A Closer Look At How Clothing Impacts Our Lives
Gender neutral is now “trendy”. With everyone from designer brands to popular fast fashion brands jumping on the bandwagon, does it really matter?
At Nui, we have been offering gender neutral clothing since our inception in 2004. As a brand, our philosophy is that clothes are not identifiers, but that they should enhance your sustainable lifestyle.
Gender neutral clothing allows children and adults, freedom of expression. It’s seasonless and timeless, long lasting, and sustainable. But to really understand why it matters, we wanted to take a look at how the stereotypical pink and blue identifiers came about, and why you may want to adapt the neutral philosophy and lifestyle choice to your family’s wardrobe.
What is gender neutral clothing?
The theory behind gender neutral clothing is to free children from societal stereotypes based on their sex. This means clothing styles and colors that are designed so that both genders can wear them.
Letting kids be kids and embracing their own true essence - when was that NOT the case?
It wasn’t, until it was.
Back in the early 20th century, Sigmond Freud came up with a theory of identification, which said children identify with one parent (mom or dad) and adopt their characteristics - and if that parent were not of the same gender - the child would develop mental disorders.
During that time, babies were dressed in swaddles - basically dresses - and no one thought twice about it. But the conversation of making boys more “manly” had started and progressed over the years.
Jump forward to the 80’s when a test was invented to help pregnant women check for abnormalities in their unborn fetus, and also check their gender. Parents were now armed with this new information of their baby’s sex before it was born, which sparked an outbreak of the stereotypical pink and blue colors, frilly dresses, and other gender specific identifiers.
It's not a sex, it's a lifestyle
The problem with gender specific clothing is not their color or their style, but their perceived limitations.
For children, who are in a state of self-discovery and forming their personalities between the ages of 0-7, their young and impressionable minds may not notice the clothing you put on them at age 2, but as the pattern of girl/boy choices continues as they get older, it does place an imprint in their minds of these societal gender stereotypes.
Everything from the words and images on gendered clothing, the colors and styles, all have an impact on their self-awareness, their curiosity, their activities, and their relations to others. People talk to them differently, and in turn, they respond differently.
But from a conscious perspective, gender neutral clothing is so much more than just breaking free from societal norms - it’s how we live healthier and happier lives. It’s practical, sustainable, cost efficient, and a timeless, stylish choice.
At Nui, gender neutral clothing is a lifestyle that embraces a genuine appreciation of self-expression, individuality, and sustainability. And it’s not about dressing in a boring, grey shapeless potato sack. Gender neutral clothing is about embracing the whole spectrum of colors, styles and tones. It’s not one size fits all, and it’s not binary.
The many colors of gender neutral
“The more decisions you are forced to make alone, the more you are aware of your freedom of choice.” - Thornton Wilden
We live in a cluttered and polluted world - as climate change worsens, societal expectations impacting our identities, and an overabundance of choices at our fingertips - it’s enough to leave us worried of doing the “wrong” thing and actually limiting our inherent freedoms.
Gender neutral clothing is not then, just a conversation about gender coding, it’s about eliminating excess. Embracing a minimalistic and simpler way of creating a capsule wardrobe for yourself and your family.
After all, self expression, individuality, and creativity does not end after childhood. Our sustainable wardrobes should enhance our active lifestyles, allowing kids and adults to live freely and free from worry of societal stereotypes, toxic chemicals, and negatively impacting the environment.
In the end, what really matters is giving our kids and ourselves the freedom to express and create ourselves, without a societal view of what is right or wrong. Making good choices that feel good and that are good for the planet. Comfortable in our own skin… and in the natural and organic clothing that covers it.