Childrenswear may at first seem like a subject that shouldn’t require too much thought—just look for the nicest thing for your child to wear, and that’s generally all that needs to be considered.
However, in 2015 the Guardian discussed the recent boom in the industry which suggested that parents do actually care a lot about what their children wear. And while it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sudden flood of choices for kids’ clothes, it’s possible to go back to what really matters, if you already know where to look. So, with all that in mind, we are going to discuss two pressing topics: ethical practices and gender neutral clothing.
In the past few years, access to a vast amount of information online has rapidly been shaping the way many people think about clothes in general. An international call for ethical practices in clothes manufacturing has emerged as a response to the heartbreaking tragedy that saw over 1,100 workers killed in Bangladesh in 2013. This has led to a wide-reaching conversation around fast fashion, a lucrative business model that mostly relies on low-cost labor under inhumane conditions in developing countries to produce cheap, low-quality clothing that consumers get rid of as quickly as they’re bought.
It’s a battle that’s proven to be challenging, one waged not only between businesses big and small, but also among the different attitudes that people have towards consumption. A list compiled by Marie Claire includes People Tree, New Balance, and Stella McCartney among some of the most stylish ethical fashion brands on the market today.
Gender neutral clothing
Another issue that has come to the fore is how gender stereotypes influence how people decide on the clothes they buy, especially for their children. “Raising a child under these strict gender guidelines is denying them an entire world of colors – they become tracked into the characteristics of their biological sex,” a professor from University of California-Riverside talked about in an interview with Parents.com.
One fledgling brand that’s leading the way in gender neutral clothing is Tootsa with the label making big strides in a category that’s been deemed slow in catching up to these recent developments. The childrenswear company was created by Kate Pietrasik, an experienced fashion designer who has worked in the industry for over 12 years with some of the leading international streetwear labels. Wanting to apply her knowledge and skills that she developed over her years in design, she set the company up in 2011 to create a stylish alternative to the neat but often limiting categories of boy and girl fashion. She’s driven towards the most basic things people care deepest about, with regards to the clothes that they move in: style, practicality, ease of use, and a level of quality that would last them as long as the love for their favorite clothing items does. She found the best place to do this in childrenswear. It’s because of the brand’s stance that the UK Fashion and Textile Awards recently recognized Tootsa as the best in its category, highlighting the impact Pietrasik’s made in such a short time. The brand has also been transparent in the fact it makes sure it upholds the best practices in clothes manufacturing, along with the possibilities gender-neutral parenting offers.
Both of these trending topics have received a lot of attention of late. Whether it’s the international powerhouse H&M transforming its fast fashion brand into the most ethical in the industry or independent fashion houses like Tootsa leading the charge for gender neutral garments, there are plenty of initiatives in full flow to help improve the landscape. What is also apparent is that with the help of fashion’s heavyweights, new laws are being passed across the world to ensure the wellbeing of workers, and ridding the world of the infamous ‘sweatshops’ forever. While gender neutral fashion isn’t quite as cutting as ethical practices, in this day and age, no one whether a child or adult should be forced to follow the norm if they don’t want to. After all, “freedom lies in being bold.”