New styles from Seattle designers and beyond avoid stereotypes in kids’ clothing.
The options for gender-neutral children’s clothing are still limited, but growing.
Some big retailers like Lands’ End and Zara are making small changes to their offerings, while some frustrated parents have launched their own companies to make the items they wanted to find. Many of the options are unisex T-shirts that have motifs like robots, trains or dinosaurs.
Seattleite Courtney Hartman owns Jessy & Jack, a collection of unisex T-shirts, and Free to Be Kids, where a shirt with the slogan, “I’m a Cat Guy” comes in blue, gray and yellow.
Eva St. Clair and Rebecca Melsky design dresses for Princess Awesome, a girls’ clothing line that uses traditional boys’ motifs such as trains, dinosaurs and planes.
And Martine Zoer, of Mill Creek, founded Quirkie Kids two years ago after her sons wanted to wear pink but she couldn’t find anything in the boys’ section. Her collection has since expanded to other colors, and she set up two Instagram accounts — @stillagirl and @stillaboy — that share such images as boys clutching flowers or girls playing toy cars.
More has changed for girls’ clothes than for boys, but the vast majority of children’s clothing is still gender-specific, says industry analyst Marshal Cohen. He doesn’t expect massive change until the next generation starts having children.
“Once we get past the cultural discussion, that’s when you’ll see the (major) brands step out,” Cohen says. “No one wants to risk the chance of rocking the boat.”