If there’s one thing we do exceptionally well here at Kidult and Co (apart from make wonderful monochrome clothing, of course!) it’s hold on to our brand values and ethics, and one of those is core values is fighting those pesky gender stereotypes.
When the three of us set up Kidult and Co just about 18 months ago, we did it with a purpose; we wanted to make children’s clothing that broke the mould. We wanted to take a stand against the tide of pink for girls and blue for boys and stand up for the British fashion industry whilst we did it. And despite several challenges and changes we’ve faced along to the way to building this brand up, we’ve stuck to those core principles like Fuzzy Felts stick to that weird green board.
And we won’t be changing any time soon.
Pink Stinks, Blue’s Boring
When we were growing up – without getting all evangelical about it – we were tomboys; we played outside, we climbed trees, we rolled around in barrels (we’re from the countryside, don’t judge us!) basically, we played. Yes, we were girls, but that didn’t matter. We wore our jeans or our red corduroys (every child, at some point in their lives, has had a pair of red corduroys; don’t pretend you haven’t!) we wore our wellies or our boots and we played out in practically the same clothes as the boys were wearing.
There was no such thing as ‘girls can only wear pink or purple and boys can only wear blue or green’. When you went clothes shopping – yes, there were sections – but you didn’t see the pink aisle for girls and the blue aisle for boys like you see these days in every supermarket you enter. Advertising wasn’t gendered to the same extent it is now, shoes weren’t, clothes weren’t, toys weren’t. Obviously, there were different choices, but girls could wear red and boys could wear purple and everyone was fine about it.
And we’re not talking about way back in the good old days either, this was only 10 – 15 years ago. The extent to which our society has become gender stereotyped over the last two decades is – quite frankly – scary. It’s as if all our mothers and grandmothers fought all those battles for equality for nothing, when all society wants us to do now is dress our sons in blue dinosaur t-shirts and our daughters in pink frilly princess dresses.
And the sad thing is that, even if you’re a parent who doesn’t buy into the whole gender stereotype trend, once those little ones get old enough to soak up the messages they’re fed through the media or start going to school, then your parental influence over what they wear is curbed and you end up being a slave to peer pressure.
A Drive To Be Different
But that’s why Kidult and Co wanted to do something to try to stem this rising tide of pink girls and blue boys, by doing away with colour altogether. Thanks to our monochrome colour scheme, which we use on all our handmade clothing, we’ve created a fresh and fashionable clothing range that is completely unisex. Whether it’s a black slogan on a white tee or a white slogan hand printed onto a black one, girls and boys both young and old can wear our clothing without caring who it was designed for or who it’s aimed at.
It’s aimed at you, no matter what your gender, age, sexual identity or any other category is, which society wants to box you into.
OK, we understand that we’re not going to change the world single handedly – we know that little girls will still want to wear that same pink princess party dress as their best friend and we know we’re not going to wipe out pester power overnight – but it’s a start and we figure that, if we take that first step in the right direction and others start to come along on the journey with us, eventually we might just be able to start a big enough wave to affect some real change, both here in the UK and then around the world.
It may sound cheesy, but you only need a tiny pebble to create waves in even the biggest pond.
A Movement For Change
The best thing about what Kidult and Co are trying to do though is the fact that we’re not alone. There is clearly an appetite for change in this country and there are a couple of organisations who have already taken up the challenge and are fighting the good fight alongside us.
One such organisation is the wonderful Pink Stinks, which is a movement against the “pinkification” of girls. According to their website;
“Pinkstinks is a campaign that targets the products, media and marketing that prescribe heavily stereotyped and limiting roles to young girls. We believe that all children – girls and boys – are affected by the ‘pinkification’ of girlhood. Our aim is to challenge and reverse this growing trend. We also promote media literacy, self-esteem, positive body image and female role models for kids.”
Similarly, the Let Toys Be Toys campaign is, in their own words “asking the toy and publishing industries to stop limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys and books as only suitable for girls, and others only for boys.” Let Toys Be Toys believe that boys and girls should be able to play with whatever toys they want, without girls being steered towards dolls and mini kitchens whilst boys are directed towards science kits and dinosaurs.
It may sound like an insignificant thing to get worked up about, but research has shown again and again that the toys children play with matter, because that’s how they learn about the world. According to information provided on the Let Toys Be Toys website;
“Children don’t pop out of the womb with expectations about their future careers, or beliefs about what their work is worth, but the stereotypes we see in toy marketing connect with the inequalities we see in adult life. By late primary age, research by Welsh organisation Chwarae Teg shows that children already have very clear ideas about the jobs that are suitable for boys and girls; ideas that are very hard to shake later on.”
Join The Movement
So, as you can see, whilst a quick trip to any children’s clothes shop will quickly show you that there’s a long way to go yet, there are some of us who are fighting the good fight and trying to bring about a change in the way we dress our children today.
We’re not evangelical about it and we’ll never get all preachy on you, but Kidult and Co firmly believe that what you wear – whether as an adult or a child – should not be dictated by society or anyone else, but instead that your clothes should be a means of self-expression that tells the world who YOU are, not anyone else.
That’s why we just make simple, well-made clothing with great designs and a big dash of style, so that both you and your little ones can look cool and express your individuality, regardless of your sex.
Get In Touch
If you’d like to find out more about the work Kidult and Co are doing or about our brand values and ethics, then please do get in touch with us today. You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by completing the contact form on the website, or by leaving us a comment in the section below.