"The Let Clothes Be Clothes campaign, has shown we can get things changed and is hugely inspiring"
Caroline Lucas, MP
"I think that Let Toys Be Toys and now Let Clothes Be Clothes are going a fantastic job... it's not just about unconscious lazy stereotypes, but outdated attitudes about what boys and girls can do."
Jo Swinson, MP
"It's got to go - labelling clothes/toys "boys" or "girls." Let parent and child decide, not the gender stereotype."
Belinda Phipps, Chair of the Fawcett Society
Boy v Girl Minion T-Shirts
Gap"Little Scholar" v "Social Butterfly" - 2016
Founded in 2014, Let Clothes Be Clothes is a grassroots campaign calling for an end to lazy gender stereotypes in the design and marketing of children’s clothes.
Over the past 3 decades, childrenswear designs and styles have been heavily marketed on outdated, traditional ideas about what girls and boys should wear, right down to colour, cut, motif and slogan. Many of these ideas may seem innate (natural instinct based on the sex you were born) but science does not back this up.
Colour, cut, motifs and slogans used in childrenswear products across the UK high street, split the market, not just for girls and for boys, but clearly defines what is socially acceptable for children to wear, like and consequently behave - based on the sex they were born. Step outside this rigid dichotomy, and children run the risk being ostracised and bullied - by both adults and peers.
These ubiquitous messages about girls and boys (not just in clothes, but in nearly every product aimed at children) can impact self-esteem, education, behaviour and career aspirations. Choice is limited to a strict gender code based on outdated ideas about the roles of men and women in society. For example, in 2016 GAP ran with a campaign that split children into "The Social Butterfly" and "The Little Scholar."
Lazy gender stereotypes have no place in products and marketing aimed at children, and since girls and boys are roughly the same size and shape until puberty, why separate children's ranges at all?
Let Clothes Be Clothes aims to:
Challenge irresponsible retailers
Call out gender stereotyping
Support unisex retailers
Promote classroom equality
Led by writer Francesca Mallen, this website is intended as a resource for information about gender marketing and about why gender stereotyping is so harmful. If we want a more equal society, with equal pay and equal prospects, then we need a responsible retail environment that practices basic equality in the design of its products, and the way those products are sold.
"Boys" slogans across UK High Street - 2017