More and more retailers, both high street and independent, are making clothes available to every child, whatever their gender.
Gender-free clothing is breaking down boundaries put in place by society that suggest ballerina prints are for girls and boats are for boys, and proving that kids should just dress like kids.
“It doesn’t make sense that one gender can wear a particular colour and the other can’t,” Louise Lundholm, co-founder and designer of unisex childrenswear brand Bang Bang, told The HuffPost UK: “My son’s favourite colour is pink, but he keeps being told that it’s a girl’s colour by his surroundings.
“We always try to put ourselves in a child’s place and get inspired by the imaginary world of kids in general, not confined by their gender.”
Whether you want soft colours or vibrant patterns for your children, we’ve picked out 11 brands that have gender-neutral offerings.
The brands we’ve picked range from online retailers to high-street shops and vary in price.
We’ve sourced a couple of items from each that we think best represent the styles of clothes they have on offer, as well as asking the founders and designers why they were inspired to create unisex lines.
1. Mini Stylin’
This online retailer prides itself on offering modern styles for kids, regardless of gender. Parents and parents-to-be can choose the “unisex” filter on their website to browse.
We have to give a shout out to the wonderful dungarees. Just look at them.
Founder Anjeli Patel told HuffPost UK: “We look for unique and functional styles with distinctive designs and materials for all kids, regardless of gender.
“We believe kids should have the opportunity to express their own style and parents shouldn’t feel confined by the traditional pinks and blues.
“We pride ourselves on catering for this new generation of style-conscious parents who want to shop everything from unisex basics to stand-out pieces and hope to bridge this gap and more.”
Shapes of Things was launched in 2015 by Jamie Bruski Tetsill, a Central St Martins MSc graduate. The brand creates designs that help stimulate children at different stages of their development .
Collections are all composed of bright colours, reflective shapes, patterns and textures that excite children. They design for babies through to age 14.
Shapes of Things founder Jamie Bruski Tetsil told HuffPost UK: “We wanted to set up a kidswear brand with no limitations. We think that children should be allowed to wear what they want, be able to express themselves and not be defined by a label.
“Back in 2012, there was a huge gap in the market for gender-neutral kids clothing and Shapes of Things wanted to change kids clothing forever.”
This independent online brand, founded by a mum in Devon, has vibrant prints and colours that kids will love.
Founder Lucy Stansfield told us: “I chose to use unisex prints because parents are getting bored of the generic ‘pink/blue’ colour scheme.
“As a culture we are changing our opinion of what is considered ‘for boys’ and ‘for girls’. We are becoming more experimental and parents want fun and exciting prints and fabrics that appeal to their children’s interests.”
Fred and Noah specialises in unisex baby leggings with unique patterns. The brand was named after founder Natalie Reynold’s sons: Freddie, three and Noah, now seven.
“We make it a focus to design and produce unisex clothing whilst exploring non-gendered colours and prints,” Reynolds said.
“When my son was born I didn’t want to dress him in jeans or blue joggers so I designed a collection of comfortable baby trousers that little boys and girls can wear and look stylish at the same time.”
Zakti activewear for kids - a sister brand of Mountain Warehouse - gives parents the option to choose “unisex” when filtering kids’ clothing online.
The whole range is focused on bright and bold colours. Shantelle Augier, buying and merchandising director, told HuffPost UK: “Zakti’s kids’ range has been designed to appeal to children who are naturally drawn to bright colours.
“A collection that is fun as well as functional, the entire range has been designed as unisex.
“Key colours include hot pink, neon green, vibrant blue, fresh turquoise and coral shades to make up a range that will encourage children to be happy and confident in what they are wearing.”
Polarn O. Pyret is a swedish-born clothing brand (available to buy in the UK online) known for its iconic stripes.
Karina Lundell, head of design, told us: “For 40 years, Polarn O. Pyret has created clothes that allow children to be children.
“Since our first striped t-shirt in 1976 we have always had a child’s perspective in mind, we have challenged gender roles and stacked environmental labels on top of each other.”
This independent brand originates from Singapore, but is sold in UK outlets including Harrods.
Founder and creative director, Kristin Nystrom, said: “I want to create clothes that children like to wear and think are beautiful and feel good in.
“My motto is if you like it wear it. Enough said.”
8. Bang Bang
Originating in Copenhagen, the Bang Bang founders wanted to bring together a love of contemporary design with a “playful spirit of children” to create clothes that stand out.
Lundholm, co-founder and designer, told us: “Our biggest challenge is to persuade the parents, and especially the fathers, that it’s ok to wear unisex clothing.”
The clothes are stocked in the British retailer Alex and Alexa.
The online retailer prides themselves on their printed unisex leggings and the fact that everything is made in the UK.
“Leggings are our love,” they told us. “We actually first launched the brand for boys. With two boys ourselves, we’d become frustrated by the lack of cool but comfy clothing on the market.
“We soon realised that the parents of girls were equally bemused by the ‘pretty in pink’ pigeonholing, and were just as drawn to our world of cool characters. We’ve treated the brand as unisex ever since. It’s refreshing and we love it.”
Indikidual is a brand hoping to make clothes that “let children’s personalities shine.” The pieces are playful and individual with hand-drawn prints.
Founder Syreeta Johnson told us: “I chose to create a unisex line because my daughter Minnie really wasn’t that fussed about looking girly, but also wasn’t a tomboy, I wanted to create a collection that suited her funny little personality.
“At the time she was crazy about bananas so thats where our classic banana print came from! Now I have a son Silas it has been great being able to pass down all of Minnie’s clothes to him too.”
11. Desmond Elephant
Scandi-inspired online retailer Desmond Elephant prides itself on neutral colours suiting both boys and girls.
Founder Kathryn Rees told us: “When we first started Desmond Elephant it was really hard to find fun, colourful kids’ clothes on the UK high street.
“Scandinavian childrenswear, with its colours, organic fabrics and unisex styles was far more exciting, as was the world of online retail, and so the idea for Desmond Elephant was born.
“We believe that kids clothes should be fun, functional and allow freedom of play but at the same time stylish so they look great on any occasion.”