Pink doesn’t have to be for girls and blue for boys – and there are a whole host of kids’ clothing brands working to flatten this tradition. Here are five of our favourites (that also happen to be ethical)
When a new baby comes along, a girl will inevitably receive pink frilly dresses and ballet slippers while you’re inundated with tractor and animal prints for boys. Nothing wrong with either, necessarily, but if you like the idea of a more gender neutral wardrobe for your offspring, here are some brands to try…
Polarn O. Pyret
Polarn O. Pyret, meaning ‘Buddy and the Little One’ in Swedish, came into existence in 1976 Sweden – at a time of liberation and equality. To make life easier for working mums and dads, they began to make easy-care cotton clothes for children. Their signature stripes have survived the test of time and are still bestsellers today, and many of the garments are organic.
They say: “Children look very much alike when they’re small. That’s why we always make clothes for children, not for ‘girls’ or ‘boys’. Unisex colours and patterns for all children – who wears what colour is up to you!”
The Bright Company is a British sleepwear and essentials brand for children 0–9 years. Characterised by bright colours and strong graphic prints, the unisex designs can be passed on to little brothers, sisters, cousins or friends. The Slim Jyms pyjamas (above right) are carefully designed to be slim fitting so that they don’t ‘ride up’ at night leaving little ones with cold patches. While the Monty Sleepsuit (above left) avoids the baggy excessive fabric so common in sleepsuit designs today, making the first tentative first crawls and steps much easier.
Founder Alienor Falconer says: “I’m always so happy to visit our factory and see the lovely ladies (and one man!) who make our beautiful products. It’s reassuring that it doesn’t have to cost the earth to make products here in the UK.”
Little green Radicals started life in 2005 with a passion for fair trade and a quirky sense of humour. While doing one of the many cold, wet market days selling organic and Fairtrade t-shirts, the founder, Nick, came up with some humourous slogans for kids t-shirts including ‘Stop the Wailing’ and ‘Wind Farm’. And that’s where it all began.
They say: “Not long after our launch we were in a select group of brands to be first in the UK to get Fairtrade certification for cotton. And, of course, we were and always have been organic too. Our farmers, cased in India, get a guaranteed price for their cotton, and they don’t use nasty pesticides. The factories we work with look after their employees, who get fair wages, maternity leave, and many of the other things you would expect from decent factories.”
Creative director Kimberley Tybee Golding-Tomter creates beautiful and eclectic children’s clothes by upcycling existing adult clothing. From her Hackney-based studio, she turns recycled jumpers into kids’ cardis, woollen dungarees (with pom poms) – and only natural fibres such as wool and cashmere are used. The entire collection is handmade in Hackney, London.
She says: “I started making clothes for Odin when I was pregnant and used what materials I had so made things that were naturally unisex. I just carried on when I launched Mini Magpie as there didn’t need to be any reason why something was for a boy or a girl. I have been asked where the boys’ stuff is or if I think something “would be ok for a boy’ and I always say yes! As my boys (Odin, six and Perseus, three) have got older I’ve encouraged them to wear all the colours, to enjoy dressing up and to be different characters, both male and female and also non-gendered.
Tootsa MacGinty was launched four years ago by former womenswear designer Kate Pietrasik, who found a depressingly limited collection of pink or overly sexualised ‘little adult’ clothes when shopping for her baby daughter. Discovering that other parents wanted colourful, quality and age appropriate clothing for kids to comfortably wear all day whilst playing, running and getting messy, she set out to create an alternative.
She says: “I wanted to produce something directional, stylish and exciting which reflected a child’s imagination. Children like colour, they have big imaginations, they enjoy pretending, they love to dream and for them the world is full of possibilities. I don’t intend to limit their imaginations or make their world smaller by putting them in a sea of pinks and blues, or clothes that look like they were meant for adults.”
tinycottons was founded in 2012 in Barcelona. After presenting their first collection a year later, they quickly became well known in the kids’ fashion world as a brand with unique designs and outstanding quality.
“As a creative team, we wish to be as imaginative as our kids and have their unique, bold and not so serious attitude. As a clothing brand we want to create a good, long lasting product and at the same time, be your kids’ favorite.”
Do you know of any other great unisex brands? Let us know below, as we’re always on the look out…