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THE HARD FACTS

 

As a mother of 2 girls and 1 boy and a fashion designer by trade, I have always noticed the lack of variety for girls clothing.  Since my first daughter was born, I have been shopping in the boys' section for her, why??? Because I wanted bright and happy colours and more interesting prints and messages… I have nothing against pink, but I for one, like my daughter to wear more than 50 shades of pink, but is not only about COLOUR…  It’s also about the messages printed in the slogans of girls’ clothing, because I know the power that clothes have on the way we feel about ourselves, and how the world sees us 

“I discovered that the text printed on clothing for children contained highly gendered language with implications of conceptualisations of gender that I thought were no longer considered viable in society”

(Dinosaur vs Unicorns, Dec/18, Marianne Cronin)

As per the research paper “Dinosaurs vs Unicorns” written by Marianne Cronin Dec/18 (full article here), the main difference that emerged from her data, was that boys clothing is filled with educational data, “In the case of palaeontology, girls are significantly disadvantaged by an absence of the learning opportunities provided in the boys’ clothing.” And “There was also some evidence of a rejection of school (and by implication education) in the girls’ data” (Cronin, 2018) with slogans on t-shirts like Do I have to go back to school? and Less Mondays-More Fridays.

 

 

It is also jaw-dropping to read that the girls top 15 words in the t-shirt slogan from Marianne’s research showed NO educational content, with words such as sparkle, shine and glitter at the top of the list.  And with the current high trend of unicorns at the moment;

“The emphasis in girls’ clothing, then, appears to be on fantasy, positive pro-social behaviours and somewhat meaningless photic terms.” (Cronin, 2018).

But besides unicorns, girls’ clothing is full of ballerinas, princesses, hearts and butterflies, perpetuating gender inequality.  Research by Adam and Galinsky (2012) suggests that the clothing we wear can affect the way we behave. They propose the term ‘enclothed cognition’ to explain that;

“when a piece of clothing is worn, it exerts an influence on the wearer’s psychological processes” (2012). 

Meaning that when someone wears a piece of clothing whilst at the same time understanding its symbolic meaning, they may behave in a way they believe to be appropriate to that word, so a child wearing a t-shirt that says genius and he/she understand what the word means, then they will behave accordingly, the same if the t-shirt reads dancer or princess.

 

This image shows the difference between boys clothing (LEFT in pink) and girls clothing (RIGHT in white) in a retailer in the UK.  Image: mercury press & media

 

This lack of educational content on girls’ clothing also perpetuates the “boys are smarter” stereotype. Bian, Leslie and Cimpian, in 2017 stated that by the time girls are 6 years old they are;

“less likely than boys to believe that members of their gender are ‘really, really smart” (Bian, Leslie and Cimpian, 2017)

This even when girls outperform boys at school. 

The same research showed that girls are less likely than boys to attempt tasks described as suitable for smarter children.

 

I firmly believe that the messages we send to our kids through clothing are one of the reasons why gender perceptions are so distorted, as the same study indicates that between the ages of 5 and 7 children’s beliefs about their gender’s abilities go through a period of change.

By the age of only 2, children become aware of gender norms. 

 

“Consciously or unconsciously, parents, teacher and peers coax or coerce children into a restricted set of choices based on their gender. That isn’t just colour-choice, but a plethora of identity-shaping roles” (Apolitical article, Oct./18). 

And all these are facts and research are the foundation for what we stand for as a brand.

 

 

OUR FORMULA: SEE IT, BELIEVE IT & BE IT

 

 

Neurology and perceptual programming research have taught us; the ages of 0 – 6 are critical development times for the imprinting of the belief system we have as adults (Lipton, 2010.  Full article here). The messages we receive from significant others as to how to perceive certain things, what is ‘acceptable’ to believe in, what is trendy and how we can play and dream about the future, all play a vital role in this critical development period. Making clothes that allow girls to have options about how they show their likes and aspirations, make statements about themselves and who they aspire to be is all part of it.

 

That is why we believe in our formula to empower girls through clothing:

 

SEE it: NO GENDER STEREOTYPES

we make clothing with prints that show girls performing roles that disturb the mainstream clothing conventions.  Simply, we show our characters in our prints in roles that girls and women should be doing in equal measure to boys and men.

BELIEVE it: SMART FEMALE ROLE MODELS

Kids learn perhaps more from what they see us do as parents and the world around them than from what we say. When they see it as real and available then they believe that their aspirations are achievable and provide motivation to be empowered to fulfil their dreams and aspirations. Whether is to become the next female pilot or loving dinosaurs.

BE it: PLAY SMART, BE COURAGEOUS, BE YOURSELF

Girls often role play being firemen, scientists, train drivers, pilots and superheroes in their imaginative play time, so why not give them the costume and clothing that goes with it.

The way that we can make ourselves heard and identify ourselves with other like-minded people can often result from how we present ourselves in the adult world. We believe the same is true for kids. It’s equally as important for the boys to see girls BEING a Space explorer or Superhero so that they can be normalized to a more equal society in their generation. Clothes allow all to see what we like and how we want to be identified. 

 

“Fashion is the power to make a statement without actually saying a word.  The time is now to stand up, to stand out. Where sameness is safeness, with something as simple as what we wear, we can draw every eye to ourselves to say that there are differences in this world, and there always will be. Get used to it!   And this we can say without a single word. Fashion can give us a language for dissent. It can give us courage. Fashion can let us literally wear our courage on our sleeves. So, wear it. Wear it like armour. Wear it because it matters. And wear it because YOU matter.” (Kaustav Dey, TEDx Talk Netherlands/16).

 So, come and take a look at our website and allow us to bring more variety to your girls' wardrobe.

With love,

Fern

 

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