Clothing equality for all


Clothing equality for all

Will gender neutral clothing labels stop stereotyping?
Do clothes shape young minds?  Can a female toddler wear a blue sleepsuit?  Why not, most people would say.  Colour is not relevant to babies - they wouldn’t care what they wear or vomit over!  So where does the specific colour or style of clothes for a boy or for a girl come from?

I remember my sister buying peach coloured ‘all in ones’ for her twin boys.  A lot of family asked her why she was dressing them like girls.  She just scoffed – the purchase was from a practical point.  It was all the shop had in stock!  She was at the airport, traveling to a colder climate and she needed padded outdoor clothes to keep her babies warm!  Didn’t matter the colour of the clothes to her.  But the reaction from other people was surprising.  (This was 25 years ago and believe me wearing peach when they were 9 months old has not had a negative impact on their identity!)

John Lewis are the first to take the decision to stock gender neutral clothes.   Labels read “Girls & Boys” or “Boys & Girls” on all items, from newborns up to 14 years. It has also launched a unisex line for children, with no more prescriptive pink for girls and blue for boys – just clothes for everyone.

Campaign group Let Clothes Be Clothes asked UK retailers to rethink how they design and market children’s clothing, so they are delighted with John Lewis’ action. A spokeperson from John Lewis said that “not wanting to reinforce stereotypes” as the reason behind the labelling decision.

It is thought children begin recognising gender from the age of 1.  If gender neutral clothing is the start of quashing stereotyping, then MoI fully support John Lewis’ decision.


Image from campaign shot for  Y Kairos  by MoI

Image from campaign shot for Y Kairos by MoI