Hannah here: Last week, we got to hang out with Davina and her girls. We made pancakes, crafted some cards with the kids, talked shop in 30 second snippets, watched Elfie and Frankie play ever so sweetly together, broke up a few fights and drank countless cups of tea. My mister came to take some photo’s of us all for the blog, as we haven’t got any of us together. He recently launched a side business- Wild Fox Portraits- taking natural, non-posed family photography and we thought it would be nice to capture our girls together.
Boys and Girls are a unisex, Fairtrade and organic kids clothes brands. They tick literally all of our boxes, and consistently come out with some brilliantly designed stuff. We were also invited to work with Clarks too, and Davina and I separately chose the same pair of shoes in different colours for our girls! We love the shoes and they are really well made but they are actually in the boys department. This led to an interesting and productive email exchange with Clarks. We have passed on our feedback to the Clarks bosses that it isn’t necessary to gender kids shoes. They listened. There is a groundswell of opinion that supports this view. We gently pointed them in the direction of the brilliant #LetToysBeToys, campaign, the postscript obviously being #LetShoesBeShoes. We explained that we are still happy to work with them because the shoes are good quality, fit our kids growing feet really well, will last for as long as their feet fit into them and are very pass-on-able (yeah made it up) to other boys or girls in future. But it was important to us that they heard our feedback.
We choose gender neutral kids clothes for our girls every day. Well, actually they like to dress themselves which we smile through gritted teeth about, but we make sure the choices in their wardrobes are pretty unisex. Neither of us are opposed to girly clothes; on the contrary; we love a bit of glitter and glamour with the best of them, and so do our girls, but we strongly feel that restricting women and girls only to pink princess, overly made up, frilly crap is not only intensely boring but damaging too. Marketers are very very clever at making young girls believe that they need to fit into a pink princess box that pleases society. This box is based mostly on how girls look, and there is a plethora of horrible social ills as a result. Individual cases of kids books containing only male characters, or science sets being advertised as boys toys, or princess symbols blazoned across girls clothing, can easily be dismissed as inconsequential. But, like individual drops in an ocean, put them together and it amounts to a pretty frightening tidal wave of ‘You Must Conform’ pressure’ on our kids .
So yes. It does matter to us that our girls feel able to choose whatever they want to wear, and actually, that what they wear and how they look is really not that important anyway. Practically we try to model this behaviour to them in how we dress and talk about our appearance, honour their autonomy in what they want to wear, keep TV (and it’s inherent advertising) to a minimum and we also make sure that as much as possible they feel able to dress and behave in a way that isn’t dictated by kids marketers. Which brings us neatly back to gender neutral kids clothes. Gothenburg was full of amazing gender neutral kids clothes that were also made from organic or recycled fabrics and it made me feel a bit sad about the state of things in the UK. Shops, clothes, books, toys, and even nappies for goodness sake, seem to be hyper-gendered. WHY aren’t more companies promoting gender neutral kids stuff?!
Actually I know the answer to that. It suits them very nicely that most high street shops are highly segregated into boys and girls departments. If parents buy pink toys, clothes, and books for girls and blue toys, clothes, and books for boys, it means if parents have other kids of different genders, then they will probably feel they have to buy a whole new set of clothes, toys and books for them. This is not only bad for the planet, but bad for our wallets too, and encourages kids down a highly consumerist path. Having kids doesn’t have to be horribly expensive if you can resist the lure of the marketers. We aren’t claiming to be perfect in all the ways we list above but we are conscious of it and take tiny steps every day to try to resist it. Including filling our kids wardrobe with a good choice of well made gender neutral clothes.
What started as a post about some nice photo’s and some wicked kids clothes and shoes has turned into quite the rant. Oh well, there you go. What are your favourite gender neutral kids clothes brands? We are always on the look out for more so please let us know in the comments.
To celebrate the launch of Wild Fox Portraits my mister is giving away of a free shoot (!!!) in a giveaway over on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. He is also running a 20% Mothers day discount throughout March too, so if you fancy some nice family shots, get in touch with him. They’d make a sweeeet Mothers day gift, eh?
Post in collaboration with Boys & Girls and Clarks, and in gratitude to Wild Fox Portraits.