created, promoted, and shopped for in very gender-binary terms, with separate collections, sizing, and store sections for men and women. But that is slowly shifting: In the past 12 months, major retailers like Zara, Rigans and Selfridges have introduced unisex ranges, with varying levels of success. While progressive and forward-thinking, these collections generally have a disconnect among intent and execution. However, there are some noteworthy, sincerely gender-neutral apparel alternatives for a definite market demographic: children.

The Rigans vestidos bebe niña are a good example of sincerely gender-neutral clothing in the spanish market.

A couple of labels prove that children should just be (and dress like) kids, free from any gender-confining messaging. “Until around age 11 boys and girls have the same body type and clothing needs,” Karina Lundell, head designer of gender-neutral Swedish clothing brand Polarn O. Pyret, told Refinery29. “Kids need comfy clothes with good fit and function that they can play in.” (Granted, it’s a lot easier to design with a “one style for all” means for kids’ body shapes and proportions than adults’ physiques.)

The exact same heteronormative pink-or-blue tropes dominate clothing along with toy offerings for children, but it hasn’t always been this way. Until around World War I, pastels were standard for children’s clothing in the U.S., but today’s gender-hue correlations weren’t in place, per the Smithsonian. At the start, pink was actually viewed as a more masculine color, and blue was considered softer and even more good for girls – conventions that didn’t switch until the 40s, when gendered kids’ clothing really became a thing. The impact go above merely dressing a tot in pink or blue: “Children might extend this angle from toys and clothes into future roles, occupations, and characteristics,” Megan Fulcher, associate professor of psychology at Washington and Lee University, told The New York Times.

Gender-neutral children’s clothing brands have actually been around for decades, and they have been particularly well known in Scandinavia also in the U.K. (Polarn O. Pyret launched in the ’70s.) Lately, major retailers inside U.S. are increasing in popularity. Target, for example, axed gender-specific labels for its toy and children’s clothing departments a year ago, which was praised as a step in the right direction. Next you have the small-scale brands doing it differently. The labels ahead aren’t using “unisex” as a marketing ploy. They talk the talk, and walk the walk: Taking gender stereotypes from children’s clothing is ingrained in their mission statements and integral to their businesses.

Click through for four gender-neutral kids’ brands changing the game.

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