It’s an all-to-familiar problem, and parents everywhere are tired of it.
The “boy” clothes are limited to pirate, superhero, sports, and video game themes. And the colors? Usually red, blue, black, and grey. Meanwhile, the “girl” clothing is all about princesses, unicorns, and cupcakes. As for the sports? Most commonly, the focus is on gymnastics and cheerleading, and the colors of girl clothing are dominated by pinks and purples, with a big fistful of glitter thrown on top (which proceeds to shed all over our homes).
But when you’re a mom of multiple kids like me — each one with their own unique personality and preferences — the “girl” and “boy” clothing departments create a continual struggle. What if your 8-year-old daughter’s favorite color is lime green, and not hot pink? What if your 5-year-old boy prefers sparkly high-tops over cartoon-themed, red and black tennis shoes? Which leads many modern parents to question: Why is there such as thing as “girl” clothing and “boy” clothing in 2018, anyway?
Abercrombie & Fitch seems to agree. This week, the clothing giant announced that Abercrombie Kids has released its first-ever gender-neutral clothing line, aptly called “The Everybody Collection”. There are 25 styles so far, including tops, bottoms, and accessories, available now in stores and online.
In a press release shared earlier this week, the company said:
“At Abercrombie Kids, the team is focused on putting the customer at the center of everything it does, listening and engaging with them constantly to ensure product and brand experience is evolving to meet their changing needs. Through these interactions, the team gained insight that many customers, when shopping across genders, do not necessarily want to be restricted to certain styles and colors. The Everybody Collection has built on this insight, incorporating popular trends across genders, and with a single size system across the whole assortment.”
A single size system? Jackpot!
Seriously, though — another big struggle parents face is the difference in fit and style across the boy-girl clothing lines. There’s almost no consistency, meaning parents who shop in the “boy” department for their daughters (as I do for one of my girls) have to figure out what size to buy, as the clothes tend to fit differently, such as typically being longer and baggier than a similar item in the girls’ department.
Abercrombie Kids isn’t the only company stepping up their clothing game lately, though. Cat and Jack, Target’s children’s brand, has created empowering tees for kids, sensory-sensitive clothing, and adaptive clothing for children with special needs, all on-trend and for affordable prices. And in 2016, actress Zendaya, well-known for her creative fashion sense, released a gender-neutral clothing line, Daya by Zendaya. Meanwhile, Girls Will Be, a company creating “no limits, no frills” clothing for girls, offers empowering tees, knee-length shorts, sweatshirts, and pajamas, in colors such as lime green, construction orange, bright red, and slate.
One common misconception in this whole discussion is that gender-neutral clothing is bland and shapeless. But that’s simply not the case — especially with this new Abercrombie Kids line.
“Some of the trends the customers were looking for include the multi-hit graphic, which is influenced by skate and streetwear culture, and can be seen across hoodies and long-sleeve tees,” Abercrombie’s press release states. “Additionally, the military trend is woven throughout the collection with camouflage print items, including a bomber jacket and a crew neck sweatshirt. Pale pink tones and dip dye effects are also included.”
These companies are definitely getting it right by responding to what the customers want: options. As Stacia Andersen, Brand President of Abercrombie & Fitch, shared, “Parents and their kids don’t want to be confined to specific colors and styles, depending on whether shopping for a boy or a girl.”
Perhaps in the near-future, stores will feature one large kids’ clothing department where our children can roam freely, selecting the clothing that best expresses who they are and what they’re comfortable in. That’s a win for kids, but it’s even more so a win for parents everywhere!