by Jessica Teran
Models: Lynette Adkins, Christian Kenoly
The future is fluid. Consumers are now becoming more familiar with gender neutrality and are no longer confined to the idea that clothing is gender-specific.
The fine line between men’s and women’s clothing has become obscured, so why do we limit children’s clothing by identifying girls with all things that are pink and boys with all things blue? Consumer awareness of gender neutrality and unisex fashion has grown to become more socially accepted which has lead to a very noticeable shift in the way retailers and designers are now approaching fashion for children and juniors.
Children’s clothing lines are becoming all-inclusive by going back to the basics with minimal clothing designs that can be mixed and matched freely with other pieces within their everyday wardrobe. Basics are garments constructed from strong designs that give clothing longevity due to their quality and easy interchangeability. Although the main focus is on simple everyday basics, for children, design prints play an important role in maintaining the essence of innocence in childhood. Printed garments are still present in unisex children’s clothing lines today but are contingent upon designs made from neutral color tones and detailed illustrations that are able to remain minimal.
Minimalism plays an important role in why the transition into junior fashion markets is
successful. Strong, simple and clean-cut designs are widely recognized in adult fashion trends and are undeniably unisex. Adopting this concept and applying it to a younger market allows for the clothing to sell itself. As society’s values are adapting, children are given more freedom and creativity to discover themselves and express themselves.
We’ve seen gender neutrality and minimalism fuse together in adult fashion over the years through the acceptance of basics and minimalism, but it’s strewn into a new market, one for juniors and children. Clothing lines and retailers such as Tobias & the Bear, Haus of JR, John Lewis and Target are taking a more open-ended approach to children’s clothing.
The founders of Tobias & The Bear started their own clothing line after being inspired by their own boys and growing tired of outdated designs that were restricted to sex. They wanted to give their children simpler and more stylish options without worrying about following the normal rudimentary branding image behind a child’s clothing line. By focusing primarily on strong designs and neutral colors, their clothing line organically became unisex, and the parents of young boys and girls were opting in to buy their clothing.
Parents are no longer only demanding styles and graphics that portray princesses for their girls and fire trucks for their boys in their clothing options. As a result, children’s clothing lines are developing a refined sense of gender fluidity and maturity – a reflection that societal norms are progressing and that fashion is no longer following gender binary rules across multiple growing markets. •
Jessica Teran is a Textile and Apparel Design major from San Antonio, Texas. Her interest in public relations and social media have unearthed her desire to write and expand her creative writing. When she isn’t in the lab designing or writing, she likes to indulge in holistic fitness and cooking.