The retailer will also be launching a non-gender-specific line for children.
High-end clothing store John Lewis announced it will be the first major U.K. retailer to completely do away with labeling clothing as being for boys or girls. In doing so, the store hopes it will avoid the pitfalls of gender stereotyping, regardless of intent. The outlet’s head of childrenswear, Caroline Bettis, told the Daily Mail, “We do not want to reinforce gender stereotypes within our John Lewis collections and instead want to provide greater choice and variety to our customers, so that the parent or child can choose what they would like to wear.”
The store is taking action not just with the third-party lines it carries but with its in-house brand, as well. All children's clothing will be labeled either “Girls & Boys” or “Boys & Girls.” The store is also developing a line of non-gender-specific clothing for children, some of which will be emblazoned with dinosaurs and space imagery, which were often reserved for boys’ clothing.
As one would expect, the news has been met with both praise and criticism. It didn’t take long for a political figure to weigh in on the concept of children’s clothing, as Tory member of Parliament Andrew Bridgen expressed his reservations that it “could be very confusing for the consumer,” seemingly unaware that if a consumer can’t tell the difference without a gender-specific label, then perhaps the labeling is irrelevant.
One Twitter user shared that the focus should lie in more practical areas than designations for a child’s gender.
A few selections from the brand’s non-gender-specific house line were released with the news as well.