I noticed it the very first time I went shopping. My husband and I had just had our first private scan and the sex of our unborn baby was confirmed as male. We were over the moon! We left the scan on cloud nine and headed to the nearest shop that sold baby clothes so we could get our first few babygrows and maybe an outfit or two.
We reach the top of the escalator and are met with a wall of pink and lilac. As we walk through the store there's more pink, purple and yellow on both sides. Finally we see it: a small display area in the corner with navy and green 'boys' clothes. After just a couple of minutes we leave the store with some plain white babygrows and grey bibs, sad that our first experience shopping for baby clothes was so short due to the lack of choice.
Following this experience and as a small business supporter, I turned to some of the Instagram boutiques I had seen for inspiration, yet almost every shop seemed focused on mostly girls clothing. The experience of shopping for baby clothing was found wanting.
Here are 3 things I noticed during my baby shopping:
1. The number of products/designs for 'boys' clothing and 'girls' clothing is grossly disproportionate. In my experience, girls clothing appears to outweigh boys clothes by at least double. This is also reflected in the number of small boutiques that focus exclusively on girls clothing, vs those that sell only boys clothing.
2. Boys clothes being sold on the high-street were almost always dark coloured and more-often-than-not covered in tractors, dinosaurs or robots.
3. Baby clothing considered gender-neutral was usually only either white, yellow or grey.
The experience of shopping for boys clothing really forced me to seek out brands and boutiques that catered to more than just little girls. I also found myself learning a lot about the harmful gender stereotypes when it comes to children's clothing. To see colours being gendered from age newborn (pink for girls, blue for boys) was sad to see. All colours are for all children.
As it turns out, there are many benefits to having gender-neutral clothing and not shopping by colour. So, here's why we think gender-less/gender-neutral baby, toddler and children's clothing is the future:
1. It's more sustainable.
Have you ever heard someone say "If you were having a boy I could have sent some of our old baby clothes your way!" or "Oh I've just thrown out all our old baby clothes as we're having a girl this time!"? If we purchase gender-less clothing for our little ones there will be no need to throw anything away - ever. It can be passed between siblings, cousins, friends, family and neighbours regardless of whether the child was assigned male or female at birth.
2. It reduces waste.
As owning gender-less clothing makes it easier to be passed on to new owners, it helps to cut down on the amount of clothing that gets thrown away and ultimately ends up in landfill. £140 million worth of used but still wearable clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year so it's important for everyone to reduce waste wherever possible.
3. It saves money.
No more will you need to throw out all your old baby clothes and purchase new ones when you find out baby #2 (or 3 or 4 or 5) is a different sex to your previous child. Buying and storing gender-neutral baby clothing means you can reuse and recycle clothing for years regardless of your child's sex, saving you money.
4. It allows our children freedom to express themselves.
Sadly, children are often taught from a very young age how to act and behave by being told 'girls do this' and 'boys do that'. According to a recent study, children can identify gender by the age of two, and have formed their own gender identity by the age of three. By pushing gender stereotypes onto our children from a young age, it doesn't support those children who are gender fluid and who maybe fit somewhere between male and female. Gender-neutral clothing allows children freedom and the chance to make their own decisions when it comes to their identity.
That's why we believe gender-less clothing is the future and will continue to strive for an accepting world for our little ones.
If you'd like to join the conversation, head to our Instagram page - linked below.
Alternatively you can start shopping our beautiful gender-neutral clothing here.